Faith Matters - Current Posts

Friday, June 22, 2007

Falling Back in Love

When a relationship has grown cold and the marriage is in trouble, often only one of the marriage partners wants to work at falling back in love. So, what is that person to do? Loving alone is hardly the ambition of most people! It’s sad to hear a man say, “She’d probably get mad if I brought home roses, or say, ‘You shouldn’t spend the money.’” Or to hear a wife say, “I’ve tried acting loving before and it hasn’t done any good. And, frankly, I can’t stand the rejection and humiliation anymore.”
These stories bring us to the conclusion that there’s no point in loving alone. But is that right? Did you know that that’s exactly what God did? The Bible says, “We love because he first loved us.” The message of the gospel is that God loved us when we didn’t love him back. God was kind to us when we were sinning against him. God pursued us when we ran the other direction. God was committed to us even when we wanted nothing to do with him.
You see, God decided to love us. He made a commitment and then he acted in accord with his commitment – totally independent of whether we would ever love him back or not. He loved us into loving him. And that’s the greatest truth of falling in love again. Even if the other person doesn’t love us back, we love as we have learned from God. That’s the way to fall in love again and that’s the way to love another person into love with you.

Related Scripture: I John 4:19

© 2007 Leith Anderson

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Love vs. Commitment

When asked why they are getting married, many couples quickly say, “Because we’re in love!” But few human beings possess the kind of love which can survive the inevitable trials of the typical marriage. Love is merely what gets commitment going.
The first car that I owned was an old Plymouth Coupe. It seldom started easily in the winter – or the summer for that matter. I used to keep a can of gasoline in the car – I know that’s not a good idea, but it’s what I did. When I wanted to start the car, I would pull the hood release, go around and pour gasoline right into the carburetor. Usually it would get the engine running enough to engage the fuel pump that would then suck the gasoline out of the tank and up to the engine, and then it would fire.
Now in some ways it’s like that in the marriage relationship. In the beginning it’s love and infatuation that prime the engine of a relationship. But it’s the continuing supply of commitment that keeps it going.
I once read an interview in USA TODAY of a lady who had been married for 54 years. In describing their commitment she said that the low point of their marriage was trying to raise two quarreling kids while her husband, an oil company executive, traveled a lot. Then she said, “But we never thought the marriage wouldn’t go on.”
They had a commitment. Love may have ebbed and flowed throughout the years, but it was their unwavering commitment that kept their marriage going.

Related Scripture: I Peter 4:8
© 2007 Leith Anderson

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Praying for Love

A secular marriage counselor might suggest that praying for love in your marriage is a form of auto-suggestion. It might help, but it would have nothing to do with God. But as a believer in Jesus Christ, I suggest praying for love out of the conviction that it is spiritually effective.
St. Peter suggested the link between marriage and prayer when he wrote, “Husbands,…be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.” This is spiritual advice for Christians!
How many of us pray for love in our marriages? Sometimes we might pray that our spouse would love us better, but that’s not the way to pray. Pray to better love your husband or wife! Instead of assuming love to be an emotion out of your control, pray for love to be God’s gift in your marriage. Ask God to help you to overcome the things in your life that are unlovely. Ask him to help you change so that you will be easier to love. Ask him to love through you and to teach you how to be a better lover.
I challenge you to try this thirty-day test. Pray sincerely and fervently every day for a month that the love in your marriage will grow stronger and better. Try it for thirty days and I predict that you may well discover the link between praying in faith and falling in love!
Related Scripture: I Peter 3:7

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Marriage Models

Marital love goes through periods of change just like the seasons. Some are warm like summer; some are cold and difficult like a Minnesota winter; some are colorful and changing like a New England autumn; some are fresh and promising like a budding spring. What every married couple needs to learn is how to hang in there as the seasons change.
Marriage takes time and work. When love grows cool and the marriage is threatened is precisely when we must redouble our efforts to rekindle the fire at the hearth of commitment. Like most things worth knowing, lasting love must be learned.
In pre-marital counseling I tell couples to closely observe the marriages of others. Take note of the way he treats her. Listen to the way she speaks to him. Do they touch each other? Is there a warmth and kindness between them? We learn to love by finding teachers who are good lovers. Look for couples who model an enduring love. Get to know them and ask how they faced the struggles of life. Find godly men and women who have depended upon Jesus Christ, who have made prayer the routine of their marriage and learn from them.
We are all significantly and powerfully influenced by systematic exposure to good marriages where people are continually growing in love. We need to chose our models well!
Related Scripture: I Corinthians 13: 4-7

Monday, June 18, 2007

The Proposal

When proposing to his girlfriend, one young man said, “I’m not wealthy, and I don’t have a yacht and a convertible like Jerome Green, but, my darling, I love you.” The girl replied, “I love you too; but tell me a little more about Jerome Green.”
The painful reality is that love is sometimes a fickle thing. How often have you heard divorcing couples say, “We just don’t love each other any more.”
Love is very important to marriage, but it’s not all there is. Millions of couples have thought that all that was necessary for a successful marriage was love – only to discover that their love wore thin in the daily realities of two people living together. Love is as much a product of marriage as a producer of marriage.
Charleen and I have known each other all our lives. But it was in high school that I began to see her in a new way. My heart was captured by this vivacious, blond cheerleader and we started dating. Soon we began saying “I love you” to each other.
By contrast, the love we share today is so much more. It’s a commitment we’ve made to each other for life. Love is the product of years of shared joys and struggles, laughter and tears. It’s forged by praying together through problems and debts; through sharing the joy of welcoming each of our children into our family.When we now put our arms around each other and say “I love you,” it means something quite different – and so much more – than those words spoken as teenagers years ago.