I kissed my wife, Pam, for the first time 48 years ago yesterday. Yes, this unromantic slob chose Valentine’s Day, which happens to be her birthday, to initiate our first kiss. When I first met her, I was not overly impressed feeling she talked too much (“the pot calling the kettle black!” 😊). Over the next six months, our relationship took a 180 degree turn around. Pam and a friend of hers shared an apartment while the rest of us lived in dormitories. We hung out at her place often (which Pam didn’t seem to mind it all). While the other girls in our group seemed to focus on guys, Pam was hospitable and caring to all of us. Personally, she gave me an open invitation to drop by for cheese grilled sandwiches! With my lack of funds, this became frequent leading us to a closer friendship. Those grilled cheese sandwiches gave us tons of time to talk. Over winter break, we shared a ride 850 miles together to my hometown in Georgia laughing and enjoying each other. There were no romantic feelings at that time. My attention was focused on a date planned with a drop-dead gorgeous girl back home which I hoped would become a relationship. We did not hit it off at all, and I began to miss the free-flowing friendship that Pam and I shared. Over the next months, I recognized the depth and maturity of Pam which led me to initiate our first kiss. We were married that year (1973) in December and began the journey together.
Pam and I learned that we needed help to enjoy and grow our relationship. Ten painful years led us to turn our lives over to the Lord whose love transformed our marriage. Jesus commands us in John 13:34, “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” We discovered that it was impossible to manufacture the kind of love needed in marriage on our own. We were too selfish. This kind of love came from submission to Him allowing Christ to love through us to each other.
The love of Jesus in action is described by Paul the Apostle in Philippians 2:1-4, if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”
- Verses 1&2 share the source of sacrificial love does not come from us but “encouragement from being united with Christ…comforted by his love… common sharing in the Spirit… tenderness and compassion…being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.” Agape love emanates from the heart of Christ. It is generated by the Holy Spirit who is God living and loving in and thru us.
- Verses 3&4 reveal our mindset must be like Jesus, “Doing nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility valuing others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the other.”
Forty-seven years later, the love shared between Pam and me continues to grow. We give the glory to God.