It doesn’t take much experience to discover that your mate will not always motivate your love. In fact, many times they will de-motivate it. More often than you’d like, it will seem difficult to find the inspiration to demonstrated your love. They may not even receive it when you try to express it. That’s simply the nature life, even in fairly healthy marriages.
But although moods and emotions can create all kinds of moving motivational targets, one is certain to stay in the same place, all the time. When God is your reason for loving, your ability to love is guaranteed.
That’s because love comes from Him.
Think of it like this. When you were a child, your parents certainly established rules for you to follow. Your bedtime was at a certain hour. Your room had to be kept mostly clean. Your schoolwork needed to be finished before you could go play. If you were like most people, you bent these rules as often as you obeyed them. And if not for the incentive of force and consequences, you might not have obeyed them at all.
But if you met Christ along the way or received any kind of Bible teaching, you probably were exposed to this idea – “Children, be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord” (Colossians 3:20). If you took this to heart at all, you knew you didn’t merely have your parents to answer anymore.
This was no longer a battle of wills between you and a flesh-and-blood authority figure. This was now between you and God. Your mom and dad were just the go-betweens.
As it turns out, however, the relationship between parents and children isn’t the only thing enhanced by letting God become your driving motivation. Consider the following areas where pleasing Him should become our goal:
Work. “Do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men” (Colossians 3:23).
Service. “Obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord” (Colossians 3:22).
Everything. “Work hard at “whatever you do … knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve” (Colossians 3:23-24).
Even marriage. “Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord” (Colossians 3:18). “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25).
The love that’s demanded from you in marriage is not dependent on your mate’s sweetness or suitability. The love between a husband and wife should have one chief objective: honoring the Lord with devotion and sincerity. The fact that it blesses our beloved in the process is simply a wonderful, additional benefit.
This change of focus and perspective is crucial for a Christian. Being able to wake up knowing that God is your source and supply – not just of your own needs but also those of your spouse – changes your whole reason for interacting with your mate.
No longer is it this imperfect person who decides how much love you’ll show, but rather it’s your omni-perfect God who can use even a flawed person like yourself to bestow loving favor on another.
Has your wife become fairly hard to live with lately? Is her slowness at getting over a disagreement wearing on your patience? Can she not just give it a rest? Don’t withhold your love just because she thinks differently from you. Love her “as to the Lord.”
Is your husband tuning you out, not saying much, apparently brooding over something he’s not interested in sharing? Do you feel hurt by his unwillingness to open up? Are you tired of him being so short with you, not even responding to the children the way he needs to? Don’t battle back with a double dose of silence and inattention. Love him anyway. “As to the Lord.”
Love motivated by mere duty cannot hold out for very long. And love that is only motivated by favorable conditions can never be assured of sufficient oxygen to keep it breathing. Only love that is lifted up as an offering to God – returned to Him in gratitude for all He’s done – is able to sustain itself when all other reasons have lost their ability to energize us.
Those who are fine with mediocre marriages can leave their love to chance and hope for the best. But if you are committed to giving your spouse the best love you possibly can, you need to shoot for love’s highest motivation. Love that has God as its primary focus is unlimited in the heights it can attain.
Before you see your spouse again today, pray for them by name and for their needs. Whether it comes easy for you or not, say “I love you,” then express love to them in some tangible way. Go to God in prayers again, thanking Him for giving you the privilege of loving this one special person – unconditionally, the way He loves both of you.
One of the passages in today's dare speaks about loving back when they are hard to love (my words) There have been many times when my hubby will get upset at me and will "go off." In the early years of my marriage I would strike back at him and say my peace, usually something snotty or cutting. But as I matured and our marriage matured I did less and less of fighting back.
For the most part if we have a disagreement or my hubby goes off on me I will not say much. I will busy myself around the house cleaning while avoiding him and the situation. Some may not agree with this approach but it works for me. It allows me to remove myself from the situation and not get caught up in the emotion of it. It allows me to have a conversation with my hubby in my head thus risking making the situation worse. (there is something therapeutic for me about having a conversation in my head with the person I am upset with or who has hurt me that allows me to work through the emotions. Some may think it is crazy but it works for me.) Once I have moved beyond that I find myself then talking to God.
Most times I just say.. "God, this is between you and him this has nothing to do with me." Or I will ask God to allow me to see through the emotion of the argument and seek out the real issue at hand. Am I not making my hubby feel hear, am I not making him feel honored or respected or he this simply his issue and it has nothing to do with me I am just the one he is taking it out on. Most times I can get a pretty clear answer about the argument and understand what it is really about. Other times I am lost and just have to give it to God.
As my hubby matures as well in our marriage I can see his behavior and the way he deals with me and the kids changing as well. I know he struggles with issues from his childhood that can sneak up out of no where and I know he struggles with the guilt of some of his decisions in our marriage and that anger at himself is directed at me. But through it all the best thing I have came to understand is that we are in this together.
No two people are going to have a fairytale marriage and no two people will go through life with heartache and disappointments. It is what you do with those lessons in your life that will determine your future. I do not give up and run. I do not seek to find fulfillment elsewhere. I will not leave unless there is no life left to fight for. I will continue to seek God's love in my marriage. I will continue to strive to give God my issues and I will continue to pray for peace in my marriage, heart and and the heart of my hubby. It is not just about the two of us and our needs... it is about our family and our eternal life, one I plan to live in harmony with my hubby.