Monday, March 18, 2013

So This Is Love, part 2: An Enduring Love

Originally posted in September, 2012

"Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance." 1 Corinthians 13:7

Last week I promised that I would be back today to share my thoughts on love that endures.  I've been mulling it around, wondering what exactly I want to write -- what GOD wants me to write -- and this is where I am:  We have been deceived.  

Those of us who are fortunate enough to live in modern, civilized culture have been deceived.  

Specifically concerning marriage.  

We have allowed ourselves to be convinced that the vows we make on our wedding day come with qualifiers.  "I promise to love you forever...as long as it doesn't get too hard."  "I promise to stay faithful...as long as you make me happy."  "I promise, as long as..."

I've been married for a little over thirteen years now, and I know to some that seems like barely any time at all.  To others, that seems like forever.  Thirteen years doesn't make me an expert, but it does afford me a wide array of experiences, some good and some bad.  Some even worthy of calling it quits, at least by the world's standards.  And there have been times that I have heard the voice in my head telling me just to gather my children and leave, that whisper of deception trying to convince me that I'd be better off somewhere else, maybe even with someONE else.

Satan wants to destroy marriage.  Not just because it is such a precious relationship, but also because it depicts God's great love for us, He being the groom and we the bride.  So Satan tells us: "It's too hard.  Just give up."  But God says love never gives up.  "There is no hope for this marriage."  God says to have faith, there is always hope.  "He screwed up.  He doesn't deserve you.  You shouldn't have to put up with this."  God tells us that true love endures every circumstance.

Love is not and never will be easy.  Loving your spouse is no exception.  A successful marriage requires pounds of patience, grace, kindness, and forgiveness.  I believe those are only possible with the intervention and leading of the Holy Spirit.  Apart from Him, we simply cannot live the kind of love God created for us to share with our spouse.

I also believe that for the vast majority of those of us who are married, sometimes walking away seems like the easy choice when in reality, walking away would leave us more hurt and wounded than we were in our marriages.  Choosing instead to endure your present circumstances is not only the right thing to do, it's the BEST thing to do.  And I'm not talking about enduring your situation like you would endure a visit to the dentist.  I'm talking about purposefully choosing not to give up, not to quit.  I'm talking about daily pursuing a closer relationship with your husband and with God, surrendering your struggles and your dreams to Him and allowing Him to re-create your marriage the way He intended it to be!

I recently experienced something with my husband that could have been devastating to our marriage.  When our counselor asked me why I chose not to walk away -- why I never even considered it -- I told him that it was only because I had been diligently studying God's Word and specifically asking for the Holy Spirit to lead me in every part of my life (Gal. 5:25).  There is no other explanation.  And while I am still enduring some tough circumstances, I can tell you without a doubt that I have already experienced huge blessings because I am choosing not to give up.

Please don't be deceived.  Walking away from a less-than-perfect marriage is not the solution.  Choose instead to hold on through your current circumstances (and many more that will inevitably come) knowing that God can and will heap huge blessings on your marriage when you hold true to His Word.  Choose to have the kind of love for your spouse that endures through every circumstance.

"Three things will last forever -- faith, hope and love -- and the greatest of these is love." (1 Corinthians 13:13)

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