The greatest of these is Love. Our culture offers us many definitions and examples of what love is. For example, you may have heard, “Love means never having to say you are sorry.” But love actually means the opposite – it means saying sorry when we have not acted in a loving way, and accompanying our words with a true behavior change.
The True Meaning of Love
The Bible is clear on its definitions of love. First, love is much more rooted in action and commitment than in feeling. On this point, it seems that our modern world has really missed the boat. Corinthians says that LOVE is bearing, believing, hoping and enduring all things, love never ends. Matthew says that what God joins together let no one separate. If you have been joined as husband and wife you have a mission together. Living together with purpose.
As two separate people, we can often struggle with the ways we love. To stay together means we must work on both our relationship and on ourselves. I have seen many men and women say things like… “I love him/her but I can’t live with him/her.” What happens next is we internalize and feel it is our fault for the breaking of relationship. We feel stuck and unable to change. In our failure we carry guilt and that produces an unhealthy shame. This shame drives us toward not wanting others to see the real us.
So, let me take a minute and encourage you to find the heart of Jesus in all of this. “Father forgive them for they don’t know what they do.” Most relationship issues need at least an agreed upon desire to seek reconciliation. If we have a desire to mend and make things right, that means that we still hold love in our hearts for our spouse.
One important note to make here – feeling and emotions are not the foundation for our relationships, but they do function like gas in the car. Without gas our car will not run, and without emotional power, you may know the right thing to do but feel unable to move ahead. The good news is that you can choose to stop at the gas station and fill up. You can also choose to be loving again and look for all the positives. Our thoughts and emotions drive us toward our actions. You can choose to be loving now, in this moment, let go of your desire to be right and instead focus on being caring and supportive. One step at a time will help you complete the journey to a caring loving relationship. The more you choose to act in caring ways the more you will care and the more likely it will be reciprocated.
Love in Action
So, if you want a marriage that is not only a joy to be in but also is God honoring let me suggest a few practical areas to work on.
- Explore what is good and what needs some work. Be specific.
- Strengthen your communication skills and be assertive and actively listen. (We can help you learn these skills.)
- Take active steps to resolve conflicts as they arise. Un-resolved conflict usually escalates and eventually destroys relationship.
- Take a careful look what drives you. Your family of origin, your past, your values. Hurts and wounds need a physician to help the healing process go quickly and to achieve good results.
- Take responsibility for your feelings, beliefs, thoughts, behaviors, and even your finances. Make plans and look carefully at each area. Make changes where you are failing.
- Today is a day to act. Give us a call so we can help save your marriage and get you back on track. We can help you clarify this as part of the work that needs to be done. Contact us here or call us at 206.219.0145.