By Naomi, Contributing Writer
Have you ever heard that song “Love and Marriage” sung by Frank Sinatra? The second verse goes, “Love and marriage, love and marriage, goes together like a horse and carriage. Dad was told by mother, ‘you can’t have one without the other.’ ” Okay…the song is right in both instances. A carriage needs a horse to operate correctly and a marriage needs love to work effectively.
In the words of Tina Turner, “what’s love got to do with it?” A lot! L.O.V.E. has much to do with a good marriage. One definition of love is “to regard with affection.” When we regard our spouses with affection, we are demonstrating a tenderness and fondness towards them. It is filled with warmth and devotion. Ephesians 4:32 commands us to love one another with kindness, a tender heart and forgiveness. That is affectionate love. Jesus loves us that way and so we should follow His lead and love our spouses the same way. “Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” (John 13:34)
Another definition of love is “to have benevolence and good will for.” This kind of love demonstrates that we desire what is good to our spouses. We will do what we can to bring about joy in their lives. We will yearn to do acts of kindness towards them and to show them good will always. This is a charitable love. It delights in bringing joy to another intentionally. It’s a selfless act towards the one we love. Hebrews 13:16 tells us to do good towards another with the reminder that this is pleasing to God. It says “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” Notice, too, how this charitable love is referred to as a sacrifice.
In addition, love cannot stand on equal ground with hate. They are opposite of one another to the farthest extremes. In a marital relationship we love someone deeply and shouldn’t want to hurt them in anyway. Loving our spouses should show that we want to keep from hurting them which means we watch our words and actions carefully. If we mess up then we fix it by talking with our spouse and apologizing. Swallowing our pride and admitting we’re wrong is never easy but it is necessary to a strong marital relationship not to mention personal peace. This kind of love is humble and meek. Titus 3:2 says, “To speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.” Jesus demonstrated a meek and humble love for us in coming down to live among us. He put us before Himself on the cross. “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)
One more thought on love and marriage is the foundation for the affectionate, charitable and humble love we ought to demonstrate in our union. This foundation should be built upon our love for the Lord we have as one. This united love for the Lord shapes the way we love our spouses all the time. In making Him first in our marriage, we are creating a strong and stable footing for our union. This strong footing won’t fail us in times of struggle so we need to make sure it is in place. Remember “[Our] adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8) We must be watchful by being in the Word daily, praying and seeking wisdom for our marriages making that foundation firm and stable.
In summary, let’s listen to what Peter says, “Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.” (1 Peter 3:8,9)