Don’t Just Be There, Be Their…

Don’t just be there to provide, be their provider.

Don’t just be there to walk, be their hand-holder.

Don’t just be there to talk, be their love language.

Don’t just be there to watch, be theirs to touch.

Don’t just be there for pictures, be their memories.

Don’t just be there to listen, be their shoulder to cry on.

Don’t just be there for dates, be their best friend.

Don’t just be there for dinner, be their dessert.

Don’t just be there in the flesh, be theirs to undress.

Don’t just be there as a friend, be their lover.

In good times and bad, for richer or poorer,

Marriage isn’t about being there, it’s about being theirs.

 

Linking with: To Love Honor and Vacuum, Messy Marriage, Women Living Well

Marriage Challenge: Maximize Efforts

Simplify.

Relax.

Rest.

If your schedule looks anything like ours these days, you understand the idealism of these words.  While we have learned to include margin in our lives, there are always times when life gets busy.  Finding time to connect during those times is incredibly important to our marriage. We believe it’s important to yours too!

Today’s marriage challenge is to consider what matters most to your spouse. Marriage requires effort and if you are going to make an effort to keep your marriage strong, make sure you are putting effort into the areas that matter most to your spouse.   It’s possible to pursue a deeper friendship, companionship and love in the midst of living life, but it requires intention.  Here are a few suggestions on how to use your efforts to most benefit your spouse.

1. Learn to speak your spouse’s love language.  If you have read many marriage books, blogs or attended a marriage class/seminar you are probably aware of what these are.  If not, do yourself a favor and do a google search for 5 love languages.  It is incredibly important that the efforts and things we do for our spouse are being received.  Effort applied in the love language that means very little to our spouse will leave us exhausted and them unfulfilled.  If this is new to you, it can change your marriage.  If this is very familiar information, are you doing it? Consider this a reminder to continue to meet your spouses love language needs with creativity and selflessness.

2. Connect throughout the day in a way that is meaningful to your spouse.  Scott of Journey to Surrender has a great set of printables that may be found here.  For the purpose of this post you will want to look at the printable for Her/His Love Me All Day List. Encourage your spouse to make a list of how you can show them love throughout the day (morning, day, evening, bedtime). This list can truly give you great returns for your efforts. This practical list can help foster an attitude of service and generosity in your marriage.  It can help identify areas of opportunity that may otherwise be overlooked and it can help eradicate the stress of spending time doing what our spouse deems unimportant. We had so much fun filling this sheet out and gaining even better understanding of what each of us find particularly and practically fulfilling at different points in our day.

3. Narrow your focus and expectations.  Many husbands and wives have incredibly long lists of what they believe a “good husband” or “good wife” should do/be.  Those list of expectations are often founded on perfection rather than possibility. Lay down those expectations and start communicating with your spouse.  We want to encourage you that it is possible to be a good husband and a good wife to your spouse.  Ask your spouse for input into 3 areas they would like to see you develop or improve in as a spouse.  What matters to them may not matter to you at first, but over time develop in yourself those characteristics and actions that really matter to them.  We are not suggesting that anyone should be forced to change who they are, nor should these desires be held over our heads as a condition of love. But it is possible to graciously receive feedback from our spouse and apply effort to working on certain areas of our lives. Here is the way one wife explained how she became a three things wife.

So for today’s Marriage Challenge: Consider how you can maximize the efforts in your marriage by fulfilling and meeting the more specific desires and needs of your spouse.

I Love You Because…

Last year I (Megan) made it my goal to appreciate and love Justin with my words. Words of affirmation are his highest love language and I wanted to speak it better.  Being that flattery, flowery words, weekly love letters and poetry are not really my thing I looked for a practical way to fill his love tank. Enter: free printable + photo frame + dry erase marker.

DSCF7269For the past several months I have been writing out reasons I love my man and he loves it!  Of course there are times when I forget to change it for a week and there was a time this summer that I didn’t keep up with it for a month+, but in general it has been a great way to appreciate him and love him in a way that is meaningful to him.

Being that I am definitely a Happy Wife, I am joining the Happy Wives Club today by sharing 10 reasons I love my husband.

Justin, I Love You Because…

1. You are a faithful follower of Your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

2. You provide for our family, emotionally, spiritually and financially.

3. You serve me on a daily basis.

4. You are thoughtful to spend time talking with me each day.

5. You never fail to follow through when I ask you to do something for me.

6. You are a confident and generous lover. (Come on, it is a sex blog people!)

7. You take good care of yourself.

8. You never complain about my culinary skills and new recipes.

9. You know how to leave work at work and make time for me and our kids.

10. I love you because you are you!

I find that as a wife it’s easy to come up with way more than 10 reasons I love my husband.  I love him so much more now than the day we got married.  But in the midst of all the reasons I love my husband I want NEED him to know that I Love HIM. There are so many reasons I’ve listed and so many not written, but what if those things all changed? If my husband encountered an accident that changed our sex life, would I love him any less?  If He went through a crisis of faith or we came upon financial hardship would my love for him dissolve?  Many marriage encounter these exact things. Changes and experiences that rock their love for one another. It’s at times like this that I pray we will all learn to love on a supernatural level, beyond and despite all the reasons we could list.  I will never love perfectly.  But I know My God does! When I trust Him to love my husband in ways I cannot and when I trust that He will teach me to love my husband the best I can, I can rest knowing that my husband is indeed well loved.

If you know little of what unconditional love is like or you need a good reminder, I would encourage you to listen to the words of this song.  You are loved.

Become a Believing Spouse:

“You are beautiful.”

Those are not words I (Megan) heard much, if at all growing up.  So, when Justin and I started dating, got engaged and then married, those words were very difficult for me to hear.  What’s more than that, they were hard for me to believe.  At the time I was not the least bit secure in the area of physical attractiveness and although Justin had never once led me to believe he was lying, a residual doubt rose up in me.  “Does he really believe I am beautiful or is he just saying that because he is supposed to?”

“I am proud of you.”

Just as Megan struggled with doubt in believing my (Justin) words about her beauty, I struggled immensely with verbal affirmations of pride, respect and admiration.  I never heard those words growing up and I have the insecurities to prove it.

Doubt.  Distrust.  Insecurities.  These can all be symptoms of a much larger problem of disbelief in marriage.  So often we talk to couples who just can’t bring themselves to believe their spouses when they compliment and say nice things about them.  Marriage is a two way street of both giving and receiving.  When heartfelt words are expressed but cannot be received, a divide is created in the trust and intimacy necessary for a strong marriage.

To be sure, we all have insecurities.  We are all flawed and broken human beings.  It’s just that marriage, unlike any other relationship in the world, reveals those insecurities to the highest degree.  It’s impossible to live authentically and vulnerably in marriage if we don’t believe and trust the person we married.  That includes the words they speak about us as well as the words they speak to us.  When we are sensitive, guarded or closed about the kind words and affirmations our spouse gives us, we miss out on the ability our spouse has to reprogram our thoughts and change our negative self-doubt.

As with most (OK, all) things in marriage, we need to recognize the problem and commit to do something about it.  Yes, that means we need to work at it.  Sometimes, we would like to think life doesn’t require us to work to overcome obstacles, but that simply isn’t the case.  There is no easy way to become a believing spouse without working on it.  Here are a few suggestions on how to begin trusting your spouse and learning to believe them.

1. Learn to Release Your Insecurities.

Undoubtedly, this is an incredibly hard task.  For some, insecurities run so deep that there are barely moments, let alone days that go by without one or more insecurities being revealed.  But to begin living in your marriage in an authentic way, you must discover ways to release these insecurities.

This means that whether you have insecurities about your beauty, your behavior, or anything else, you need to discover  the root of where they come from.  Are you afraid to believe you’re beautiful?  If it’s not fear, is your definition of ‘beauty’ incorrect?  Like us, do your insecurities simply come from the fact that you never heard the words before?  Taking the opportunity to discover where your insecurities come from will help you to release them.  Once you understand that your insecurities come from a not-so-good place in your life, you can learn to rest in the goodness your spouse so willingly, and desiringly longs to provide.

2. Learn to Trust.

When your spouse offers a compliment, is there a reason you don’t believe them?  To be honest, the most likely reason you don’t believe them is because you’re insecure in your own insecurities.  Wow, that’s a tough pill to swallow, now isn’t it?

So, think about this just for a moment: Is your spouse saying something wonderful about you in order to get what they want, or are they saying something because they believe it’s true.  Assuming it’s the latter, then take opportunities to not simply think about the words they’re saying, but think about their heart attitude.  Chances are that they love you, and they love you so deeply they want to express it in the best way they know how.  If you’re unwilling to accept their compliments, it’s your heart that’s in the wrong, not theirs.  So, listen to their heart and their words.  Trusting them is one more way to let those insecurities be released.

3. Learn to Love.

Accepting positive words from your spouse is one way you can be loving toward them.  Think about it, when you don’t believe your spouse you’re completely robbing them of an opportunity to love and serve you.  By robbing them of this opportunity, you’re being unloving toward him or her.  Instead, learn to accept what they say and believe about you at face value.  It may take a while before their words completely sink in, but as you allow their thoughts and actions to permeate your being, you will not only be receiving their love, but you’ll be more loving toward them at the same time.

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What kind of insecurities has your spouse helped you overcome?  If you’re willing to share, what step(s) did you take to overcome them?  Feel free to let us know in the comments below.

Linking with: Women Living Well, To Love Honor and Vacuum, We are that Family

5 Words Every Marriage Needs:

Marriages may fail, or at the very least atrophy from the over-use of negative words.  Phrases such as, “Well it’s not my fault…” or, “Do you know what your problem is?” certainly do not advocate a healthy marriage relationship.  Likewise, some negative words may be cast in a subtle way, leaving the listener to interpret them negatively.  Phrases such as, “Our house is far too cluttered for company,” may be translated as, “What have you been doing all day?”  These kinds of comments can build up over time, and piece by piece, comment by comment, they suck the life out of the marriage.  These statements are almost always individualistic in nature.  They are self-centered, not marriage centered.

In order to avoid this, there are some positive phrases every person in every relationship needs to say on a regular basis.  These words ensure that each partner sees the marriage relationship as far more important than their own pride and ego.  Five of these statements are as follows:

1. I am sorry.

Each an every one of us is going to mess up in our marriage.  None of us have life all figured out.  So, it stands to reason that the person we share our lives with most intimately will be the person who sees all the inconsistencies and fallibility in our lives. The ability to say, “I’m sorry,” shows humility. Humility is an important part of marriage because it recognizes that we have made and will make mistakes and that we care enough to recognize that our spouse can be hurt by us.  It is often easier to recognize our spouse’s need to say they are sorry, to recognize that they have inconsistencies and selfish ways.  That is the reason “I’m sorry” must be part of a good marriage.  When we recognize there is nothing we can do to control how the other person acts, thinks or views us we come to realize that we are only responsible for ourselves.  It is only our own inadequacies, failures and selfishness that we can change.  We must be willing to be humble and say we are sorry for the problems we bring to the equation.

2. I forgive you.

In marriage (as with all relationships) we must learn to forgive.  We must learn to forgive for a very fundamental reason: we so desperately need forgiveness ourselves.  There are times where we are wronged by our spouse and there are times when our spouse is wronged by us.  Withholding forgiveness locks our marriage in a prison and holds our spouse at arms length.  There is no satisfaction on either side in the absence of forgiveness, just an angry mess. Learning to forgive all offenses, whether small or large, is important to a healthy marriage.  It releases a divine power to love within the relationship and true oneness can only occur when no offense is being held.  Forgiveness is not so much a feeling as it is a choice.  Make the choice to forgive and allow the emotional side of things follow.

3. I need you.

Every human has a deep longing to understand their purpose. While marriage cannot answer that question for every individual (as that is a much deeper spiritual search) marriage is certainly part of how an individual’s purpose is to be lived out.  Admitting out loud that you need your spouse is humbling yourself before them.  It’s confessing that they bring something to the relationship that you cannot provide.  It’s owning up to the fact that you’re not as great as you think you are.  Not only that, but admitting to your spouse that you need them makes them feel appreciated in countless ways as well.  To be needed often means to be appreciated.

4. I appreciate you.

Most days are filled with the same mundane and routine tasks.  We get up, work, eat, relax, go to bed. Then the next day we do the same thing. In the moments of doing the ordinary things in life, if our spouse speaks appreciation for them, it serves to give our attitude a boost.  Laundry, dishes, mowing the lawn and taking out the garbage are tasks that can be seen as drudgery. However, when those tasks are noticed and appreciated, there is a sense of value and worth instilled. Taking time to appreciate not just the out of the ordinary but also the normal and extremely ordinary tasks our spouse does is highly beneficial to our marriages.

5. I love you.

This one may go without saying, but truly, “I love you” are words that need to inhabit the walls of our homes.  Not just the sound of them rolling off our tongues but also the actions, respect and follow through of what they mean.  Love is not given because it is deserved or earned.  Much like forgiveness, love is a choice.  Love is not attached to a certain or specific reason, it is given to the whole being. Love is a gift, and frankly at times it is one that we don’t feel much like giving.  But love is a virtue in which we must follow through.  Not only saying, “I love you,” but being loving, and always believing in it’s unending power.

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Have any of these words made a difference in your marriage?  What would you add to the list?

Linking with: Women Living Well and To Love Honor and Vacuum

Understanding Love: Ahava

“Love” is one of those words that gets thrown around a lot in our culture.  Marriages crumble each and every day because one (or both) individuals in the marriage forget what it truly means to love another person.  Therefore, we wanted to write a series based on the subject of love, and focus specifically on what it means to love another person – especially a spouse.  We first wrote out definitions of “love” from dictionaries of different time periods and focused on 1 Corinthians 13.  We then wrote about an Old Testament period Hebrew term used for “love” or “compassion”.  Today, we look at another ancient Hebrew term for love – ahava.

The Hebrew termʾahăbâ (pronounced “ahava” in every piece of literature we’ve read) is rooted in another term ʾāhēb.  The term is used is various parts of the Old Testament, but we would like to focus on specific uses in the Song of Songs.

Songs 2:4 – He brought me to the banquet hall,
and he looked on me with love.

Songs 3:5 – Young women of Jerusalem, I charge you
by the gazelles and the wild does of the field:
do not stir up or awaken love
until the appropriate time.

Songs 8:6 – Set me as a seal on your heart,
as a seal on your arm.
For love is as strong as death;
ardent love is as unrelenting as Sheol.
Love’s flames are fiery flames —
the fiercest of all.

Ahava is “strong affection” for another, and as you can see above, the author of Song of Songs states that this type of affection is quite strong.  While some scholars reference ahava as being potentially sexual in nature, there’s a separate hebrew word for that we’ll cover later. *wink wink*

Song of Songs 8:6 gives a good understanding of this type of love within a marriage.  The author indicates that “ahava” is as strong as death.  Love, as seen here, is perceived to be eternal.  When used accordingly in the marriage relationship, there is a devotion toward one another that cannot be broken by anything other than death.  Situations will arise.  There will be other difficult seasons that contain heartaches.  But an acting out of ahava in the marriage shows that the marriage bond is so strong, so secure, that it is truly the most important relationship for both the husband and the wife.

This particular passage also indicates that ahava is like fiery flames.  Some authors indicate this could be translated as a flaming arrow, the fiercest of all.  Again, this shows that ahava, when truly acted out within the marriage shows the unique oneness of the relationship.  This type of love is not only used as a shield against whatever situations may arise that can cause marital turmoil, but also may be used as a weapon.  An arrow is a weapon fired from a great distance in the heat of battle.  The analogy here is simple: when the marriage relationship is firing on all cylinders and unexpected turmoil attacks the marriage, the ahava is so strong the marriage comes out unscathed.  Additionally, when the marriage relationship is firing on all cylinders, the couple sees little threats at a great distance, and their love for one another is so strong they send fiery arrows towards any and all visible threats, with the purpose of keeping the marriage pure and strong.

Applying ahava love today within marriage seems simple, but it’s really quite difficult.  It requires something of the husband and the wife.  It requires each person to see the beauty of the marriage relationship.  It requires the husband to love his wife as Jesus loved the church, willing to give his life for her.  It requires the wife to show a tremendous amount of respect to her husband.  It requires both to submit to one another.  It requires a genuine desire for relational unity and oneness.  And when that oneness is there, it makes our study for the subject of dod (dode) so much more exciting.  We’ll pick up there next time.  Until then…

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What do you and your spouse do to keep marital threats at bay?

For a deeper study on The Song of Songs, we can strongly recommend “Intimacy Ignited” by Dillow/Pintus.  Men, I (Justin) understand the cover may not look “manly”, but this is a great read for you both!

Understanding “Love”: Racham

“Love” is one of those words that gets thrown around a lot in our culture.  Marriages crumble each and every day because one (or both) individuals in the marriage forget what it means to love another person.  To try to understand what love really is, we first wrote out definitions of “love” from our modern day dictionary as well as a look at an 1800’s Western Culture understanding (how far we’ve come in 200 years!).  Additionally, we looked back to the 1st Century A.D. Roman Empire Culture, by focusing on a few verses of 1 Corinthians 13.  Today, we rewind the clock back a little bit further and look at Ancient Israel and they’re understanding of “love”.

While “love” has a number of meanings in our current culture, the Hebrew Language from the Old Testament complicated things more.  Instead of having one word with multiple meanings, they simply used multiple words.  This is odd, as the Hebrew language has far less words (less than 80,000) compared to English (approximately 1,000,000).  Nevertheless, the Old Testament has 11 Hebrew words for “love”.  Eleven.  Some are used only a few times but others are used in pretty good abundance.

The specific Hebrew word we’d like to focus on today is:

racham  (rāḥam) [rah KHAM)

The term “racham” is used 47 times in the Old Testament, and seven of those come in book of Hosea.  If you’ve never read the book of Hosea, it’s about God commanding Hosea the prophet to marry a prostitute.  Throughout the book, Hosea is to continually show racham toward his wife, just as God shows it to the nation of Israel.

“Racham” is translated by various scholars as either “love” or “have compassion, or pity”.  Some Hebrew scholars indicate that this type of deep love is sometimes used for one who is superior over one who is inferior (an example would be Isaiah 49:15 when a nursing mother shows love toward her nursing infant) but is sometimes used as an expression of love for God (Psalm 18:1).

Still, the term is most often used of God’s love or compassion on others, most specifically, on those He chooses to show racham (Exodus 33:19).  Even more amazingly, it is used as an expression of love/compassion on those who do not deserve to receive it (2 Kings 13:23).  A careful reading of the Old Testament indicates that God shows this type of love over, and over, and over again to those who don’t deserve it.  Think about how amazing this is: God chooses to show racham to whomever He chooses, and the people He chooses to show racham toward don’t deserve it.

How exactly does this apply to marriage?  Well, within our marriage, Megan and I naturally show a lot of love and compassion to one another, especially during our good seasons.  But there are times when we each mess up.  Times when we hurt one another.  Times when we don’t want to show racham to the one who just hurt us. Times when we may think they don’t deserve it.

But this is exactly the point of racham, it is given in an undeserved manner.  Hosea’s wife didn’t deserve it, but God provided it anyway.  Israel didn’t deserve it, but God provided it anyway.  We don’t deserve it, but God still offers it.  And if God is willing to show this kind of love and compassion toward others who are undeserving, why wouldn’t we offer it as well?

The point of racham isn’t to accept one another’s flaws.  It’s not to accept the person and their sin.  It’s to see them, love them, and show compassion on them with the ultimate desire being for them to become the person God made them to be.  It’s to see the person they are in spite of their flaws.  It’s to see through their outbursts.  See through their frustration.  See through their prostitution.  See through all kinds of inappropriate behavior…and to have compassion on them, even though [you think] they don’t deserve it.

God’s use of racham shows that it is a choice.  It’s purposeful compassion.  This type of love has been graciously shown towards us, and we would all do well to reflect it within marriage.

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Have you ever shown this type of love to your spouse…this undeserved love/compassion?  How did they respond knowing that they didn’t deserve it?  Have you ever undeservingly received it from your spouse?  Let us know in the comments below.

Understanding “Love”: Introduction

Before I (Justin) get any deeper into this post, I want to let you know something about myself…I don’t have many pet peeves.  I really don’t.  Sure, there are things in life (and others’ lives) that bother me from time to time, but not often in such a way that I have a real disdain for it/them.  However, there is one thing that makes me pretty judgmental: people who use the dictionary to define words while public speaking.  High School graduations, College graduations, other public speaking events, even the occasional blog post…it doesn’t really matter.  When I hear somebody say/write, “Webster’s dictionary defines ____________ as…” I think to myself, “Really?  I mean, C’mon…is that really the best you could come up with?”  Today, I eat my own words, because in just a few moments, I’m going to bust open the good old Webster’s dictionary.  If you have as much disdain for this sort of thing as I do, I encourage you to keep reading, as I have excellent semi-good reasons for doing so.

Anyway…now onto the post.

“Love” is one of those words that gets thrown around a lot in our culture.  In fact, it happens so much so that I’m not completely convinced many people truly understand what it means to “love” another person.  Evidence of this sometimes comes from crumbling marriages.  When the marriage is over and the divorce finalized one spouse may say something to the effect of, “Well, the truth is…over time we just fell out of love.”  Really?  How does that happen?  How does a couple go from falling in love, to falling out of love?  Other evidence comes from casual everyday conversations.  In one day you may hear the same person say, “I love my wife…I love my car…I love this book…” and so on.  To make matters worse, people often declare, “God is love,” but then are unable to clearly describe what that means.

Now, before I go digging into the dictionary, stop reading, grab a piece of paper, and write out a definition of love.  You don’t have to tell anybody else what you write.  Just write, “Love is…” and then finish the sentence. Go on…you know you want to.

Finished?  Great!  Welcome back.

Now, here is a look at how the Webster’s Dictionary defines “love“:

lovenoun \ˈləv\

a (1) : strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties <maternal love for a child> (2) : attraction based on sexual desire : affection and tenderness felt by lovers (3) : affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests <love for his old schoolmates> b : an assurance of affection <give her my love>

2: warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion <love of the sea>

3 a : the object of attachment, devotion, or admiration <baseball was his first love>

OK, the first thing I would like to point out about this definition is that it seems very culturally accurate.  What I mean by this is that Webster’s [purposefully?] puts the NOUN definition of love first.  It’s an affection, attraction, admiration…etc.  Translation…it’s an emotion.  It’s something one feels and given the right set of circumstances that feeling may be very strong, or very weak.

To be fair to Webster’s, they do provide a VERB definition of love as well:

1: to hold dear : cherish

2: to feel a lover’s passion, devotion, or tenderness for b (1) : caress (2) : to fondle amorously (3) : to copulate with

3: to like or desire actively : take pleasure in <loved to play the violin>

This is our modern-day culture’s understanding of love.  Emotion first, act second.  Sadly, as I observe modern-day culture, I think Webster’s has nailed it.  However, once upon a time, our culture was quite different.  In fact, the 1828 Webster’s Dictionary defines “love” like this:

LOVE, v.t. luv. [L. libeo, lubeo. See Lief. The sense is probably to be prompt, free, willing, from leaning, advancing, or drawing forward.]

1. In a general sense to be pleased with; to regard with affection, on account of some qualities which excite pleasing sensations or desire of gratification. We love a friend, on account of some qualities which give us pleasure in his society. We love a man who has done us a favor; in which case, gratitude enters into the composition of our affection. We love our parents and our children, on account of their connection with us, and on account of many qualities which please us. We love to retire to a cool shade in summer. We love a warm room in winter. We love to hear an eloquent advocate. The christian loves his Bible. In short, we love whatever gives us pleasure and delight, whether animal or intellectual; and if our hearts are right, we love God above all things, as the sum of all excellence and all the attributes which can communicate happiness to intelligent beings. In other words, the christian loves God with the love of complacency in his attributes, the love of benevolence towards the interest of his kingdom, and the love of gratitude for favors received.

2. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

3. Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. Matt. 22.2.  To have benevolence or good will for. John 3.

Quite a difference isn’t it?  You see, a couple hundred years ago everybody had an understanding that “love” was something to be offered, as well as received.  “Love” was much more than an emotion.  Not only that, but culture as a whole thrived on a Christian worldview.  God was important, very important.  So much so that scripture verses were used to help define certain words.  We’ve come a long way, haven’t we?

OK, we’ve looked at 2012, and then the 1828 [western] understanding of love.  Let’s take the clock back a little further and look at the first century:

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NIV)

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Take a moment to look at your definition of “love.”  Which of these three definitions best matches your own?  Did you use love as a noun, or as a verb?  Is it merely emotional, or is there something deeper to it?  If there’s something deeper, what is it?   Where does it come from?  How does it get there?

Regarding your marriage, take the opportunity to evaluate your marriage based only on the 1 Corinthians 13 understanding of love.  Are you loving your spouse by being patient with them?  Are you loving your spouse by showing kindness in all situations?  Are you loving your spouse by honoring him/her?  Are you loving your spouse by…not keeping any record of wrongs?  Knowing that your spouse has done things to hurt you, and may do it again.  Are you continually loving them by not keeping any record of wrongs?  It’s not merely about the emotional aspects of love, it’s about being loving.

This post is a simple introduction on understanding “love”.  We’re going to keep the theme running for a while, and continue to look into other cultures much older than our own to see how they applied “love” in their relationships, and perhaps getter a better understanding of how we can do so in our marriages as well.  Until then, here are some things to think about:

1) Which of these 1 Corinthians definitions of love do you find most difficult?

2) What does it mean to keep no record of wrongs?  What does that look like in a healthy marriage relationship?

3) What one thing can you do today to surprise your spouse in a loving way?  Don’t tell us in the comments below…just go do it!  (But be sure to come back later and write a comment…we’d really like to know!)  🙂

 

Linking with: Women Living Well, To Love Honor and Vacuum