Marriage Builders: Practice Real Love
Most of us don’t know what love or the heart are all about. Heart, in biblical language, means the inner will where one’s desires and conflicts reside.
Our heart is what controls and rules us most of the time. Yet, as Christians, we are directed by God’s principles, His character, and the Holy Spirit’s leading, applying these to ourselves and relationships—especially with our spouses. Being led by the Word of God will enable us to be filled with the Spirit of God; as they go together. You cannot say the Holy Spirit fills you while you ignore God’s Word and hurt your spouse. It is not the heart that gives us hope, reason, purpose, meaning, and motivation; our Lord does that through His Word; the growth from this gift influences our mindsets and is evident in our attitudes, outlooks, and actions in all facets of life.
Our choices dictate the consequences, and we will either fill our lives with hope or despair, joy or discontent, gratitude or ingratitude, contentment or dissatisfaction–all dependent upon our willingness to lead our hearts right. A real Christian is willing to be controlled and filled by Christ and not by apprehension, selfishness, turmoil, damaged past, or uncertainty (Acts 2:4; 4:8, 31; 6:3; Rom. 8:9; 1 Cor. 12:13; Eph. 5:8-6:9, Col. 3:19-4:1). In addition, a spirit of gratitude promotes peace and secures a content heart whereas sin and turmoil become cancerous and adversely affect others around us (Psalm 32; 51; Col. 2:2, 3:15-17).
By the same token, most people (even most Christians) do not know what love really is. Love is more of an act of our will than it is a feeling. Love is a choice. Yes, it comes as a feeling, but feelings are fleeting. Do you know that love is not about what you want or desire?
True love seeks what the other person needs. Real love takes us beyond ourselves and to the other person. When you fully understand what love is and dedicate yourself to practice it, then you will have a thriving and content marriage. It may take time, but it will happen, because you are unfolding what God has for you and placing His principles in play. You have to be willing to not just guard your heart but to listen to it.
1 Corinthians 7:32-35, gives us a picture of the magnitude and value of relationships with love in action, both in preparing for marriage and within marriage. We need to see life as an adventure with no time to waste. The central focus, paying close attention to verse 35, is not being distracted by things that are false and misleading to us; rather, we are to focus on Christ and allow Him to provide us the motivation for leading our hearts to godly living. His precepts must reign in us so our attention is on the right track. If not, those myths and cares of the world—including the myths of love—will overtake us and bring us down into the world of bad decisions, leading to bad relationships and producing bad living.
Key marriage tip: Remember real love is a choice – you have to work at it.
Questions to challenge, inspire, and equip you to be better in your commitment, love and marriage:
- What cultivates your mindset and influences your attitudes, outlooks, and actions in life and in family?
- As Christ demonstrated, real love is sacrificial. So how can you show love to your spouse, even when they do not deserve it?
- How does your spiritual growth help you with real hope, reason, purpose, meaning, and motivation? How will this affect your marriage?