True Love is Patient and Kind
Marriage - In the Beginning
As two independent people enter into a marriage relationship the chances of making it 'til death do us part' are scarce. Most couples enter into the sacred bonds of marriage with the best of intentions and an attitude of commitment and loyalty.
Naturally during the dating years, with star lit eyes, their love is patient and kindtoward each other. They have been on their best behavior and see only the strengths of their beloved.
Standing at the alter the two promise their unconditional love for one another. Their inexperienced expectation is to keep their vows and they eagerly anticipate a lifetime of love together through good times and bad. Only experience can show them just how bad the bad can get.
Star filled eyes, trusting hearts, hands eager to bless, such is the status for many an idealistic newlywed. Will those vows remain unbroken or will they crash into pieces just as Humpty Dumpty ... who so trustingly and vulnerably sat on the wall ... and had that great fall?
It's All About Me
Gary Smalley is gifted at helping couples with their relationships. This book is geared toward the man. Men, do you ever wonder what in the world goes on in your wife's head? What is it she needs? Let Gary Help you understand.
Self Centered and Self Serving
Most newlyweds are naïve about the dangers lurking behind those vows they commit to on their wedding day.
These dangers will rear their ugly heads and threaten the innocence of their love. Some of the dangers include, the cop out of complacency, sabotage of selfishness, torrid of temptations and pursuit of adventures and ventures apart from your loved one.
Newlyweds do not yet fully grasp the fact that a marriage must be nurtured or it will fizzle out and die. If it is neglected the joy and the life giving love of your union will literally drain from the foundation.
We all have a choice. We may not be able to control our spouse but we can choose to love as God loves us. We have a choice to encourage and invest in our spouse or to drain and take from him. Love is the answer. Not the kind of love we hear about in love songs but the kind of love God wrote about in His word. Far too many give up before learning how to love.
Human nature and our culture are very self centered and self serving. We want to be happy, we think we deserve to be served, entertained and have someone meet our deepest needs. This expectation is unrealistic because no one person can do that. Doesn't it make sense to kick self to the curb before entering into the bonds of marriage?
It is the 'You first' mentality that brings a couple close. I know, not popular today, but let me ask you a question ... How do you think the 'Me First' mentality is working?
Wisdom will keep God in the center of a relationship. God can do what no man on earth can do. He not only see's into our heart but has the power to change it. As we commit our relationship, actions and thinking to God we can count on HIm to lead us and prompt us to love, cherish and bless our loved one.
The Power of a Praying Wife
There is power in prayer. As a wife prays for her husband it keeps her focused on God's will for him. Stormie shares powerful prayers for all areas concerning your husband's life.
God Makes the Difference
In my experience, of forty years of marriage, God makes all the difference between an attitude of surviving versus a position of thriving.
If you tend to be idealistic don't think that means God magically makes your marriage thrive when you include Him. No, thriving takes work and practice. There will be feelings that come and go. There will be storms and trials that will threaten to rip you apart.
Marriage is not easy. Sacrifice and putting another first is required. If a spouse looks to God for guidance and learns to love as He loved us that holy and celestial love naturally spills, over and onto the other.
If you are married to a self-centered, clueless spouse, do not think you are off the hook. We are still called, by God, to love and respect our spouse. Loving that spouse does not mean your emotional fulfillment is to be found in him. We love because God first loved us, and we love with humility as a calling of obedience to God.
Before we continue, I want to make clear that I do believe there are exceptions. You do not have to be a doormat to anyone or be used for another's outlet for self-centered abuse or anger. God did not make you be the instrument of another person's abuse.
As you read God's description of true love, think of how this kind of love could transform you and complete you.
When God's true love is firmly planted, and a part of who you are, it shines out through your eyes, softens your words and shows up in your actions. Do not think your spouse (who may seem indifferent) does not see it. God, in most cases, will use the love within you to break the hard cast shell (seemingly impenetrable) around his heart. Your spouse cannot miss the fact that he is the blessed recipient of undeserved and unselfish love.
Does this mean we must be perfect? No way, not even close. We are all human and slip into our own selfish, hedonistic ways. Apart from God's grace and His work in our hearts we hurt each other and allow selfishness to infiltrate us. BUT, beloved ones, when God is first in our lives our hearts will continually go back to HIM and then in humility we go back to each other. When we run to God, we acknowledge His truth and His power to forgive and equip us to love. This true love is the glue that binds a couple to one another.
What is Love?
Here is what God's true love looks like; It is found in the Bible. In I Cor. 13:4-8a the definition of Love is also known as 'The Fruits of the Spirit' Author, Father God.
- Love is patient,
- love is kind.
- It does not envy,
- it does not boast,
- it is not proud.
- It does not dishonor others,
- it is not self-seeking,
- it is not easily angered,
- it keeps no record of wrongs.
- Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
- It always protects,
- always trusts,
- always hopes,
- always perseveres.
- Love never fails.
Love Is Not
Love is not a feeling and it is not defined by needs desires. The message coming out of Hollywood, plastered on billboards, displayed through romance novels etc.tells us that love:
- is beautiful
- is a feeling
- is being showered in presents
- means I am being catered to
- is getting my needs met
- takes my breath away
- is a fairy tale existence
- means all my needs met
- will complete us
Basically the false message proclaims, find love and all of your desires will be satisfied. These imposters of true love are all about 'me' and what 'you' can do for me. This false chasing after happiness is a sham. It is nothing less than self centered gratification.
If you have lived long enough then you have witnessed many broken relationships that were based on a fairy tale myth about love. As a one-sided relationship unfolds the one doing the giving, giving, giving will eventually recognize he/she is being taken advantage of and soon afterwards the protective walls of commitment come tumbling down.
So, how does one turn from selfishness to authentic love? First of all you need to understand that feelings have nothing to do with true love. Feelings can swing from tenderness to hostility at any given moment. They are JUST feelings and nothing more.
As you read God's definition of love did you find the word 'feelings' listed anywhere. Why? Because feelings come and go. Feelings are up and down. What would happen to us if we followed our feelings in all areas of our lives?
Imagine waking up in the morning and thinking I don't feel like getting up for work. Do you listen to your feelings when the alarm goes off? NO! You tell your feelings what you are going to do.
The same is true with love .. it is a choice. Don't feel like being loving? Tell your feelings that they will follow your commitment to love. Love because your spouse needs your love ... love because it will build your marriage ... love because it makes you a better person.
Love is about commitment and choosing to practice acts of love. It is to give of yourself with the purpose of investing in the betterment of the one you love. When you choose to love it returns to you many times over.
If your husband is self-centered or miserable, you don't have to be miserable in your marriage. You have a choice. We all have a choice and are not victims of our circumstances. Drop the expectations and choose to build a strong relationship with God. As you love with a Corinthians kind of love it will endure and weather the storms of life. Can you imagine if both husband and wife practiced love according to God?
Protect your marriage by putting God first and putting God's love into practice. Pray for your partner and practice the 'fruits of the Spirit' in your communication with and actions towards him/her.
Marriages that face Ruin
After writing this hub, I feel it necessary to acknowledge that there are people in marriages who are suffering. Good people who have loved and given sacrificially to their beloved.
You took your vows very seriously but your spouse has betrayed his vow to you. Understand that we can only control our own actions and reactions. If love is one-sided or if a departure of love has led to infidelity or abuse .. with an unrepentant heart .. then it cannot be blessed for God is no longer in it.
After you have done all you know and have prayed and acted out God's definition of love - your spouse still has the choice to self-indulge and/or dishonor you.
If you are God's child, He will never leave you or forsake you. He will be your constant when your world goes wrong. I pray for you my friend that our God will bind up all your wounds and grant you peace in knowing you are His and He is yours. Even in the best of marriages God still brings each child of His to understand that it is He and Him alone who can fill all of our needs.
Chris Medina was a contestant on American Idol in 2011. His story of true love touched the heart of America. Chris's fiancée was in an automobile accident and suffered serious brain damage. Grab a Kleenex as you listen to Chris' story and song of true commitment and love.
What are Words if you really don't mean them?
What Are Words - True Love Story & song by Chris Medina
Lord, teach us to love each other as you have loved us. While we were yet in sin wrapped up in ourselves You gave your very life so that we could live - abundantly now and eternally in Heaven.
Give us the strength to love like that. Bless our marriages and keep us close to your heart I pray. Prompt us and discipline us when we get engrossed in our own self-centered ways. May we, as a couple, be a light and a hope in a very dark world a light that shines brightly and exclaims .. LOVE still Lives.