Love one another as I have loved you. By this shall all men know that you are my disciples if you have love one toward another. (John 13:34-35).
Love is the badge of Christianity. We are commanded to love one another as followers of Jesus. The love that we are commanded to show the world should also be shown in our interpersonal relationships including marriage.
No one can deny that the divorce rate is skyrocketing. Sadly, the divorce rate within the Christian community is high as well. I won’t quote precise numbers, because no one really knows. In my opinion a 1% divorce rate within the Christian community would be too high.
Love is not a feeling. Love is a decision based upon the will, not an emotion based upon physical attraction.
We as Christians claim to have a God who is all knowing and all powerful. We say that He lives in us by His Holy Spirit who has been sent to lead and to guide us. Some of us even go to Christian marriage counseling before we make the commitment to marry. We seem to have all the tools anyone would need in order to succeed but still the majority of marriages fail.
With all of this going for us, how can we possibly fail so miserably when it comes to sustaining our marital relationships? You would have to factor in many different variables to answer this question. However, I think the pillar on which those factors rest is the fact that many don’t understand the definition of the word “Love”.
Love is an act of the will, not a burst of emotions. In John 13:34-35, Jesus wasn’t talking about the eros (where we get our English word erotic) kind of love, but I believe the principle of being committed to love is clear regardless. Jesus commanded His followers to love one another. You don’t have to command someone to do something that comes naturally.
So many times we meet someone we find attractive. We date, we become engaged and we eventually marry. We make these decisions based upon emotional excitement. As the emotional high of the relationship begins to subside, we are tricked into thinking that the love we had for the person is subsiding as well.
At this point we may meet someone else who we find physically attractive. This new person may cause our emotions to rise. Thoughts may come of loving this one more than we loved the other one. So we divorce because we think we have fallen out of love with the old partner and fallen in love with the new partner and the cycle continues.
Love is Not a Feeling
Love is not a feeling. It’s a decision based upon the will. It’s not an emotion based upon physical attraction. Don’t get me wrong, physical attraction to your wife or husband is very important. However, physical attraction may subside over time. We cannot afford to base anything pertaining to God (in this case marriage) on emotions. Emotions change like the weather. Emotions cannot be trusted.
Love is a vow. Love is a commitment. Love is a powerful intertwining of two amazingly beautiful people for the purpose of giving glory to God. Marriage is taking on an addition, not suffering a loss. For the Christian, love in the marriage context is God, man, and woman becoming one.
If you’re reading this article and you feel that the love is gone from your marriage. If you’re not on the emotional high you once were on, I’d like to encourage you to renew your commitment to love. Make up your mind to love your partner like never before.
Base your quality of love on your commitment to God. Don’t allow what your spouse does or doesn’t do to factor into your committment. Emotions will follow the action of love, love does not follow the arousal of emotions.
Commit wholeheartedly to love. If you do, you’ll soon see a return of the emotions and the attraction you felt for your partner when you first met. The end result will be a relationship that glorifies God as He intended from the beginning.