Heaven and Hell

In marriage there are glimpses of heaven. I once described my honeymoon week as “Eden.” It was a time for discovery, for us to adventure together, for uninhibited intimacy, and for us to block out the rest of the world. My one focus was on the person I loved most and on making him happy. And I was so completely fulfilled to do just that. I call it Eden because the joy was overwhelming, any pain or frustration washed away, and I could focus solely on loving and being loved. It was beautiful. I think that’s what God intended our lives to be like, before evil crept in.

But in marriage there is also a bit of hell. There are fights and tears of frustration and pain. There are yelling matches and silent treatments. There are times where my sharp tongue whispers biting words, leaving my husband feeling unloved and disrespected. I wrestle daily with ungratefulness and selfishness as a result of my surmounting pride. I don’t love my husband as well as I should. My husband is patient and tender and the hardest worker I know. He is a man of integrity and honor, and he protects me and our home well. My husband is God’s greatest gift to me. Our marriage, while still blossoming, has taught me more about love, heaven, grace, and God than I ever could have imagined. But while we have the same ability to make each other the happiest, we have the capacity to hurt each other the most and deepest.

A woman once told me, “It’s better to be alone and lonely than married and lonely.” Her words encouraged me when I was single but haunt me now. There are times where, despite our best efforts, my husband and I feel more apart than we do united. In those moments, I know exactly what those words meant and how she felt the moment she said them. When evil creeps into a marriage and pulls partners apart, the resulting moments are deathly lonely.

I write about this topic because I struggled with loneliness as a single. And frankly, I expected my husband to solve that. I look around at my peers, and we’re all in a state of transition. Some of us are adjusting to married life. Some of us are preparing to make that commitment. Some of us are struggling with what it means to be single when everyone seems to be coupling up. Truth is, we’re all struggling, looking for the same things in different circumstances. We all want to be loved. We all want to feel special. We don’t want to be alone. And thus, we fear rejection and isolation. We fear being left out. We fear losing the love we have. We are all feeling the same things.

But loneliness is a heart issue, and one that can only be filled with perfect love… the perfect love of someone who knows each step and each breath.  Jesus came, and died, so we could feel that love to our core. That was what Eden was like, and I think it’s what heaven will be like: we’ll be wooed by the true lover of our souls, Christ, and share that adoration with Him only. We will keep looking for perfect and complete love wherever we go until we find rest in communing with the only one who can love us enough to make us beautiful again.