When in the courting stages of a relationship, our feelings bubble over with giddiness and passion for the one we love. Those feelings bring a couple to the point of saying “I do!” Eventually, the giddiness may wane, only to be replaced by a deeper, substantive love required to carry a couple through the storms of life.
Love is much more than a feeling, contrary to what our world may tell us. We don’t always feel loving, especially when our spouse behaves in a manner despicable to our very soul. Should we then cast them aside, moving on to find a more perfect mate? (In case you didn’t know - there is no such thing.)
According to the Bible, love is a decision. A decision to serve another person’s interests.
Philippians 2:1-5 says, “If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.”
Did Jesus dump his disciples whenever they acted foolishly, or as in Peter’s case, openly denied Him? No! He continued to love them. I’m certain feelings of hurt, frustration, and betrayal surfaced often for Jesus, but He never acted on them. He continued in love.
God commands that we “Love the Lord your God with all your heart” (Mark 12:30). I believe that in order to be able to love others unconditionally, we have to know God’s unconditional love for us. We have to love Him with all our heart, not just when we feel like it. Only then will He equip us with the ability to love another ‘for better or for worse’.
Sure, there are secular couples who survive marriage without God. I believe they may share compatible personalities and have made a ‘decision’ to work it out; not realizing the inspiration may have come from God.
We have to make that decision long before the going gets tough. A decision that we will hang onto our marriage no matter what happens. (Again, hanging on through abusiveness that is life threatening is the exception.)
The beauty of “hanging in there” is in the blessings that wait on the other side. Yes, God allows the difficulties we face. I don’t believe He causes them, but He will permit the devil to wreak a little havoc in our lives if we aren’t walking with God.
Most of the time, that’s the only way God can get our attention. That’s the only time most of us will turn our lives over to Him, out of desperation, seeing no other way. God will take us however He can get us! If we have to fall into a cavernous pit and grovel at the end of our rope, so be it. That will force us to look up to Him, just where He wants us.
I urge you to turn your life over to God BEFORE you reach that miry pit experience. It’s pretty awful! Sometimes we have to go there to get rid of our SELF. (That’s why it’s called ‘dying to self’.)
God will bless you for hanging in there. He will bless your marriage when you allow Him to refine your marriage relationship, even when you have to go through the fire to do it. Don’t jump out of the fire before the refinement is complete. Don’t jump off the rollercoaster while the ride is still going. The end result brings you to the land of milk and honey, the Promised Land!