Love as distinct from “being in love” is not merely a feeling. It is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit; reinforced by the grace which both partners ask, and receive from God. They can have this love for each other even at those moments when they do not like each other; as you love yourself even when you do not like yourself. –C.S. Lewis
I love this quote. It makes me feel like I have a the opportunity to be a good wife. I don’t feel like a very good wife right now, but when I read this, I see hope.
Lewis tells us that my love can be maintained by the will to love Brian. So, it doesn’t matter if I’m not particularly “feeling” it one day. I can will myself to love him, and in doing so, end up strengthening my love for him as I form this habit. And I love the thought of making it a habit to love my husband, just as you would make it a habit to turn on a nightlight before bed.
And this unity between us– this covenant that we formed before God and with God– can be made stronger all the time if we ask God for grace in this. We mess up, we hurt one another, we let the other down. But when asked, God gives us grace and we can thus give it to one another.
Instead of having an emotional feeling for Brian, I can have this “deep unity.” And I can have it with him even in the times I do not like him very much. He can have it with me when he doesn’t like me very much.
So, there’s hope. When we make a habit to love and will ourselves to love, and we ask God for grace in our inability to love and for the grace to show to one another, there’s hope.
Brian demonstrates this to me regularly. He makes it a habit to love me and he shows me so much grace in my shortcomings towards him. He told me last night that I am the perfect wife for him– even if I were to say that I didn’t want to be better (responding to what I just said). He gets this. I’m trying to.