There is an odd truth concerning love and marriage. Understanding it is an important key in making marriage and other relationships work. The truth is this: we don’t have the ability to really love without the power of the Holy Spirit working through us. Our capacity to love is based on God giving us that ability, supernaturally, as we surrender to Him.
So how are people able to “love” when they don’t know God? They can’t. At least they are not able to love with God’s type of love. God’s love is a special love the Bible calls agape. It is a love that flows out of the will and does not change. It is the most stable and predictable kind of love and the only type that can provide a lasting foundation in marriage.
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23)
Often, when people say they love someone, they are just talking about sexual desire (the Greek word eros, from which we get the word erotic) or a passionate feeling (thumos, from which we get our thermos). These kinds of feelings come and go. When they go for very long, many people give the old line, “I don’t love you anymore,” and they are out the door.
Agape love, however, is a committed and sacrificial love that is modeled after Jesus. When Jesus tells us He loves us, He isn’t talking about a feeling that comes and goes. He is telling us He is committed to us forever and will not change. Whether His feelings for us are positive or negative, it doesn’t change His commitment to us.
Consider what you mean when you tell each other, “I love you.” Are you saying that you are experiencing a fleeting feeling, or are you saying you are committed to each other forever and will demonstrate love regardless of bad feelings or negative circumstances? It isn’t wrong to express a feeling, as long as when that feeling isn’t there anymore, you can still say, “I love you,” and do the right thing regardless of the situation.
The most stable and dependable people in relationships are those who are submitted to the influence of the Holy Spirit. They are empowered by a supernatural love that will do the right thing through thick and thin. God’s agape love is the highest form of love and it will transform any person, relationship, or marriage under its influence.
Think of a time that you made a choice to do the right thing, even though it was difficult (telling the truth, standing up for another person, etc.). Talk about those experiences and what you learned from them.
Be intentional about building agape love. Schedule a weekend to kindle the love and romance in your marriage