My husband and I have been married for 23 years. Like all couples we’ve had great times, good times, and not so good (bad) times in those 23 years. I sign us up for lots of marriage conferences and classes. Not because I think we have a bad marriage, but because I want us to have the best marriage possible. We recently started our latest marriage class. It has stirred up a few things in my heart regarding love and marriage.
We love because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19, NIV
Our latest lesson was entitled “Radical Love”. I believe to love radically we must first know that we are radically loved by God. Our love, security, identity are found in a loving God. But love is not idle and stagnate. Love moves and can’t help but flow. When we receive it, we then find ourselves having to give it. Our spouses should be the first to taste of this love. It’s good to love our neighbor, to love the widow and the orphan, to love the lost and broken, but sometimes the one closest to us, our spouse, is not shown this great love. I know from experience and there were many times I was the one not showing His love to my husband.
It’s great when you have two people receiving and giving this great love in a marriage, but that’s not always the case. I think it’s very important to realize that you are not responsible and cannot change the other person. The person you can choose to change is yourself. It can start with just one and you are the only one you can change.
Now, let me also mention that you can’t change you. God never intended for you to transform your own heart. He is offering to do that for you. You can’t make that decision for your spouse but you can make that decision for yourself. Choose to let God work in your heart and mind through time spent with Him and in His word.
…let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Romans 12:2, NLV
All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 2 Timothy 3:16 NLV
Here are two scriptures that I have found change my heart and mind allowing me to better love my spouse.
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. Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, NIV
But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence). Galatians 5:22-23, Amp
I have read these scriptures. I have studied these scriptures. I have meditated on these scriptures. I have taken time to let God talk to me about these scriptures. What was the result? When my husband and I disagreed or argued, when I was tired and hungry and not in a good mood, God’s Holy Spirit would tap me on the shoulder as I spoke or raised my voice to my husband, as I defended myself or my point and simply said, “Was that patient or kind?” “Was that gentle or peaceful?” “Was that love?”
I then had two choices, harden my heart and press my point or yield my heart and simply say, “I’m sorry.”
These two scriptures First Corinthians 13:4-8 and Galatians 5:22-23 tell you who you are and can be because of God’s work in your heart. Read them, study them, meditate on them. Let God talk to you about them. Look into the mirror of God’s word and let it transform you into His image. He is love.