right (and wrong) about love

i’ve heard that to truly love someone is to want the highest possible good for them.

since we’re made in the image of God to constantly enjoy and delight in Him, He is our ultimate and highest good.

i do not dispute that. i have no reason to dispute it because it’s true: above and beyond anything, He is our highest, truest, richest, most beautiful love.

what i didn’t understand was how anyone ever ended up getting married based on the premise of desiring the greatest good for their beloved.

in my mind, this translated almost to a scenario of pride: if i loved someone and truly desired the absolute best for that person, then how could i possibly wish him to be bound to me for the rest of our lives — me, selfish, self-absorbed, prideful, fearful, lazy and all the other broken things i am — when there were so many other women who loved God more and better than i did? if i wanted the best for him, if i wanted him to see and know and experience as much of God on this earth as humanly possible, how could i ever have the audacity to think i could be the vehicle for that?

i knew i must not be getting something right there, because Christian men and women obviously do get married. so what was it about this principle that i wasn’t understanding? (i think it’s from something of john piper’s, by the way. and it applies to any kind of relationship, not just marriage.)

i wish i remembered what it was in the past couple of days that illuminated this for me, but i honestly don’t. maybe it was reading about mark twain’s relationship with his wife, livy, as i walked home from the library on saturday.

at any rate, here is what i realized. loving someone and desiring his highest good doesn’t mean you’re being selfish or proud if you marry him. it means you are committing the rest of your life to helping him see the beauty of God more and more each day, helping Him to fall in love with God more and more, and helping him become the man God created him to be. that kind of love isn’t selfish; it’s a living sacrifice.

i don’t know why i didn’t understand that before. maybe it’s because i’m still in the case study period of understanding all of this and am not actually out there charging about in the undergrowth with my machete or up a tree hoping someone comes to save me from being a tiger’s lunch. i don’t understand what that “in love” feeling is supposed to be. i haven’t been there yet. but wanting someone to be fully alive and aflame with the joy and wonder of who Christ is and what He accomplished on our behalf? i know what that feels like.