Click below to listen to this post about ‘forever’ on the Candidly Kendra podcast:
When Steve and I were dating he wouldn’t say “I love you.”
Does that sound strange? Are you surprised I married him anyway?
Well, you’ve got to hear the whole story. See, sometime early in our relationship Steve explained to me that he wouldn’t tell me that he loved me until he knew he wanted to marry me. To him, “I love you” was more than a feeling – it was a promise.
Steve wanted to say “I love you” once, to one woman, and he wanted it to mean, “I will love you forever.”
When he proposed he said, “Kendra, …I love you.” (I stopped breathing because I knew what was coming!) And then he said, “Will you serve God with me for the rest of our lives?”
Do you get why I married him now? Swoon.
I didn’t mind waiting once I learned that “I love you” was a promise that Steve would keep.
“You Said Forever Now I Drive Alone Past Your Street”
Today I heard the relatively new song “Drivers License” by Olivia Rodrigo. I actually really enjoy that song. It has a beautiful tune. You can listen to it here if you want to. (This is the clean version. Be aware of that if you decide to look it up on your own.)
There is a line in that song that is so beautiful and haunting. She says, “You said ‘forever,’ now I drive alone past your street.”
I was thinking as I listened to the song that there was a communication failure between the two characters in the song, to put it mildly. The boy was communicating his feelings. But feelings come and go. The girl on the other hand, heard it as a promise.
She was left broken-hearted as he moved on.
My empathies go to this fictional* young woman. Many of us know the pain of thinking ‘forever’ was a promise and finding out that it was only a fleeting feeling.
‘I Love Yous’ And ‘Forever’ in Dating
I really admire Steve for defining the terms for us. I knew for certain that he wasn’t ready to make a promise of forever yet and that I would know when he was.**
And I believe that’s how it should be. Dating is for learning and growing. And, ideally, for walking away…or walking down the aisle, whichever the case may be…better off for having spent time together.
You don’t know if you will be together forever while you are dating, and that’s how it should be. I always advise people – especially Christians who are so well-versed in the concept of commitment – that it’s okay to break up while dating. That’s what dating is for!
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‘I Love Yous’ and ‘Forever’ In Marriage
On the day that Steve told me he loved me I knew the game had changed. I loved him, too. Forever.
We made that promise of forever formally to each other on February 13, 1999 in front of God and many witness (and with cake!). Our relationship was different after that. Gone were the insecurities (“Does he love me?” “Does he want me?”) and in their place was a new sense of high stakes (“Will he chew his food like that forever?).
God’s Forever Promise
And on the difficult days, during food-chewing or coffee-slurping moments, we fall back on our Forever God. God is our ultimate example of forever love.
He shows us how to love forever, even when we don’t deserve it.
Here are a few great verses about God’s Faithful Forever Love:
“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
his love endures forever.”
1 Chronicles 16:34
“My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.”
“Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
God says forever and He means it! It’s a promise that He’s going to keep!
*Some say that this song is reflecting Olivia Rodrigo’s own heartbreak story. But I know artists often prefer that people don’t assume all their songs are biographical, so I’ll treat this song as fiction.
**I, on the other hand, was ready to say ‘forever’ immediately! But it was good that we went by Steve’s timetable. I had a lot of growing up to do!
Should I Keep Dating Him? When To Call It Quits
My Top Dating Advice, Based On Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations
Hope For The Hopeless: Believing What God Says Is True