Many people, including Christians believe they are in love, but are misguided in their understanding of love. True love, the kind of love that keeps a couple together for a lifetime, is not a feeling, but an attitude. It says, with the help of God, I’m going to do everything I can to enhance the life of my spouse. While movies will lead us to believe that love is something we fall into – and then out of, it’s not. Love is much deeper than that.
On your wedding day, you made (or will make) a commitment to choose that person every day of your life. But too often, we get distracted. After years of being married, sometimes it’s affirming to go out somewhere and catch that attractive guy or girl’s eye and know you still got it. The problem with these moments of insecurity or whatever it may be is the door for temptation opens right up. In these moments, when you make eye-contact just a little longer than you should or you’re super aware of when that attractive man or woman is looking your way, in your mind you’re exploring the thought of life without your spouse and that’s not a good path to journey down. Whatever that stumbling block or temptation may be, one way to avoid them is to choose your spouse daily.
Choosing your spouse daily means waking up and making the decision to be committed to the person you’re with when the moments of insecurity show up. Choosing to admire, love and respect your spouse rather than look around to see if there’s someone better out there. It’s so important for married couples to set boundaries in their relationships and fight for their marriages like never before. Choosing your spouse daily means honoring them. Choosing that one special person every day is a mighty way to fiercely protect your marriage.
Choosing your spouse daily also means choosing to love the other person in moments where they least deserve it, and when we least feel like offering it. When we do this, it pleases God. We are most like Jesus when we extend grace, kindness and love to others, just as He does. While this is something that we often have no problem accepting, we are often challenged by our need to offer it to others. We may forget that while God covers us with endless forgiveness and grace. He offers the exact same things for those we are in relationships with.
Jesus spoke about two different foundations for a life. His statements are equally applicable to a couple building a home together. Jesus said, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell – and it was its fall” (Matthew 7:24-27). In these verses, Jesus was talking about the need to build your spiritual house on solid foundation and the way to support your life through increasing obedience to God and His Word. When you build your house on that Rock, you can withstand the cultural storms and the currents of your selfishness and shortcomings.
In order to this, we must know Jesus Christ personally and diligently follow in His steps, growing toward Christian maturity. Paul wrote, “…we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ” (Ephesians 4:14-15). Those who recognize the importance of Jesus in their relationship know that discipline is critical. There are certain spiritual actives that contribute to the training and growing of a disciple. These are basic exercises that will turn your weak faith strong.
One key foundation your marriage needs is prayer. Every good relationship survives or dies on communication. Prayer is the way we communicate with God. You need to pray as individuals and as a couple. A great exercise is for you and your partner to pray before you go to sleep at night. Remember, prayer has the power to transform your marriage. Another key foundation is Bible study. In the Word, we learn everything we need to know about God, His promises and what He wants from us – and we see Jesus – our Leader – in action and can learn better how to follow Him. These are disciplines that are important to develop as a couple as they are as individuals. As you seek God together as a couple, you will also draw closer to each other as you develop a deep, close spiritual intimacy.
In our married lives, we will be faced with the decision to love those aren’t loving towards us. In other seasons, we must choose to love in the midst of a hurt or offense. This requires strength and humility that we don’t possess on our own and also conflicts with the world’s wisdom. This includes choosing to forgive when it’s easier to shame the other person, asking for forgiveness, serving without expectations and listing when it’s easier to blame. But when we do this, we are building the ultimate foundation for our marriage and truly choosing to love our spouse the way God intended for us to. Remember, we love because He first loved us.