“Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced His perfect love. We love each other because He loved us first.” 1 John 4:18-19 NLT
When a man and woman get married, they are normally in a place where they love each other a great deal and have no trouble making intentional effort to show that love in tangible ways. This is what many folks call the “honeymoon stage”, where everything in their relationship seems to be clicking on all cylinders.
But as anyone who is married knows, those “feelings of love” – as necessary and good as they are - those feelings alone cannot sustain a marriage relationship in the long run. There must be something deeper than feelings if you and your spouse are going to truly flourish in marriage as God intended!
I was talking with a young couple recently who have been through a hard season in the last few years of their marriage. By God’s grace, they are working through the issues, and continuing to grow as a couple. It has been great seeing the Lord do His transforming work in both of them!
A few weeks back, the husband said something about the reason he loved his wife. What he shared was so good. I got his permission to share it with you. Here is what he said:
When my wife would ask me why I loved her, my answer was "Because I love God". The thinking behind those words is not to discount her beauty, her compassion, and all the other wonderful attributes she has. Instead, it comes from knowing that if I focused only on her "good" attributes, then I would leave room for my love for her to change as those attributes inevitably change.
However, if I focused on the reason that I love my wife as this: that God, whom I love, and who loves me regardless of circumstances, gave her to me to love her in the same way. Then no matter the season, I can always love my wife. Youth, beauty, financial stability, respect level, health, and attitude are not the main reasons I love her, because if they were, then I would love her less anytime she misses those marks. But when my reason is truly anchored in my love of God, that enables me to love her the same, both when those things are present and when they are not. (1)
There is a lot to ponder from what this husband shared. But let me just add a couple of main thoughts from his reason for loving his bride.
First, his reasoning follows the same thought as 1 John 4:19 that was shared earlier: “We love each other because He (God) loved us first”. It is only as a person is born-again into a relationship with Jesus that he or she can fully understand the depth of God’s love for us. When we were His enemies, Jesus chose to die in our place. God the Father gave the greatest gift of His Son so that we could be reconciled, redeemed, and adopted into His forever family. None of us can truly love our spouse in sacrificial, Christ-like ways unless we have experienced the incredible love and forgiveness of God. We cannot give out what we have not received.
But secondly, we, like this husband, must make the daily choice to love our spouse, not based on what they have done or not done, but based on obedience to God. Jesus does not call us to have a “50/50 marriage” where I only do my 50% when I think my spouse is doing their 50%. We are called to give, serve, and sacrifice in marriage as a Christ-like example of the ways that Jesus gave, served, and sacrificed for me.
In case you are thinking, “I don’t think I can consistently make that daily choice.” – I agree! Without the power of the Holy Spirit working in me and a community of Christ-followers encouraging me, I will not be able to live out that kind of love.
In regard to loving in this way, Romans 5:5 has always been a real source of encouragement to me: “And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Did you get that? God’s love has not just been sprinkled on our hearts, but poured into our hearts by the Spirit of God that lives in us. He gives us the power to love our spouse when it feels we are getting nothing in return. And do so, not reluctantly, but with joy!
So, here’s the question: If your spouse asked you why you love them, what would you say? I encourage you to take time to re-read this post and ask God to help you as you ponder how to answer. May the Lord Himself truly give you a love for your spouse that is not dependent on their performance, but is solidly grounded in God’s overwhelming and never-ending love for you!
1) Please ponder and pray about the question, “Why do you love your spouse?” After you have had some time, how would you answer that question? And has your answer changed now based on what the Scripture says and what was shared in this post?
2) If you can honestly say you have a hard time loving your spouse in this way, what are some steps you could take go grow in this? Who is a mature, same-gender Christ-follower who you could ask to walk alongside you to help you grow in this?
3) Write out a prayer to God below, expressing the desire of your heart in loving your spouse.
Written by Glen Solberg, Abiding Marriage, 2023. Send comments or questions to
Source: (1) Quote shared with permission. Name of husband remains confidential.
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