Those four little letters so often describe the marriage relationship to many people. People get married because they fell in love, and they just as often get divorced because they fell out of love. Our culture today is saturated with the idea of love. Everywhere you turn there is talk about love! There are novels about love, movies about love, kids in school think they’re falling in love, single adults out there looking for love…and the list goes on and on. But that term “falling in love” has always seemed a little funny to me. It’s as if two people are walking along on the road of life and out of nowhere, there’s a ditch of love in the road and they simply can’t control it, they just fall in! Sounds crazy doesn’t it?! But I really think that many people are out there waiting for that ditch to appear in front of them.
I however have a bit of a different view on love. I don’t believe you fall into love anymore than I believe you can fall out of love. I believe that love is a choice every single time. I’ve heard it said that “you can’t control who you love” and to be completely honest with you, I think that’s just ridiculous! I think this phrase comes from the world having confused the meanings of the words “love” and “lust”. I believe that you can’t control who you are attracted to but you absolutely can control who you love.
One of the problems people have when it comes to love is the feeling of love. If that feeling isn’t there then they must not be in love anymore right? But the problem with that logic is that love is not just about a feeling. Yes, there are those gushy feelings that one associates with love and I’m all for that, but that is not the kind of love it takes to build and maintain a marriage. You don’t always love your spouse because you feel it, you love them because you decide to.
Love for your spouse is not something you always wake up with. I know that people often get married with the idea that they will always feel those lovey-dovey feelings for their spouse but that’s just not how it works. Every single day when you wake up you have two choices, you can choose to love your spouse or you can choose to not love them. It doesn’t matter what they do, the choice is entirely up to you.
Ephesians 5:25 says “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.” This verse makes it very clear that the kind of love that is needed in marriage is a very sacrificial love, one that causes you to give up all of yourself for your spouse. Too many times marriages have two people full of nothing but selfish love, a love that is all about them and what they want and that kind of selfish love can destroy a marriage.
Something you have to remember when thinking about love is that, love comes from God. 1 John 4:7-8 says “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” So as Christians, the love of God is in us and that love is to be shown to everyone we come in contact with. If we’re to show that love to everyone we meet, how much more are we to show it to our spouse?
The world has their own idea of what love is and how it should be shown but you have to understand that the love of God is in you and that love is so much greater than the love that is in the world!
Now I know it is not always easy to choose to love your spouse, and I admit, I have not always made that choice myself. But each day is a new day and comes with a fresh choice to make. Today, will you choose to love your spouse? Will you take on the sacrificial God kind of love? As I said, it’s not always easy but it is a choice that as Christians and followers of God we are to make.
If this is something you are struggling with, I challenge you to read 1 Corinthians 13, which is the love chapter of the bible. Try reading it in several different versions so you can get a full view of what it says. It’s very challenging and yet it’s something that each person is called to. Next week I’ll be talking about walking in love so be sure to check back in.