Love and marriage

Dec 30, 2008
On the Five in a Row message boards there was a question about marriage and love and Steve Lambert posted this response that I wanted to share here. I love (ha! no punn intended there!) what he had to say on it and I think he is right or target.

Steve and I have been married for 15 years now and this pretty much sums it up for us in how we approach things in our marriage. Marriage is work but work that is so worth it!

Through the words of the Apostle Paul, the Bible defines love in 1 Corinthians 13. Using Eugene Peterson's translation in "The Message" here's what Paul had to say...

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
Love doesn't strut,
Doesn't have a swelled head,
Doesn't force itself on others,
Isn't always "me first,"
Doesn't fly off the handle,
Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn't revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

I would say we could EASILY spend a month studying EACH ONE of those characteristics and examining our own soul and not scratch the surface. In fact, Jane made up a little card to hand out that is a "One Year Bible Study" What does it cover? Those few verses- a good place to spend a year asking God about our own heart and searching our soul to find ways to know love.

Jane says she now sees the word "love" and IMMEDIATELY sees a "Drop-Chart" or a "Pull-Down Menu" that includes everything you just read above. ANYTIME you come across the word "love" you can stop and insert the text above to gain a fuller understanding.

When the Bible says, for instance "Love one another" you could add the phrase "one another" after every one of the above sentences and you would BEGIN to have a pretty good idea of what God thinks love is all about.

When the Bible says, "For God so LOVED the world that He gave His only Son..." you can substitute that entire text for the word "loved" and gain a fuller understanding. Scroll back up and try it. "For God so "NEVER GAVE UP ON US" that he gave His only Son...." or "For God so DIDN'T KEEP SCORE OF OUR SINS that he gave His only Son"... etc. Try every line and you'll have a richer understanding of God's love for you- for all of us.

Want to simplify it? Here's the SHORT version: Love is learning to not be selfish.

That's it. From the grandiose acts of being willing to throw yourself on a hand grenade to protect fellow soldiers, to the simplest little act of changing a poopy diaper when the smell makes you nauseous. It's about not being selfish- about putting others first.

So in marriage- it's a consistent, more-often-than-not choice of putting your partner first, being less selfish- less concerned about what you want and more concerned about what might be a blessing to someone else.

Simple- yet so difficult.

Each morning when I wake up next to Jane, even after nearly 38 years of marriage- I have a choice to make. Am I going to put her interests first today- or am I going to do what I want and to heck with her needs?

I wish I could say I ALWAYS make the Godly choice. I don't. But more often than not, I've learned that being "in love" means learning to not be selfish.

And of course who taught us all the meaning, the definition, the ultimate example of love? Jesus- when he chose to die on the cross for sins that were not his own- to suffer torture and excecution even though he was an innocent man. THAT was the ultimate act of unselfishness- therefore the ultimate act of love.




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