Or perfect silence, or song of cherished lips. -Christina Rossetti
Talking with two dear friends and the nature of relationships came up in the conversation.
"You've got to show your wife affection," the husband spoke in agreement with a statement I had made.
"Men need respect," the wife commented, "and women need affection."
How true I have found this to be, in a marriage that lasted thirty years. And in this couple, whom I have long loved and admired, I have seen a continual living out of this principle.
We serve, after all, and in what area of our lives should we be more aware of the needs of each other than in this most foundational human relationship of one man and one woman?
But we fall short, don't we?
I must thank God for an early awareness (even in an infidel heart) to meet this basic need in my wife. And I thank Him even more for a growing commitment to meet that need, however imperfectly.
But I thank God most of all for a faith, freely given and completely unmerited, that pointed me to a deep appreciation for the gift I had been given and the desire to express that appreciation by loving, nurturing and cherishing this wife, however imperfectly.
That young love which draws us together (as men and women) can fade so quickly, it seems. The passion, the desire, the utter absorption with this other one: so beautiful, so different, but so precious.
Some might say that this is good; that such strong emotions cannot be permanent. An easiness, a comfortableness, a sense of companionship are the desired ends of a mature relationship.
Yes, but no.
Should not the passion, desire, and absorption grow ever stronger as we come to know the other more deeply, more intimately than ever (however imperfectly)?
This is love, don't you think, that desire and dedication should go hand-in-hand. That commitment should increase. That two should indeed become as one.