“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken.” -C.S. Lewis
A couple of years ago was a particularly challenging time for me and my husband. One day, we had an argument about something big. The next morning we had another argument, this time about something small.
We were in the midst of building a house, which is no small task. In addition, he was working part-time plus running his business (which is basically full time), and I was at home managing all the day-to-day stuff, taking care of our daughter, volunteering at school & church, plus running my part-time business.
To say the stress levels were high at that time would be fairly accurate. And when stress levels are high, it seems that arguments crop up more easily. Oh, and let’s not forget that we were planning a marriage retreat for our church at that time as well (we’re proof that you don’t have to be perfect to plan a marriage retreat).
My husband and I are not a perfect match. On most personality tests, we’re probably what many experts would consider “incompatible”. We have very different ways of fighting, we’re both extremely stubborn, and we’re both introverts. We have a long ways to go when it comes to communication.
EXTRAVAGANT LOVE = BEING ALL IN
Near the end of our “discussion” that morning, I was feeling overwhelmed and unappreciated. He was feeling invalidated and frustrated. As I sat at the table crying, he came over, wrapped his arms around me, and spoke the words I needed to hear.
Loving this way – through the pain of the arguments, through the storms, through the moments when we can’t see straight – takes courage. It takes stepping out of your comfort zone into a space where you’re not sure if your acts of love will be reciprocated.Loving this way - through the pain of the arguments, through the storms, through the moments when we can't see straight - takes courage. Click To Tweet
An article I read from Mandi Arioto in the MOPS book “Be You Bravely” refers to this as “extravagant love.” She says, “Loving big takes courage”.
The Switchfoot song, “All or Nothing at All”, says it like this:
You feel your heartbeat loudest when it’s breaking
You and I both know our fatal flaws
We both know that love is what you make it
I want you,
All or nothing at all.
To me, extravagant love means choosing to be “all in”. Choosing to love the other person, even when you know their flaws like the back of your hand. Because they know yours as well.
Because love is worth it.
Instead of loving half-heartedly, or only when it’s convenient, we need to choose to love big – love when it hurts.
At the end of the article by Mandi Arioto, she asks some questions. I want to share these two with you, because I feel they are powerful:
1. What is holding me back from extravagantly loving others?
2. What is one thing I can do this week to love extravagantly?
-Mandi Arioto, Be You Bravely
I challenge you, as I am challenging myself, to consider these questions. Here’s a few more of my own to think about:
- How can I show my spouse extravagant love this week?
- How can I be “all in” with my marriage, even if I feel like giving up?
- How can I choose to love even when I’m not sure the love will be reciprocated?
As one who has been on the receiving end of that extravagant love, I can tell you, it’s worth it.
Not sure where to start or how to go about being all in with your marriage?
I’ve put together a free download for you with 4 keys that have helped me and my husband to stick it out, even in the hard times.
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