31 Days to a Better Marriage – What is Love?

31 days to a better marriage

Committing to our marriage may seem scary – if we do not feel in love, anymore! You see a lifetime of drudgery stretching out in front of us, and you can’t bear it.

But the thing is, you may not ‘feel’ in love, but that doesn’t mean you will never feel that again. Feelings are so fickle! My feelings can change with the weather, what I ate, whether I had enough sleep, or what day of the month it is. How can I go by my feelings?? How can I trust something so slippery as that?

I can’t.

Problem is, once I get something in my head, then it wants to start spiraling out of control. You know how it goes.. ‘He didn’t install that new light fixture, he knew I wanted it fixed! It has been a week and I am still stumbling around in the dark because he didn’t fix it! …he must not really care about me. If he really cared, he would remember and fix it!

Isn’t that about how it goes? We go from annoyance at his forgetfulness to thinking he doesn’t ‘actually‘ care about us, in about 2 minutes flat! Then we start remembering alllll the other times in our marriage when he forgot something that was important to us, or that time he didn’t help, or the little habit he has that bugs us. We build up his bad habits or his weaknesses in our mind, until we can’t see his good points. Soon, we feel like we don’t even love each other and the whole thing was a mistake.

Is it really that bad?

I have heard that you should ‘remember why you married him’, but my problem with that, is that he was – in many ways – a different person back then. Yes, he is still the same kind, loving, Godly man, but we have both changed and grown over the years. My own method is to stop and ask myself if I am blowing this issue up.

“Does he really love me?”
Is he really trying to hurt me, or did he just forget?”
“Am I judging him by his actions, but myself by my intentions?”-Stephen Covey
“Is he being manipulative, or just an unobservant male?” (no offense, guys!)

By far, most of the time I am blowing the whole issue up. If I assume the best of his intentions, it takes away 90% of the problem. Often we still need a good discussion, to  get everything cleared up, but once I get my head on straight, the problem diminishes greatly.

So, love is not a feeling. Feelings come and go. What is it then?

What is the answer?

I think you know!

Love is action. Love is a choice. Love is even different from ‘like’. I can choose to love and care for someone who has hurt me, even if I do not like them. If your husband is treating you badly, being unkind or irresponsible – you may not particularly like him. But you can still love him. You can treat him kindly, gently, respectfully.

Setting aside the truly abusive husbands for a minute, lets talk about unChristlike men. They are many. I know that. I have watched and listened to them many times. Jokes about their wives, lazy, sloppy, undisciplined, self-serving, unspiritual. What do you do?

Humble yourself.

Let me suggest that you be the example of Christ to your family. Not in a patronizing, proud manner, but in humility and kindness. Choose to love him – choose to act in love, even when you don’t feel like it. Don’t feel condemned because you don’t ‘feel’ love. Continue acting in love, day after day being Jesus to your husband. He may change – he may not. But God will reward you for your acts of love to your family.

“Love is always bestowed as a gift—freely, willingly and without expectation. We don’t love to be loved; we love to love.” -Leo Buscaglia

Maybe your husband is a good husband, but you just don’t feel the love anymore. No spark. No warm fuzzy feelings. No little heart-leap when he walks through the door. 

We have been married for nearly 17 years, and I still get the warm fuzzies! 😀 Yes, I do. Seeing him walk in the door is the best part of my day! (unless He is home for an early lunch and I haven’t started anything yet! LOL! Then I just feel foolish) Point is, if you are feeling like roommates instead of lovers, you need to change something. Maybe, just maybe, you can revive the romance. (more about that on days 18-19!)

What love is: 

Selfless. John 15:13
Focus on what he needs, instead of what you need. It is a circle, but someone has to start. Why not you?

It edifies. 1 Corinthians 8:1
Don’t tear him down with “You always forget!“, etc. Build him up. “Thank you for never yelling at me.”

Undeserved. Romans 5:8
No, he doesn’t deserve your love,  but then, you don’t deserve his. We are so quick to say that we deserve hell for our sins, but then we demand so much from our husband. You deserve nothing. Stop requiring it.

Shows preference. Romans 12:10
Do you show preference to your husband? Or do you want him to give you preference??

The mark of a true disciple of Jesus. John 13:35
If you are a true disciple of Jesus, you will show love to your husband. 

Treating someone as you treat yourself. Mark 12:31
Self-explanatory.

A debt we owe to each other. Romans 13:8
Did you know that you OWE love to your husband?

Serves the other person. Galatians 5:13
Ouch.

Considerate of others’ weaknesses. Romans 14:15
Oh, how we want our husbands to be considerate to us at that time of month! Or when we are tired. Or have a headache. Or getting up at night with a newborn. Blah blah blah. Let’s turn it around!

 

Tolerates each other’s personalities. Ephesians 4:2
Wow. I so often want to turn my husband into a touchy-feely girlfriend! Ugh! No way. Let him have a polar opposite personality! 😀

I’ll give you an example: I am a social media nut. I love it! I comment, share, and like stuff alll the time. And my husband? Well, he is the same online as he is offline… no comment. Seriously, no comment! No likes, no shares, no updating his profile, nuthin. It used to bug me. “Sweetheart, don’t you like my amazing stuff?” ( I mean, I didn’t actually use those words, but still…) Finally I saw that it wasn’t personal, it was just him. So now I just ask him if he saw such-and-such, and whether he likes it. Easy. He can tell me if he liked it or if I was being a jerk, and I can blush and say thank you. Because of course HIS opinion of me means more than everyone else’s put together. 😉

Ministers to the saints. Hebrews 6:10
Is your husband a saved, born-again believer? Then he is a saint, and you need to minister to him. He is a weak, failing saint, you say? So? Still a saint – still needs you to minister to him.

The perfect bond of unity. Colossians 3:14
Oh, this! This is the goal. To be bound together in perfect unity! I want to cry it from the housetops: “Humble yourself, get on your knees, get help – what ever it takes to be unified as a Christian couple!!” There is truly nothing as satisfying and holy, as two sinners who fall on the grace of God to redeem their stories and bring them together in Christ. Two people with different personalities, different ideas, different baggage – both giving up themselves and serving each other, loving each other.
This may take time. In fact, I can almost guarantee it will take time! But it is worth it! Godly marriage is worth every effort, every sacrifice, every dying to self.

Love is…
Patient,

Kind
Not jealous
Not arrogant
Does not brag
Does not act unbecomingly
Rejoices in truth
Does not take into account a wrong suffered
Bears all things
Believes all things
Hopes all things
Endures all things
Never fails.   1 Corinthians 13:4-8

 

Today’s challenge is two-part:
1.Tell your husband something you love about him, and
2. Start a list of things you like about him.
It can be private or public, but write them down. I think I will put my list on the fridge, so everyone can see how many wonderful qualities he has!

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