Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
— 1 Corinthians 13:4–5

I had my entire life planned out, or so I thought. Finish college, find the love of my life, get married, have children and so on. Unfortunately, I strayed away from God’s perfect will for my life and made choices that would dramatically alter the course I had hoped to take. When the wages of sin bring a baby, you are forced to completely refocus your attention and rewrite your plan.

Being an unwed mom has undoubtedly been one of the hardest challenges I have ever faced. It has brought heartache and hardship like I can’t even describe. I love Kannon, my son, and I can’t imagine living life without him. Even so, I can’t help but wonder how much differently my experience would have been if I had followed God’s plan instead of my own. Through all of the struggle and hardship, I know that God is still able to use my story to bring glory to him.

It’s hard to wrap your head around the concept of unconditional love until you experience it for yourself. As a parent, you can have the most frustrating, exhausting day of your life with your child, but the love never wavers, not even for a moment. It’s an unconditional love that can only be understood once you’ve experienced it. It’s this kind of unconditional love that God has for us and for the Church.

Marriage, as God designed it, is supposed to reflect this same kind of love: Agape love. We are to love our spouses in the same way that Christ loved the Church. That might seem easy to do on a good day, but on the bad days, when the weight of the stress or arguing or frustrations seem almost more than one can handle, how well do we show Christ’s love to our spouse?

Having a Godly marriage, one that encompasses God’s love for the Church, means loving one another at all times, selflessly and sacrificially. We must put our spouse’s needs above our own. But this is so much easier said than done, and if we’re honest with ourselves, sometimes it might seem unrealistic, but we are called to love in this way.

Though my path has not been the one I would have chosen for myself, I do believe one of the best things that has come out of it is the ability to fully understand the concept of the unconditional, sacrificial love that Christ expects in our marriages. I was able to come into my marriage with a glimpse of what that unconditional, at-all-costs love looks like.

We are called to love through the pain, the suffering and the hardships. Love your spouse at all costs, for that is the kind of Agape love that Christ displays for us.