We’re leaning against the cedar planks of the sauna when he tells me that people have it all backwards thinking relationships are about what you can get out of the other person. “The more you serve, the better the relationship gets,” he says.
I’m the one who tells him, a few days before, that I wouldn’t be the type of person to get up every morning to make my partner breakfast–a preemptive clarification of my feministic principles. And anyway, it’s not practical.
Maybe I’m right. But I realize I’ve been approaching every relationship lately on the basis of practicality.
“I think I am finally in a stable place in my faith,” I tell her. There was a period when I wondered if Christianity ever did any real good over the course of the last few centuries. And a time when I wondered if it was a religion for women or just for the men who got to speak from the pulpit.
“I am finally in a stable place in my faith,” I tell him. “But I am missing my intimacy with God.”
Maybe because it’s hard to be intimate with someone when you’re scrutinizing whether your relationship is fair.
Or maybe because it’s hard to lay down your life when you’re not willing to do their leftover dishes.
And anyway, selflessness is not practical.
Certainly not when he stays up late to get my coffee ready for the next morning. Or when I ask to borrow a vacuum for my car–and, instead, he goes to vacuum, wax and fuel it himself.
It’s not fair for him to do that. It’s just grace.
“It’s your reasonable service,” the preacher had said from the pulpit, speaking of offering our bodies as living sacrifices to God.
Because loving someone usually changes your priorities.
“The more you serve, the better the relationship gets,” he says. And the same night, I feel a rotten load of discontentment boiling up inside me as we finish our run. Before I can blurt it all out, he tells me all the things he loves about me.
But I’ve always thought of love in relation to losing–freedom, time. But maybe, when you lay your life down, you give it the chance to be taken apart and rebuilt into something more real. Something you can see for what it is.
Not a right. But a privilege. To demonstrate your love for Someone who loves you with no terms or conditions.
“For one will scarcely die for a righteous person–though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die–but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:7-8