The epidemic we are seeing in our society and increasing around the world is the unwillingness to work at love. Life can be hard. Two sinful people in the most intimate of unions can experience a stretch and strain in their relationship as life hits from unexpected directions. Instead of enduring and growing through the challenges, couples choose to leave and start over.
We believe the best, ripest, and most fruitful love is the love that weathers the storms. Love that is hard work shows grace through each other’s failures and chooses to work at love because it is a commitment made to one’s spouse.
Here are three love areas described in the Bible that have direct application to our marriages:
Love like Jesus
Jesus himself said to his followers, “As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (John 13:34) To love like Jesus means being proactive and choosing to sacrifice to meet the deepest needs of another.
In the context of marriage, what would it look like for you to be proactive in showing love to your spouse? Put another way, what would they really enjoy—that is a sacrifice for you—that only you can provide? A foot rub? A back rub? Prolonged conversation? Going on errands together when you’d rather stay home? You get the idea.
The apostle Peter wrote, “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8) The idea in the original language for loving “deeply” means to love earnestly, or without ceasing.
Your love for your spouse should be like a heat-seeking missile, locked on target and focused on your mate. There should be no distraction, no wavering, no deterrent.
To love like this means to reject conflicting emotions and thoughts. To take each thought captive and commit one’s self to one’s spouse regardless of conflcting emotions or circumstances.
It is this kind of love that can forgive and not hold your spouse’s sins of the past against them. To love deeply is to choose to show grace and move forward in life together. It is choosing to keep short accounts.
The apostle John wrote: “…let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” (1 John 3:18) To put it in today’s vernacular, “talk is cheap.”
Your love for your spouse is to be lived out in the dailiness of life. A powerful key to expressing love to your spouse is to show love based on their “love language.” Author Gary Chapman has written a book about this that you can find here.
The five love languages Chapman uncovers are: Quality Time, Gifts, Acts of Service, Touch, and Words of Affirmation. If you don’t already know how your spouse likes to be loved—ask them which of these five resonates with their heart. Then respond accordingly!
How have you had to work hard on love in your marriage? Love IS hard work. And love is REWARDING work. So work hard on love—as you build your marriage!