“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.” John 13: 34-35
When I was little, I didn’t have a very good example of what love was, let alone Christian love. I hardly witnessed love and affection between my parents. They barely spoke. My father was never home, and my mother did the best she could to be a mother and a father. Always took us to church. Made sure that my 3 brothers and I had anything we needed.
Then, I thought my father was a good Christian man. He would give some of the most elaborate prayers in and out of church. He made sure we went to church every Sunday. Always took a knee with his baseball team before taking the field. Little did I know, until later in life, he claimed to be an atheist.
As a result, I had a very warped sense of what love in a marriage was about. It wasn’t until many years later, sometime in my 30’s, I realized that you can’t have any kind of love in a relationship until you have the most important love in your life first. The love of Christ. I had no one to explain to me what a relationship with Christ was about until I met my husband, again. (I will write more on that in a later post)
Flash forward 12 years… My daughter is going off to college this fall. It seems only yesterday that we were watching her do so many first things. First steps, first words, first of so many things. When she was young, she would watch her dad and I kiss, hug, hold hands, or even put our arm around each other while walking through Walmart. At the sight of this she would screech “MOM! Seriously! There are PDA (public display of affection) rules! You guys are so embarrassing!” And would storm off in her own direction to “not be seen with the parents”. People would look at us in our matching shirts, which we wear everywhere, and exclaim “poor girl.”
Here is my philosophy: When I grew up I barely had the thought that parents even liked each other, let alone LOVED each other. When my children were grown, I wanted them to KNOW beyond a shadow of doubt that their parents loved each other. I wanted to set an example for my kids that I didn’t witness when I was a child.
What is the perfect example of love? Jesus. He tells us to love each other as he loves us. He loves us so much that He willingly gave up His own life so that we could be saved. He tells us in John that if we just love one another the same way he loves us that people will not have to ask if we are Christians. Likewise if we love our spouse like Jesus loves them, they won’t have to wonder if we love them. They won’t ever have to feel like they are going through the motions of marriage alone. As a result of setting that kind of example, your children or others will never have to wonder if your marriage will survive the storm.
Do you love your spouse like Jesus loves the church? Would you give up your life for your spouse? I don’t mean just saying that you would die for them. I’m talking about trading places with them and die in their stead. What kind of example of love are you showing others?
Father, I come before you now asking that you give strength to those who are struggling in their marriage. Give them strength to find love in the face of turmoil. Let them remember what brought them together in the first place and the things that they love about each other. Let them see the courage inside of themselves to show their love for one anther openly, so that others may see that Christ like love and want to pattern it. Love is a contagious thing. Let others see their example and follow their pattern. Amen