“To love…until death us do part.” Almost every married person has said some variation of these words at their ceremony. If we truly lived out the Christian definition of love the divorce rate among Christians would be 0% instead of nearly 50%.
But each person has their own personal definition of what “love” means when they utter those words. For some, it’s:
- “As long as I feel close to you and we have reconcilable differences” then I love you.
- Or, “As long as the romance endures and the money and health last….”
- “As long as you continue to pursue me like you did when we were dating….”
- “As long as you serve me and do things my way….”
The majority of the New Testament was written in the Greek language. In Greek, there are four different words for love—each carrying a different meaning. The foundational fruit (evidence/characteristic) of the Holy Spirit in the life of a Christian is a love (Gk. agape) which is a willing, self-sacrificing of one’s self for the well-being of another. The ultimate example, of course, is Jesus’ love for us as demonstrated by his sacrifice on the cross.
So right now, pause and ask God to show you, on a scale of 1-100 how you are doing at expressing this kind of love to your spouse. We are challenging every couple reading this to pray this prayer daily:
“God, through your Spirit help me to love my spouse the way Jesus loved me. Willingly, sacrificially, seeking what is best for them.”
Prayers like that are in accordance with His will for your marriage and you CAN do ALL THINGS through Christ who gives you strength (Philippians 4:13).
Every time we desire to be selfish is an opportunity to express agape (self-sacrificing) love. Even if we don’t feel loving, ACT loving. Over time feelings follow actions. We aren’t lacking integrity by acting obediently to the Bible even if we don’t feel like it. We are actually showing integrity by acting as a Christ-follower should act toward their spouse.
As you choose to let the Holy Spirit empower and guide you toward love there will be a variety of opportunities to express it:
- Forgiveness for a wrong done to you
- Blessing your in-laws with attention and care
- Providing a foot rub when you dislike touching feet but your spouse enjoys it
- Doing chores or projects your spouse doesn’t like
- Blended family? Consistently showing your spouse’s children Jesus’ love and acceptance.
- Being intentional in romantic gestures (not sexual)
Make the choice to yield your spirit and your will to God’s Spirit and God’s will. As you do, you will reflect Jesus to your spouse, strengthen your relationship, and be taking intentional Spirit-filled steps to Build Your Marriage!