Radical Love

Well it happened again. Another bridal shower for another beautiful young bride…and someone asked, “Would you say a few words?”

That’s always…humbling. I feel completely unqualified. So I struggle and I pray through the process. And eventually I start to write out what I’ll say.

I never know how God will use those words in the lives of the ones who hear them. But I do know one thing…He never fails to use the process to speak deeply into my own heart and life.

As I wrote this time, I thought about promises. On our wedding day, we stand with the one we love, and we make promises.

We look into the eyes of the man in front of us, and we vow to love and respect him. We promise to stay by his side and support him in good times and in hard times, in times of health and times of sickness, in times of plenty and in times of want. We promise to stay with him and be his partner in life…no matter what.

And I dare say most of us have no idea what “no matter what” will mean to us. We have no concept of how heavy the “hard” will be. We can’t imagine what the “sick” will require of us. We can’t fathom what level of “want” we will face. And we are at a loss to comprehend how all of it will affect and change us…as individuals and as a couple.

But on our wedding day, we promise one another that we will faithfully love each other in and through it all.

Those are big promises. Enormous, gigantic, monumental promises. And living them out isn’t always easy.

But we have One to look to that shows us how it can be done.

God is the ultimate promise keeper—He has shown us the most powerful picture of what it means to keep a promise.

Long ago, He promised a Messiah who would save His people from the eternal consequences of their sins. It was a promise that would cost Him everything. And even though it required an unimaginable sacrifice, it was a promise He was faithful to deliver.

In the beginning, God promised to act so we could be with Him forever and not suffer His wrath for our sin. Jesus, the perfect Son of God, came as man, lived a perfect life, died in our place for our sin. And God raised Him to life again, defeating death, and making a way for us to live with God forever. When we believe that, we claim His promise, and we are forever protected in His covenant. An unbreakable, eternal covenant.

One of the most beautiful things about God’s promise to us is that He kept it even though we didn’t deserve it. He sent Jesus to save us while we were still sinners. He didn’t wait for us to pull it together, to get our acts straight, to start living right, to say we were sorry, or even to be agreeable people.

His promise didn’t depend on us at all.

We didn’t have to do anything to earn it or deserve it or make it happen. That is the kind of promise that marriage was meant to be built on. The kind of love that marriage can thrive on.

And I have to stop right here and ask myself:

Have I kept my promises? Have I loved my spouse with that kind of love?

The kind of love that dies to itself every. single. day.

The kind that loves when the other doesn’t deserve it.

The kind that loves when it costs. When it is painful. When it requires deep, personal sacrifice.

The kind that doesn’t wait for someone to say I’m sorry…and doesn’t waver when “sorry” is never said.

The kind that loves when it doesn’t feel loved very well.

The kind that loves when it feels broken.

The kind that loves other more than self.

The kind of love with which God loves me.

Marriage requires gospel love.

A love that has nothing to do with one’s deservedness. That is not dependent upon anything. A love that is chosen every moment and graciously given every day.

That is the kind of love that can only grow in a heart fully submitted to the One who first loved us. It is the kind of love that originates in Him and simply flows through us. Without Him, it is an impossible love…and our most well-intentioned promises are empty. With Him, it is a life-giving love and our promises to each other are a mirror of His beautiful covenant with us.

Friends, can you imagine what would happen in marriages today, if we all loved with a radical, gospel love?

Pray with me…

Loving Heavenly Father, lay bare our hearts. Rid them of all the pride and depravity that keep us from loving like you. Purge them of all the sin and selfishness that prevent your love from flowing through us. Clean them until your love runs freely and fully from us, refreshing our marriages and blessing our spouses. May we never require anyone, especially our husbands, to earn or deserve or perform for our love. Forgive us for the times we have. Thank you for loving us in our undeservedness.

Your DoAhead Friend,


About Dana Boyd

Dana is a lifelong lover of words with a passion for sharing stories of the heart—both her own and others. Her writings draw from her experiences as a woman, a writer, a wife, a mother of three, and a Bible-believing Jesus follower. She is a defender of truth, an avid proponent of common sense and a recovering (often relapsing) perfectionist still learning to lean in to grace. Her writing is an honest outpouring of her introverted heart, driven by a longing to inspire others to feel deeply, think critically and act compassionately. Dana shares her words as a monthly contributor at DoAhead Woman.

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