by Betty Jackson
What Is Love?
Do you believe “being in love” is more important in marriage than commitment?” Most married people in our culture have experienced “being in love,” that feeling of infatuation. However, the honeymoon doesn’t last forever—at least in a 24/7 way. In a good marriage, there is still the being in love, but in a different and steady way. Soon the misconception that you found the perfect man is gone. He knows you aren’t perfect either.
In John 3:16 we are told: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son...” The Greek word “love” in this passage is agapao. This type of love is not so much about feelings, but of commitment to the person of worth. How much are you and your husband worth? Both of you are priceless! If God loves your husband so much that he gave Jesus to die for him, then he is worth all the effort you can give to love him with that kind of love.
Agape-love is a deep and abiding commitment that considers the loved one worth saving. The most important role in marriage is helping our husbands. That was why we were created! (Genesis 2:18; 1 Corinthians 11:8). It is so easy to succumb to negative thinking: “But he doesn’t ... or he does thus and so all the time.” This series of lessons is not about husbands. It is to encourage us to grow stronger in the role God has assigned to us.
The primary helping task is spiritual (more about this in another lesson). The outstanding characteristics of the Proverbs 31 woman are her strength, dignity, and kindness (v. 25-26). A consideration of her daily tasks reveals she was bound to have moments of fatigue. Bone weariness can bring temptations to be negative and combative. These are times to be in tune with our bodies, and to have a spiritual mind over matter.
We must be the spiritual helpers we ought to be, in spite of our physical weaknesses. Improving our marriages takes deliberate and hard work. This short article cannot address all the ways to do that. However, we need to look at our schedules which get so out of control that our lives are in virtual chaos. One must address these kinds of things for the best spiritual good. There must be balance between tending to the necessary, and neglecting the spiritual.
Read 1 Corinthians 13 through two times this coming week.
Choose a couple of things from 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 to incorporate into your life this week. It might be good to choose the latter part of verse 5. In the American Standard Version, it reads: “Love ... taketh not account of evil.” In the New American Standard, it is translated: “does not take into account a wrong suffered.” I don’t think the ESV brings out the original, but perhaps it does help us to realize that keeping score of wrongs causes us to be resentful, producing an atmosphere that is detrimental to the spiritual environment of our homes.
Communication breaks down when we keep bringing up past hurts that should have been forgotten. Dealing with the problems is not about keeping an account of how many times we have been hurt or ignored.
Another consideration might be: “Love .... is not provoked.” When we make the decision to “agape-love,” we will overlook petty annoyances. Our level of irritation, exasperation will be less. There are right things to be annoyed about. Paul was upset at times with the ignorant behavior of his fellow Jews. But in the context of 1 Corinthians 13, we are talking about the characteristics Christians should possess.
Is it hard to have this kind of love? For sure. Yet, it can grow easier day by day, with practice. None of us grew up in perfect homes; we brought some baggage into our marriages. Some learned things must be unlearned. Becoming a Christian is a life of thankfulness and repentance, a life of changing and growing through committed effort to put on the new self (ESV, Ephesians 4:22-23).
Evaluate yourself. Note how your attitude of irritation affects your treatment of other members of your family.
Be thankful for the Lord’s help when you acted in a good and kind way (without a haughty attitude), in spite of anything that you perceive as irritating.
Heald, Cynthia. Loving Your Husband. 1989. Colorado Springs, CO. NavPress Publishing Group.
1 John 4:7-8(ESV)
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
Questions to Ponder
(Give Scripture references)
- Define “agape-love.”
- How do wives show true love in marriage?
- Why were women created?
- What are some things one learns in youth that should be “unlearned” for marriage?
- How does a Christian woman show she is penitent and thankful for the forgiveness of her sins?