God created all human being with the need and desire to be loved.
There is not one person on this earth who does not have that need and no one is unlovable. And because God created us with this basic necessity, and because He is love, we do not feel whole unless we have this great need filled in our lives, especially by Him.
When we look around us, we see how love deprived the world is and how empty people are when the need for love is not met. We can also see the many ways people try to fill this void. Some turn to drugs and alcohol while others turn to food and even sex.
We are driven by the need to be loved. But nothing fills this hole in our heart like the love of God. When we come into an understanding of and accept His love, it brings a fulfillment matched by nothing else this world has to offer. Not only do we experience love but we feel whole and secure.
I say all this to talk about the love between a husband and wife.
Because it should look no different than the love relationship between us and God.
A marriage relationship between a man and woman is a direct image, or should be, of the relationship God desires to have with His church and because we are His church then it is safe to say it is the image of the relationship He desires to have with us.
When we desire to have true relationship with God we make every effort to cultivate one, yet many of us miss the mark with our marriages.
When we say we love someone, we should strive to do all that is necessary to build a sturdy foundation.
In our relationship with God, we go to church, we worship, we pray and we read and study His word; living our lives accordingly. We provide tireless service in ministry all for the sake of our commitment to Him. All of this draws us closer to God and at the end of the day after doing these things, we know we've made all possible effort to do our part in fueling a healthy relationship with Him.
We may not do this perfectly but we do it or else the relationship dies.
So when it comes to our marriages, what do we need to do to cultivate true love. There are so many books available on how to love our spouse and have great marriages and some of them are great reads and have Godly and biblical advice. But many of us will testify to the fact that even though we read these books and welcome the advice they give, most times we do not put what we read into practice. Sometimes we start out practicing the principles they offer but get discourage and give up when results are not swift in coming.
There is, however, one Book that has all the information we could ever need. It is the only book that exist that has the formula for every situation and every issue we face in life.
So how does the bible help us to love our spouse?
We simply follow the example of God's love for us and how we ought to love Him and we love our spouse accordingly. We love God and desire to honor him, therefore, we live in obedience to His word.
God loves us simply because He loves us. His love for us does not change, not even when we mess up. His love for us is not about feelings but instead is expressed in action.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16
We do not have to love God for him to love us and his love for us is not based on our performance. It is a flawless love that accepts us just as we are.
We are called to return this same love in our relationship with Him. As part of our commitment to Him, we are to lay down our life in selfless service. The same is also expected in our marriages. We are required to love our spouse sacrificially and whole heartedly.
A loved based not on what I can get from you but what I can give to you; not on what is deserved but on a desire to serve.
The love in many marriages is conditional in it's nature and is given according to how well one performs. That is a selfish and manipulating love. "I love you because of what I can get from you."
It is a love given to fill the giver's void and when not received back, affection is withheld. This produces instability in the relationship.
Due to our sinful nature, our tendency is to love selfishly. We need to learn to love unselfishly as it does not come naturally.
In this selfless love
We learn to put our spouse's needs before our own.
We forgive and extend grace.
We think in terms of "it is no longer me but us."
We accept each other's failures and weaknesses.
We give space for personal growth.
We learn to be patient and kind, encouraging each other.
We have open communication and hold no inappropriate secrets.
We set up boundaries to protect our marriage and our spouse from anything that would break down our relationship.
We pray together.
Marriages can be amazingly beautiful if we are willing to put in the time and effort necessary to cultivate loving each other unconditionally. One thing is certain, in loving God with mind, body and soul, it does become easier to love our spouse.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
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