THE TRUE LOVE CHALLENGE

Here I go again, talking about love and marriage more than I do about parenting.

I can’t help it, dear readers! Not when a lot of innocent children still suffer and miss moments to enjoy their childhood because their parents are trying so much to give them the best life opportunities but they themselves are just not getting along!

The moments of strife and grumpiness affect our children. The days of silent treatment do not go unnoticed by our children, and let’s not even talk about when the fighting gets physical.

All I have to say about maintaining love in marriage is from a very reliable source; the most authoritative and accurate reference material on the subject of love. The Bible. I hope it shall be a gentle reminder to you, parent, in the moment your love-life is tested.

1. You have to know God for you to know love.

I know many people who love their spouses so much but have no regard for God, and I am sure you also know so many.

What I ask them is, the moment that love is put to the test, who are they accountable to? Romance and erotic love cannot stand the test of time, no matter how much we perfect it.

When you are only accountable to a human being who is not omnipresent and is limited in the number of consequences they can have on you, it is easy to fail them. If you are accountable to God in how you handle your marriage, you are careful because you know you are answerable to Someone bigger than your spouse, Someone worthier and Someone more consequential.

Let’s read less books on how to love a difficult spouse and learn that love is not a feeling but a series of deliberate actions. Love does not come naturally – most of us think it does, but that is just the kind of love that fails when put under test and leaves us desperate and hurting. We cannot survive on exhibiting the traits of love without getting down to the source of love. (I have written about these traits here, as I am truly passionate about this subject)

Trying to sustain a marriage without the love of Christ, the love that God gives, is a very tiresome and draining act. God is the source of love. You cannot have God and not have love for your spouse.

2. Love has no reason for loving.

Could you give me three reasons why you love your spouse? Do not. That’s the most human way of looking at love, and the one which will definitely fail when the reasons fail.

Your marriage will only succeed if you go into every day of it with what God’s love entails.

The Bible says when we were STILL sinners, Christ died for us.

While your spouse is STILL a hot mess, can you love them? While he still is struggling to provide, will you love him or start acting up? While she still is unable to find a work-life balance, will you still love her or will you complain and ensure there is no more peace left for her to enjoy until she learns the balancing act?

3. Love does not abdicate loved ones from the consequences of their actions.

I have to say this right below the above point so that one shall not cover their spouse’s evil under the impression that they are in the kind of love which overlooks all. We cannot overlook any issues that can harm ourselves or harm others under the pretext of love.

God’s love is not a maudlin love, by any means. He Himself disciplines those whom He loves! But look here, the guiding principle in all this is MOTIVE. God disciplines us for our own good in order that we may share in His holiness.

But how and why do we “discipline” those we love?
Is it not because we want to prove a point? That we shall not be taken lightly? That we are so angry and its so dangerous for them to make us angry?

While we shall not just put up with anything, whatever actions you take against your spouse when disgruntled, could you honestly stand before God and say

“In this action, I had a right motive”

4. Love always protects.

We are the generation that vents through social-media.

In the spirit of venting and standing by our rights of expression, we have completely forgotten how to protect, to shield those we love. People have exposed their spouses’ weaknesses and mistakes while they had the option of concealing them from the public. And the venting has not helped the marriage much anyway.

Am I saying that you shall bear marital suffering in silence so as to protect your spouse?

Not at all! But when you speak about it, choose to speak to someone who knows both you and your spouse and is genuinely interested in the well being of your marriage. Choose a person who knows your spouse’s overall character and can judge the action you are venting about in the light of their general knowledge of your spouse

Express yourself, but protect their reputation. Do not allow people to tear your spouse down or convince you how hard a marriage you are having!

5. Love is slow to anger, and not vengeful.

How much does it take for your spouse to annoy you? A word? A look? A gesture?

If it is so easy for them to annoy you, you probably need to love them some more.

In his book, Love Life for Every Married Couple, Ed Wheat says,

“As a spark falls into the sea and does not harm the sea, harms do not harm the person who loves.”

I couldn’t say it better

Likewise, love does not cultivate negative memories of the past or harbour resentment for wrongs done. Love chooses to deliberately not think of a wrong any more after it has been forgiven. Love does not seek to prove any points.

6. Love is never enough!

If you think you have enough love and do not need any adjustments in this love-area, read the part of the Bible that says we must love and love more exceedingly. When you think you have perfected love, you probably have not even started loving.

If you find yourself falling short of love, remember the source is not to dim lights, make eye contact, cuddle …these are things that should come out of love, not things which bring about love.

Get to the source of love. Surround yourself with people who are loving instead of the hateful bitter ones. And remember the bible says that older women can teach younger women how to love their spouses and their children. Love can be learnt!

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