In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.1 John 4:9-10 ESV
Real lasting love is action, it’s not a feeling. Romantic love is an emotion—it’s that warm fuzzy feeling we get when we think of the person who’s captured our hearts. We fall in love when we’re young as we feel that sudden rush of excitement at the thought of our person. We mistakenly believe those feelings are love, so we chase after the emotion and person who causes them. The emotion of romantic love can be intoxicating, but true love isn’t a feeling, it’s something we choose to do. If we believe that we fall in love, then we believe we can fall out of love, but we don’t fall in or out of love. We choose to stop demonstrating love. We choose to stop doing. The kind of love God calls us to demonstrate in our marriage is active. Agape love is a verb—it requires action to be real.
If we look to the way God made love manifest among us, we know it was through His Son, Jesus. His act of love toward us was to send us His Son so that we could live through Him. We didn’t do anything to deserve this, and there was no way we could earn it. He didn’t send Jesus down to this earth because we loved Him so well that we should be rewarded with eternal life. No, we failed at loving Him for so long that God realized the only way we could be with Him was through the sacrifice of His Son. Then, Christ willingly went to the cross precisely because He knew without His sacrifice, we would forever be separated from our Father in Heaven He knew it was the only way to restore our relationship with God, so willingly He gave up His life for us. He didn’t wait to climb up on that cross until we apologized, He didn’t wait for us to show us we loved Him first, He didn’t wait for us to earn it. He didn’t wait for His feelings to change, He didn’t wait for things to calm down, He took action and he took it first.
We will never be able to love our spouses well until we remember how love was first demonstrated to us. Love is action. It is a willing self-sacrifice for the good of our spouse, and not because they deserve it, but because this is what love is. If we are going to love them well, we need to be willing to give something up for them—we may need to give up our time or our desires, we may need to give up our way of doing things or our plans, we may need to give up our need to be right or our hurt, we may need to give up our need for them to apologize or our need for them to change, and we may need to go first. Love recognizes the way to save our marriage is to take action—a willing and sacrificial action that is not based on the way we currently feel toward our spouse, but one that focuses on an eternal perspective.
We fail at love when we fail to remember how we are loved. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. This is love—that He loved us. When love is failing in your marriage, take the time to meditate on the love that has been shown to you—then demonstrate that same love to your spouse.
Press on—you are loved 💗