“This is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another” (1 John 3:11 ESV).
A hand-painted sign above my front door reads “Love one another” in elegant script. While the lettering and words are beautiful, I have the sentiment displayed there not because I like how it looks, but because I need the daily reminder to follow God’s command both inside and outside my home.
These divinely inspired words were sung in a hymn at my wedding ten years ago, but looking back over the last decade of life, loss, motherhood, and marriage, I’m not so sure I really understood what they meant at the time.
I’m married to my best friend, the only person I ever truly wanted to spend the rest of my life with, the man I fell for at the beginning of college and not-so-patiently pursued for the next three years. Yet marriage has been more difficult than I ever imagined. My husband and I are true opposites, and we’ve been pushing each other out of our comfort zones since we first met.
When I was a freshman in college and falling madly in love with this tall, dark, and handsome boy who was interested in someone else, my mother told me I was “the kind of girl he wants to marry, not the kind of girl he wants to date right now.”
My naive little heart didn’t believe her at the time, but it turned out she was right. When we finally started dating, right before we graduated from college, we were horribly awkward and incredibly terrified of our relationship.
We had reason to be. Things quickly became serious. There was no turning back, and we started the process of uniting two stubborn and strong-willed personalities. Two people who were each used to being “right” and getting what they wanted suddenly had to reconcile stark differences in political views, religious denominations, family traditions, and even spending habits.
It was, frankly, exhausting. We were so caught up in ourselves and our needs that we lost sight of each other. We weren’t looking for middle ground; we were looking for superior, self-righteous ground.
It was only when we both fixed our eyes on Jesus and accepted his great love for us that we began to truly love and see each other as God sees us. We stopped trying to be right and started trying to be kind, to be patient, to not hold a record of wrongs. We started trying to live 1 Corinthians 13 and 1 John 4 out loud. We started trying to love each other as our Savior first loved us.
Do we fail? Of course, and often, but we’ve learned that mistakes come with the territory this side of heaven, and extending forgiveness is where “love one another” becomes truth.
For the Love of Dixie. Her first book, Where Did My Sweet Grandma Go? was published in 2016. She thrives on green tea, Tex-Mex, and all things turquoise.writes about her journey as a wife, mom to two little girls and Alzheimer’s daughter in her native Austin, Texas, at
Photograph © Ryan Holloway, used with permission