What is True Love in Marriage?
Paul, in I Corinthians 13:5, says something very remarkable about charity or true love. Under Divine Influence, Paul said:
“[Charity] Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;”
I often use I Corinthians 13:5 when advising couples in that it shows us that true love is not about our personal bent, likes, nor dislikes. True love is identifying the needs and desires of another person and striving to meet those needs regardless of our disposition. This is why the verse states that charity or Biblical love “seeketh not her own”.
The Defiant Spouse
I sometimes hear people convey in almost a defiant manner that they are not into the personal interests of their spouse. When I attempt to encourage these very same people to move contrary to what comes natural to them, they often retort with statements as such:
“That’s just not my personality.”
“I can’t act like a robot.”
“I just can’t be fake.”
“It is important for me to be me.”
“I think love should come more naturally than that.”
An Unwilling Heart
First off, whenever I hear these statements, it is usually the sign of someone with an unwilling heart to submit to Biblical precepts. Their questions are typically not a sign of a lack of understanding as much as a lack of willingness to love unconditionally.
Where are Commanded to Love with a Supernatural Love
Secondly, it should be noted that God has never asked you to do that which comes natural concerning your spouse as much as He wants you to submit to the Supernatural. According to the Word, He exhorts us to love others with a love that is derived from above. Notice how this thought is conveyed in Romans 5:5:
“And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”
Romans 5:5 teaches us that the “love of God” is in the heart of every believer. This is key in that every child of God has the ability to love in the same way that God Himself would love. This, my friend, is a very powerful love that provides for us the ability to love in a way that our natural man is not able. In my estimation, I would much rather love in this manner as there is no greater love than the love that God Himself has to offer.
Few Warm Fuzzies
Thirdly, as I have stated before, my wife has wants and desires that seldom incite warm fuzzies inside of me. However, if my understanding is correct, true love is not about the giver as much as it is about the receiver, and my joy as a husband and a father primarily comes from seeing them full of joy and happiness.
Romans 12:15 commands Christians to “rejoice with them that do rejoice”. There is much to be learned from this verse in that joy and happiness are not simply found in getting what we want in life. Real joy comes from finding joy in the fact that others are finding their way.
To be frank, the principle that we may extract from Romans 12:15 is not simply sage advice or a great marriage tip. It is what grown ups do.
For some of us, we will do well to grow up and stop basing our happiness on the service that others can provide for us, but our service toward them.