Romantic love is a wonderful thing, but unless marriage is founded upon a covenant of love—a love of commitment regardless of emotions—romantic love has no safe place to flourish.
Elisabeth Elliot (1926-2015) spoke wisely and practically about such covenant love in this selection from an unpublished manuscript:
A honeymooning couple may be so dazzled with love that they fail to notice peculiarities which will soon surprise them. The return from the honeymoon begins the knotty matters of the four B’s: bedroom, bathroom, breakfast and budget. They may be in for a painful jolt when they find that patience must do its perfect work. He wants the windows open at night, she wants them closed. He fires his towel over the rack from the other side of the bathroom. She wants towels neatly folded to show the monograms. He shoulders his way to the mirror to shave, can’t fathom how she can take such ages with her hair. Alas. What revelations begin to surface! He’s used to stretching his frame diagonally across the bed, which consigns her to a triangle. But, bless his heart, the next morning he helps her make the bed—his mother told him it’s easy with two. Suppose he showers and she bathes—will there be enough hot water for both? Somebody must make the coffee. Will he/she make it “right”? He expects country ham, two eggs, grits and hot biscuits, while she somehow manages on a piece of dry toast. Then, within a short time, one of them discovers that the other has no idea whatsoever about the use of money—a major setback…
A bridegroom chooses to marry a woman because he loves her. Now he must choose to love her because he married her. He ought to cherish this responsibility and thank God daily for His gift.*
*Quoted from Held in Honor: Wisdom for Your Marriage from Voices of the Past (Christian Focus, 2015), by Robert L. Plummer and Matthew D. Haste. Elisabeth Elliot’s quote included by permission.