Images matter, and how we imagine what love should look like has a huge impact on our satisfaction in marriage and our acceptance of what it is. My long-time friend, Pastor Dan Little (Binghamton, NY), mentioned a wonderful image in a sermon about biblical love. I’d like to share it with you; I think it’s a powerful (though unusual) image of marital love.
Do you see that biblical love is anything but a brittle fine china kind of love that shatters under the least pressure?
Forgive me ladies for the very romantic thing I am about to say (not), but the love that makes a marriage (or a church, or any other relationship), work is as tough as tires. Is that romantic or what? Try that tonight. Kiss your spouse goodnight and say, “My love for you is as tough as tires—truck tires.” Your spouse will melt in your arms, I’m sure.
Why would I even think of such a thing? Let me see if I can dig my way out of this. Tires can slog through 200º road heat and 30º below zero cold, roll over sharp stones and glass, in and out of potholes; get punctured and be fixed, they come to screeching halts or make quick starts and bear up under the g-force of quick turns, and they do all this while carrying thousands and thousands of pounds.
It’s true! There are many days when tires roll over miles of pleasant and smooth highways or maybe cool country roads. That is true of marriage as well. It carries us into very pleasant places. But here is what tire-tough love does not do. It does not say, “I will only carry the load in the best of conditions.”
This kind of love does not demand that everything fit perfectly into its own specific best form. This kind of love leaves room for life and unexpected junk (stuff) to happen, and even if “the stuff” hits the fan (which it will occasionally do), this kind of love roles on and lives right through the whole thing.
I love this image. It may not sound romantic, but it’s true to life and true to Scripture. Romantic love is all too often about as stable as soap bubbles, and the bottle of soap empties far too quickly. But biblical, marital love, as Dan so cleverly states, is like tough tires–truck tires that go the distance and overcome the elements. Let’s love like that.