Ephesians 5:25–26 “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word.”
A couple does not truly love each other until they have been married thirty years. A man once told me that. Is it true?
I have sat in my office with engaged couples who are giddy about the future. I have refereed older couples, jaded by years of miscommunications and broken expectations. I have taught classes on the meaning of marriage and on how to keep relationships vibrant. Few couples understand the meaning of love.
We are all caught up in the love we see on Valentine’s Day. Two students exchange cards, innocently blushing at the emotions received. A married couple plan a romantic evening away from the kids. The wife looks forward to the bouquet of roses to make up for sins of the past year. This love is based on emotion.
True love is based on a covenant. A man and a woman stand at an altar and vow to love each other until death steals one away. This vow is a covenant. It is a choice, not an emotional response.
This covenant is put to the test when each person reveals his pride, his selfishness, and his baggage. These three issues breed miscommunication. Miscommunication produces broken expectations. And these all remove the emotion of love and force the spouse to decide whether they will still choose to love, to fulfill the covenant in spite of their spouse’s actions.
As humans, we do not naturally make this choice. When faced with someone else’s brokenness, or our unfulfilled expectations, or our hurt emotions, we choose to retaliate instead of reconciling. We indulge in revenge instead of restoration.
When we struggle to choose to love, we have an example in Christ. He loved us, even though we are sinners choosing to live in a way that hurts Him. In fact, He loved us so much that He chose to die in order to pay our debt and to bring us into a covenant relationship with Him. He loves us in spite of our actions, and He covenants that nothing will change that love.
May our lives show the same consistent choice to die to ourselves and to love our spouse.
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Pastor of Calvary Bible Church, Neligh, NE. Missionary with RHMA. Husband to Maggie. Father to Grace, David, and Daniel. Saved by Jesus Christ