Something our pastor said one Sunday morning stays with me. He recounted couples who came to him seeking marital guidance when one or both partners tell him, “I just don’t love them anymore.”
Our pastor replies, “Love anyway” for fact is that feelings change. Commitments, promises, vows made before God do not.
Act in love. Speak in love. Do in love. Keep loving when the feeling is worn so you think it gone.
There are extremes that due to human involvement require exceptions. Personally I think in cases of physical abuse, repeative adultery or emotional, spiritual, mental or financial harm, then breaking the vows of marriage by divorce are necessary.
But from what I witness it isn’t these big rocks that shatter a marriage it is little pebbles, grains of sand.
Further we all seem to struggle with an “entitlement issue”. In other words “I deserve to be (fill in the blank).”
I want to be in love and be happy.
I want to be in love and my spouse do with and for me what I want, how I want, and when I want it.
I want a marriage where we both give 50/50, equal contributions.
I want THAT relationship.
Aha…is the grass always greener?
Few relationships fail due to one partner alone. Multiple relationships survive the hurricane because one partner digs in, stays on their knees and loves anyway.
Which is one of the messages from the movie Fireproof. Act in love. Speak in love. Do in love.
If your marriage is in trouble then be logical. Seek help. Working through the sand and pebbles makes the rock slides survival possible.
Paul by God’s inspiration, in 1 Corinthians 13 records for us what love is and is not. Love does not quit because the journey is tough.
Lust ends. Control shifts. Money comes and goes. Health improves and declines. Bodies age. Opinions differ. Children grow up.
Love does not quit.
People need to understand that LOVE does not equal physical PASSION… which is often how its equated in popular culture. People are inundated today with relationship and self help gurus telling us that we need to keep the PASSION alive and HOW TO keep it alive.
Passion comes and goes. It peaks… it wanes. This passion is somewhat relational but it is also biologically wired this way. To ebb and flow is natural. So REAL LOVE has to be much deeper than that… something MORE than that.
It is why we must understand that TRUE LOVE is not reliant upon this passion. It is also not just completely 50/50 in our giving to a partnership. LOVE… REAL LOVE…. is GIVING 100% TO COVENANT RELATIONSHIP!
The Apostle Paul teaches us how we are to love. First he tells us (ladies, you are not going to like this but there is more MUCH MORE so please keep reading and keep your minds and hearts open) that WIVES are to be SUBMISSIVE to their husbands in the same manner that the CHURCH is submissive to CHRIST. As Christians, we are called to be 100% committed to the Lord Jesus Christ. IN this manner, wives are to be 100% committed to their husbands. The people of the Church are called to do the things which pleases our Lord. A woman that is committed to her man is called likewise to be PLEASING to him.
[okay IM ducking the shoes being thrown at me now BUT READ ON!]
Then following that statement… and this is even MORE CRUCIAL…… PAUL TELLS US MEN:
HUSBANDS, LOVE YOUR WIVES EVEN AS CHRIST LOVES THE CHURCH! [We men prefer to ignore this part but if we follow it, it will be a blessing for both]
HOW DOES CHRIST LOVE THE CHURCH?
WITH 100% TOTAL COMMITMENT EVEN TO THE POINT OF SUBMISSION AND DEATH!
Jesus Christ gave himself… body and soul to the Church…. He gave Himself even to the point of death… and gave his life and died for THE CHURCH.
Christ as the HEAD OF THE CHURCH is OUR MASTER…..
BUT OUR MASTER… OUR LORD…. OUR GOD….. COMMITTED HIMSELF TO US IN THIS RELATIONSHIP BY BECOMING A SERVANT.
Such is to be the nature of the HUSBAND TO THE WIFE… 100% COMMITTED EVEN UNTO DEATH… TO BE HER LOVING MASTER YES… BUT ALSO TO BE HER DEVOTED SERVANT WITH 100% NO HOLDS BARRED COMPLETE AND TOTAL COMMITMENT.
And through His commitment to us… through HIS LIFE…. he gives US life! Jesus has NEVER FORCED US TO FOLLOW HIS WILL… NEVER FORCES US TO FOLLOW HIS COMMANDMENTS (to love Him and one another in order to fulfill the Law). HE LEAVES US TO MAKE OUR OWN CHOICES.
Thus we as husbands are to GIVE our wives free will to make her own choices… love her in her choices even if we doubt it being the right one…. guide her when we can and when she will allow us to do so…. pick her up and support her when she falls…..comfort her when she feels broken dejected, strengthen and encourage and empower her to DO what it is she needs to do AND GIVE HER UNDYING LOVE… UNDYING POWER… UNENDING PEACE AND JOY! For this is what Christ does for the Church.
CHRIST DOESNT FORCE US INTO A DOWNTRODDEN SERVITUDE… HE LIFTS US UP TO EMPOWERED ABUNDANT LIFE!
CAN WE MEN DO ANY LESS FOR OUR WIVES?
NOW…. IF we men do this as we are called and give ourselves to her in this manner first, for Christ came in this way for his Church even before we knew we needed him in this manner…… if our WIVES see this FIRST GIVEN AND TOTALLY COMMITTED LOVE… and SHE SEEKS TO FOLLOW THE WILL OF CHRIST IN HER LIFE…. then she will happily and readily do everything SHE CAN to please us in the same manner that WE CHRISTIANS are to in total commitment to Christ DO EVERY THING we can to be pleasing to He who loves us with an unending and totally selfless love.
So…. yes… A CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE IS 100% BY BOTH PARTIES… not 70/30, 60/400 or 50/50… BUT 100% by both parties involved… THIS is the nature of a covenant relationship.
NOW DON’T EVEN GET ME STARTED ON MARRIAGES THAT ARE UNEQUALLY YOKED… AND why it is important that Christians marry Christians. Too many people are not considering faith when they marry someone…. just because “I LOVE HER/HIM”.
You are right. In your reminders of what our roles as Believers and marriage between AND that submission leaves a bitterness in many ladies mouths.
Of course…. if most people put the energy into the marriage that they put into the Church and service to the Lord, it is no wonder that so many marriages fail.
Such a horrible witness of our “lives of faith” that we give up, fold up & let go before the winds truly begin to blow. Sadly, some put more energy and time into “church” than a relationship with Christ, much less their spouse.
Thanks for reading & commenting.
Amen. Someone once told me that love is a verb. you MUST do it. It isn’t a noun. I think God commands us to love so much because he knows it isn’t in our natural behaviors to do. If a marriage can be mended even after several acts of adultery, then it can be mended from apathy worry, regret and entitlement.
Fireproof is a great testament to what God can do. The movie that FireProof is based on is The Love Dare.
Yes you are right & I believe I know who told you love is a verb! No one EVER said ANY relationship is easy, especially marriage but it is a holy commitment between a man, woman & GOD. Reminds me of a song sung by Andy Denton, “50 years from now what will we remember? 50 years from now what will we have to treasure? If we walk away from this, what will we have missed, 50 years, 50 years from now?”. A beautiful song that has been a reminder for our marriage that “the storm won’t last…they never do…”. And a chord of 3 strands is not easily broken from Ecclesiastes 4:12.
When my husband asked me to marry him, he asked if he could stair at me for the next 50 years. And each year the 50 starts over. That song makes a lot of senase. So many times have we wanted to give up but never do because what would we miss. And who would want to start all over with someone new and possibly go through all the same things?