It began with a young couple in front of a camera, fresh from the hipster state of Washington. It’s my favorite part of my job, these interviews. I get to take people’s stories and help them come to life. Yet as we rolled tape and began to dig into their lives, I couldn’t take my eyes off of them.
Evidence of their marriage was evident in the baby bump just beginning to crest beneath a flowy black dress. But it was more than that. It was the way she slapped his knee when she thought he said something wrong or the way he chuckled when we encouraged them to talk with their hands if that felt comfortable. It was the way he grabbed her waist to tuck her under his arm or the way he pecked her lips as we adjusted lighting. It was the way they laughed and looked at each other or whispered as we conferred on camera placement.
And it was their story. For every story he told, she had a story to compliment. This man, a warrior in the faith, had married a woman every bit his equal who gladly followed him as he followed Christ all the way to a city where there are very few believers in Christ. Why? To be His hands and feet. They don’t make a lot, but what they make they give. In unison. Together. For a greater purpose.
Like I said, I sat mesmerized. This is love. In a world colored by fifty shades of gray, this couple made it so black and white. This is love. No questions. No wondering. No shades of gray.
Clear. This is love.
As a culture, we didn’t like restrictions, so we created tolerance and in-betweens. You do you, and I’ll do me. Everything goes. No rules apply. But in doing so, we replaced clarity with confusion, depth with shallowness, and intimacy for a cheap imitation.
Our art is no different. Harlequin novels boast heated, passionate love scenes with a guy with rock hard abs and a woman in awe that he would fall for her. Did I mention they have known one another for a hot two seconds? We call this love. But in the morning, there are more questions than answers.
As I watched this couple, I saw intimacy. Not intimacy born of sex or physical attraction. Intimacy born of relationship.
It’s what we all crave isn’t it? The companionship of these two. The knowing looks, whispered words, gentle touches, familiar smiles. We want someone to share life with, even if only for a night. All because we don’t want to be lonely. But in the process we forgot intimacy doesn’t mean sex. It is born from relationship and this kind of oneness only comes in marriage.
Companionship is forged in fire. It is born from the black and white moments when you only have one another and God Almighty to cling to. It’s demonstrated during late nights with sick kids or next to the hospital bed or in the linked fingers of a newly married couple or in the joy experienced around a breakfast table as you drink coffee together. It’s shared moments of clarity forged in the midst of pain and peace. This is love. Clear and unadulterated and uncomplicated.
I asked this couple how long they’d been married. They chuckled. Nine years. Five year old twins sat in another room. Not newly-weds but not experts either. My fascination came from their familiarity with one another, a familiarity born from becoming one. And it made me smile. No Harlequin novel or racy rom-com or drama has accurately captured what this couple portrayed – a life lived in unison for a bigger purpose. But it isn’t boring. It’s rife with adventure and struggle and passion and purpose.
This is love. The black and white splitting the gray.