The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves,
and not to twist them to fit our own image.
Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them.
~Thomas Merton,
Trappist Monk & Author

Ponder this for a moment.

Let it marinate.

In these few words, Thomas Merton, a man who gave his life in service to God and man, summed up beautifully what the Lord has been speaking to my heart for weeks.

I love Robert deeply and well most of the time (at least that what he reports!).

And yet…

God has been showing me that there is more,

Reminding me of things that I’ve known for a long time:

I love Robert best when I love him unconditionally (1 John 4:19-21)…

With grace and mercy and compassion and understanding.

Without a secret agenda or some preconceived notion of what he “should” be.

I love Robert best when I let him be perfectly himself in Christ (Ephesians 2:13).

When I see Robert as God sees him and not any other way.

When I acknowledge that Robert is fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14)…

That Robert is made in God’s image (Genesis 1:26-27).

When my love allows Robert to be perfectly himself, I see the reflection of Jesus in him.

That’s so much better than a reflection of me.

Praying for our marriages,


Just a little postscript:

I’ve been doing this very deliberately and consistently with great focus for several months now, consistently growing more successful in my attempts to love Robert in ways that allow him to be perfectly himself. Like most things, it has gotten easier and more consistent with practice. As a result, there is more peace and joy in my heart. Quite the interesting side-effect, don’t you think?