Developing a Lasting Love in Your Marriage…& a Link Up!
Love is an action. It’s a verb. It’s a choice. Real love is not what’s portrayed on the Hollywood screens. Real love is something much more radical and long-lasting rather than the typical flitting season of passion and feelings for another person. When we embrace the viewpoint that love is a feeling, this is where we get love all wrong. And sadly, this is all too often how the Enemy deceives us.
Love is a choice, not a feeling.
What Does Real Love Look Like?
Love is patient and kind;
love does not envy or boast;
it is not arrogant or rude.
It does not insist on its own way;
it is not irritable or resentful;
it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (ESV)
According to the Word of God, which is Truth, and the foundation that we should base our lives upon, I gotta say that the above definition of what real love is was certainly not the definition I grew up learning about. Hollywood and romance novels have distorted this Truth and so has our own selfishness.
Being that I’m a selfish individual when I read this list, I think, “This is great! I want my husband to love me like this!” Yet in the stillness I hear God’s voice asking me if I am willing to love my husband in the same way that I want him to love me?
Am I willing to not keep a record of his wrongs, his sins, his shortcomings?
Am I willing to not be resentful towards him when he screws up or when he doesn’t extend to me the kind of love that I desire?
Am I willing to not insist on my own way? (sigh)
This passage in Corinthians should be the foundation for every marriage that desires to have Christ at the center of it. Yes, it’s the right kind of love; the love that lasts, but it’s a difficult kind of love to pour out on another human being, a human being that falls short and sins.
There are four kinds of love in the Bible.
Eros love- which is a romantic love.
Phileo love- which is a brotherly/friendship love.
Storge love-which is a family love, the bond among mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers.
Agape love- which is a Christ-like love.
To develop a lasting love in your marriage, Agape love needs to be at the center of your relationship. The passage in 1 Cor. 13 is what Agape love looks like.
So you may be asking yourself, how do you develop Agape love? Well, Agape love comes from knowing Christ and growing in Him. The more Godly I become, the more I pour out this Agape love to my husband. My Beloved happens to love the fact that I extend to him this kind of love, in fact, the more I pour into him this Agape love, the more he has the propensity to pour it right back into me! This is a beautiful picture of the type of marriage that God intended; it represents the love that Christ has for the Church.
When the Agape love is moving freely in my marriage the Phileo love and the Eros love will naturally blossom. When I focus on my failures and shortcomings, rather than my husband’s, and move toward extending Agape love to him, our marriage becomes glorious. But if I seek to please me and insist on my way or if I continue to dwell on his weaknesses or keep a record of his wrongdoings, then our love will naturally fade. And because I didn’t walk down the aisle to marry my man so I could have a pathetic marriage…I choose to love my man in an Agape way.
Love is a choice and today regardless of my circumstances and the trials that the Lord has allowed to take place in our lives, I choose to love my man.
My challenge to you this Valentine’s Day…
Choose to love your man, but not in your own strength but rather through the power of the Holy Spirit. You have the power of the Living God dwelling within you. Immerse yourself in the things of the Lord so you can be filled with Agape love. Then let God move freely in your heart and if He’s asking you to lay down your pride or let go of what your man did or didn’t do in your marriage, then do so.
Maybe God wants you to look at your husband’s strengths? But perhaps you’re thinking he doesn’t have any? My suggestion is to write out what you love about your husband so you can change your perspective.
Is God asking you to extend your husband grace? Perhaps this is something that you don’t feel you can do? Keep the perspective on pleasing Christ as you seek to bring honor to the Lord by pouring out Agape love to your husband. Don’t wait for your husband to start loving you this way, you be the more mature Christian and start this way of life first.
Because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world. 1 John 4:4
Regardless of your current trials or your past, with the Power of the Spirit of God, you can overcome the difficulties in your marriage.
Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. Romans 8:37
Embrace this Truth, my friend!
Check out these Budget Friendly Ideas for Him for Valentine’s Day.
Live a poured out life for Christ,
Photo Credit: jessleecuizon via Compfight cc
Excellent thoughts on this! It is far too easy to read something like 1 Cor. 13 and read into it “my spouse needs to do this” instead of just focusing on ourselves and what we need to be doing.
You are so right, Alecia!
Hi Jolene, great advice as per usual. It is true we should be focusing on our own shortcomings and not those of our husbands. That is between him and God and we know we can trust God. My linky is up again and I would love for you to join in on Wednesday again. I hope that others find you there too.
ps: please add your bloghop to the bloghop directory at http://www.encourage247.com. I would love to see you there! 🙂
Thanks Tracy, I’ll look into it when I get the chance!
This is really great. Thanks for making it clear that when we love the way God does, it’s not by our own strength but because we are children of God and the Holy Spirit lives in our hearts. We don’t do things perfectly, because we’re always sinners, but because we’re also saints, we DO love others (especially our spouse) the way God loves all of us: unconditionally. And you’re so right–when we love our spouse with that Agape love, it makes it easier for them to love us right back. (Have you read/heard of the book “Love and Respect”? It’s all about that concept of each spouse giving 100%.)
I’m your new follower.
would be nice if you can visit my blog and link up.
Have a nice Monday.
Thanks, Jolene, for the linkup. I know it takes time to set up. Your post today was encouraging and I will remember to learn better how to give my husband agape love. I have seen over and over how giving in some way to my husband brings it right back and often in greater amounts of love than I have given to him.
Another excellent post, Jolene! Thanks for all your ministry for marriages around the globe, dear sister!
“Choose to love your man, but not in your own strength but rather through the power of the Holy Spirit. You have the power of the Living God dwelling within you. Immerse yourself in the things of the Lord so you can be filled with Agape love. Then let God move freely in your heart and if He’s asking you to lay down your pride or let go of what your man did or didn’t do in your marriage, then do so.”
Amen, sister! I love this post! This is exactly what I needed to hear. I’ve been struggling just to let go of a lot of things in my life recently and to experience God’s peace in the moment, to live in the present instead of worrying about what happened yesterday and overwhelmed by tomorrow already, and of course this is affecting my marriage. This morning nothing seemed to go right and I felt exhausted and stressed out when I woke up before the day even really started. My dear, sweet husband just came over and hugged me and offered to buy his lunch today instead of me making it. I am so grateful for that moment because I truly needed to be loved – to let God and my husband love me. I felt like I didn’t have anything to give in return, but all God asks of me is to be still in His presence during those moments and to take the “love letters” (often in the form of my husband) He sends. When I made a conscious choice to love my husband using God’s strength – wow! what a difference!
Oh Hannah, what a wonderful testimony of your obedience and God’s faithfulness! A surrendered life in Christ is ALWAYS the best choice…not the easiest, but always the best!
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