I have something very important to say.
This something is going to be a little bit uncomfortable. It may even venture into the territory of awkward. When you read these words, you might want to yell at me. I ask that you hold off on that, at least for a moment. Please finish this letter before you decide my punishment.
That very important something is this:
You will never be the most important thing in my life.
I mean it.
If there is ever a day that I say “You are my everything”, then I have utterly failed you. You deserve so much better than a man who loves you more than anything else.
Yes, I know this doesn’t make much sense, but hear me out. I promise there is a point.
First, The Premise:
I must admit, this idea of “too much love” was not originally my own; it was proposed to me by a good friend. When my friend first suggested it, I was confused. What do you mean I shouldn’t love my wife more than anything else? It seemed absurd.
I responded to him, saying “How can loving your wife ever be bad?” This seemed to me like the basis for a healthy relationship. In fact, I would have said that relationships not defined by love are the ones that are incomplete.
After extended conversation, contemplation, and a good deal of prayer, I have figured out that I was only half right. Broken relationships are defined by a lack of love, but not by a lack of love for the other person.
Second, The Proposal:
Obviously I have convinced myself that you can’t be my everything. Now I just need to convince you that what I am saying isn’t crazy.
To put this in perspective, first a question: How much can I love you?
This is not a rhetorical question. How much tangible love do you think I have to give? For how many hours/days/years can I love you without a single lapse in adoration?
Answer: Not as much as you deserve.
I hope this isn’t a surprise to you. If you know me well enough to be my wife, I assume you know that I am broken, and scarred, and imperfect, and flawed in the extreme. There will certainly be a day when my anger or my fear or my selfishness will get in the way of my love.
Therefore, if I am the most important thing in your life (or vice versa) and I inevitably do something that damages our relationship, suddenly everything we hold dear could come crashing down. If the foundation of our relationship is how perfectly we can love each other, then we are doomed to be disappointed.
In fact, I would say that this is one of the things I have witnessed in all of the broken relationships I have seen in my life. It is NOT necessarily a lack of love that causes relational tension, but a mismanagement of expectations. If you expect an imperfect person to be your perfect world, the only possible outcome is heartache.
Sadly, no one seems to find the perfect love we see in fairy tales.
Third, The Promise:
This being said, I don’t think two imperfect people can’t still have a beautiful relationship. There is room for love, even amidst brokenness.
The key to this beauty, though, is a foundation that is significantly more perfect than that other person. When two people live for each other, they can only ever fail one another; but when two people live for something greater than themselves, there is hope.
To cut straight to the cliche, I have found a love that is greater than my own. Christ, without resentment or exasperation, gave up everything for me (completely undeserving). His love is that perfect benchmark which neither I, nor anyone, can ever replicate.
The day I love you more than anything is the day my love is diminished. What you deserve isn’t the whole affection of a broken man, but the overflowing adoration of someone seeking a love magnificently greater than his own.
So this is my promise: You will never be the most important thing in my life, because this is an expectation that you can’t live up to. My goal in life will always be to pursue Christ with everything, because only through him can I love you in the way you deserve.
Hopefully this is your goal too, because if it is, we have a shot at something pretty great.
I would like you to be free from concern, an unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs – how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world – how he can please his wife.
1 Corinthians 7:32