Love is a Verb

Here’s the third installment of our blog series called “Taking Your Marriage from Good to Great. We’ve already talked about Date Nights and how to use the little things in a marriage to bind your hearts together. Today’s post is a reality check!

Love is a verbIf you’ve read the last two posts in this series, you may have gotten the impression that things are a bit perfect around here. That everything is smiles and hugs and kisses and mutually edifying.

I am about to burst your bubble.

The truth is – sometimes Jan makes me so mad I could spit nails!

Are you shocked? Wait – there’s more!

Sometimes my actions really exasperate him!

Now I know your shocked! 🙂

In all seriousness – there is no perfect here.  But there is sickness, tight budgets, cars that break down, long work hours, slow internet, broken appliances, (all of which happened last week!)  and of course teenagers.

Any or all of those things can cause misunderstandings, unrealistic expectations, and hurt feelings.

Notice I said can cause. But they don’t have to. We have a choice.

It’s easy to love each other when everything is good and you feel like it – when your spouse is spending time with you, the fridge is full, the kids are obedient, and the stove works.

But love isn’t a feeling – it’s a verb. It’s an action that must be taken, even when misunderstandings happen and feelings are hurt.

Years ago as a young wife with little ones at home, my world would stop for 15 minutes every morning at 9 AM when the program “Gateway to Joy” came on the local Christian radio station. It was hosted by Elizabeth Elliot, the wife of slain missionary Jim Elliot, and served up truth in a way that shaped my life.

I can still hear her say, ” You are loved with an everlasting love, that’s what the Bible says, and underneath are the everlasting arms. This is your friend Elizabeth Elliot…”

Which would be followed by 15 minutes of incredible wisdom that can only come after one has been through the fire and spent years in the Word seeking God’s face.

One particular program changed my marriage.

She gave two bits of advise for married couple.

1. Aim for unity in all conversations.

2. Aim for the good of the other.

Think about it.

So simple, yet so profound. And so very true.

Notice the theme that ties them together? They are both actions that you must take. “Aim for unity” and “aim for the good”.

You can’t rely on your feelings – you choose an action to take. You choose to love. You choose to stop thinking about your self and what you need or want, and you choose to think about your spouse’s needs and wants.

I copied those two bits of advise on a 3 x 5 card and taped it to my refrigerator – where it stayed for many many years. That card is now stained and yellowed – the writing so faded it is barely readable. But the words are etched in my heart.

Aim for“.

Make the choice.

Choose to love.