Recently my pastor gave a sermon about marriage. One of his main points was “Love is a choice.”
I was glad to be reminded of that, and I thank God He’s given me the grace to keep making the choice to love my husband—no matter what. Praise God, my husband has made the choice to love me even when I’m at my worst.
Over the past several years I have been working on a book titled Or For Worse; Loving Your Husband Through Hard Times based on my personal experiences in marriage and what God has been teaching me. Even as I work on the book, I’ve continued to battle hard times.
My desire is to help other wives make the choice to love even in difficult days in marriage. Too many Christians are captured by the culture and divorce with the excuse of “I don’t feel like I love him anymore” forgetting or perhaps never knowing that love is a choice and not just a feeling.
In his article, “What Is True Love?” Daniel P. Robertson writes “What is true love? It isn’t a feeling. It is a choice. It is all the little choices you make long after the feelings are gone. It is so much better, so much richer, so much more rewarding than the fairytale.”
Often I mourn the devastation that divorce and withholding of love in marriage brings to the body of Christ. What kind of witnesses are we being to the unsaved world if we say we serve a loving God, but we refuse to love the most important person the Lord has put into our lives?
We Christians are called to obey the command to love:
…As I have loved you, so you must love one another (John 13:34 NIV)
The good news is that God supplies the grace to obey this command.
I hear from women, “but you don’t know my husband; you don’t know how badly he treats me.” But God does, and He does not give conditions on calling us to love.
I confess that withholding love from my husband has been an ongoing battle. Too often instead of choosing to love, I have chosen bitterness or anger or self-pity.
The bottom line about the times I’ve felt, “I don’t love him anymore,”– often triggered by thoughts of “I don’t feel he loves me anymore”–is that I can’t trust those feelings.
How freeing it has been to discover that love is not a feeling, but a choice. When I get trapped and feel I don’t love my husband, (I had the battle just last night) I ask God to help me to choose to do something loving. Often I’m confronted with the fact that true love chooses to pray, chooses to speak the truth in love, chooses to forgive.
It’s time for all of us to let go of– in our marriages and in every relationship– the idea of “I will love you in the way that you are loving me or if I feel you deserve it,” and embrace, “My goal is to love you the way Jesus loves me.” Did He love me because I deserved it or was being loving toward Him?
Our pastor made the point in his sermon that our spouses need our love the most when they deserve it the least. God certainly loves us in that way.
Somewhere along the way on this journey through the sometimes-rocky pathways of married life and on those days when it seems my husband has rejected me so badly I will never recover, God has taught me about how much He loves me. He has urged me to pass that love along to my husband—even in his most unloving moments. God is delighted when I do.
I’ve discovered that since God’s love is everlasting, if I’m loving my husband with His love, then my love for him will never die. If God’s love is alive in me, I am able to keep my marriage vows and choose to love my spouse: “For better or for worse.”
So can you.
To hear more about “Love is a Choice” listen to my radio show “Hearts Set Free with Elaine” on Sunday, November 3, 2013 at 9:00am EST. Go to www.wtis1110.com and press “Listen Live” or go to the archives on my WTIS website and listen later in the week.