“…just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34b-35
We wish that we could report that we always feel loving toward one another. After all, we have a ministry called “Build Your Marriage.” But the truth is, sometimes sin and selfishness creep in. We can get under each other’s skin. And while we are committed to and love each other, we don’t always feel loving.
It’s at moments like that when the Holy Spirit reminds us afresh of Jesus’ words about loving each other as he has loved us. Our faith in Christ has to work at home and in our marriage first.
In marriage, we are to love each other just as we have been loved by Jesus. But how do a husband and wife live out that kind of love? Here are seven qualities of Jesus’ love for us that we can bring to our spouse:
The expression of Jesus love for us when he went to the cross was certainly not something he looked forward to. Jesus laid down his life for us out of obedience to his father.
In the same way, we don’t wait until we feel like being loving to our spouse. As parents, we don’t let our children wait until they feel like being obedient, do we? Why would it be any different in the way that we respond to our spouse?
Jesus willingly gave his life for us. There was nothing we could do to earn or deserve his love. In fact, the Apostle Paul wrote that, “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
The love that we express for our spouse is not transactional. We don’t hold out on showing love until they “have earned it.” We love our spouse without precondition.
Jesus established a covenant relationship with us through his sacrifice on the cross and our faith in him. The extent to which he went to have a relationship with us displayed the depth of his commitment to us.
Just as Jesus is committed to us because of his love for us, we are to be committed to our spouse because of our love for them. Our spouse should never have to question our commitment to them.
Jesus couldn’t give any more for us than his very life. He gave his best and he gave it all.
In a similar way, our love for our spouse is expressed as we give them our very best. As we said earlier, sometimes we can be self-centered. But the love we received from Jesus reminds us to lay aside our selfish desires and do what we can to sacrificially love our spouse.
Jesus’ love for us is expressed through his patience with us. We fail him, we disappoint him, and even in our good intentions we can get it wrong. But Jesus doesn’t reject us. He loves us regardless. When we choose to be patient with our spouse, we are bringing the love of Jesus into our marriage.
Jesus loved us by reconciling our relationship with God through his sacrifice on the cross. He made a broken relationship whole.
In any intimate relationship there will be times when we fall short of each other’s expectations, or even sin against each other in our actions or attitude. Our willingness to show grace, forgiveness, and be reconciled to our spouse is an expression of love, just as Jesus has loved us.
Our love for Jesus is personal, but it was never meant to be private. In much the same way, the love that we have for our spouse should be evident to those around us.
- The way that we speak to each other,
- The way that we speak about our spouse to those around us,
- The way in which we treat each other…
All of these are representations of our love for Jesus, and our love for our spouse. In a world where marriages are falling apart and spouses are unloved, your evident love for each other can point people to Jesus.
What can you do to take a next step with your spouse in each of these seven expressions of love? Be intentional this week and make the choice to love your spouse as Christ has loved you. As you do, you’ll be taking God-honoring steps to Build Your Marriage!