By Terry Hoskins, Director of Oasis Counsel –
I have been doing marital counseling for years and I hear the same resounding sentiment from couples of all age spectrums that the love in the relationship has left. This explanation of “falling out of love” is usually espoused by one of the individual’s in the relationship. Other times both express that the love is gone. They say comments like “we are better friend’s than lovers,” or “I love him, but I am not in love with him,” or “we are both different people now, or it is best if we move on.” These expressions some up the emotional status of the marriage. This means the marriage is in crisis, and needs to seek immediate help.
As innocent bystanders catch germs and end up in bed because they get sick. Marital couples fall in and out of love like a person who caught a cold. It was as if the couple was enjoying their marriage when all of a sudden the anti-love bug bit them. They tried to love again, but it is to late and the venom has already taken affect. The person’s love for their spouse has dissipated into frustration and anger. Love becomes a power within itself that is blamed for why the marriage has gone bad. This is a great culprit for those who want to ease their conscience for wanting out of a marriage. They act as if they want it to work, but it is to late. It is important to remember that a marriage is ALWAYS salvageable! The questions is, will couple dedicate themselves to working on the second most important relationship of their life?
What I Feel must be REAL?
Thus far love has been talked about being an emotion or a feeling, and that is why marital couples say they have “fallen out of love.” Real love is not tied to our feelings alone because love is first a commitment. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” Was it hard for God to watch His Son be crucified on the cross? Did it sadden God to see the human race whom He created abuse His Son? God was committed to save the world through His Son because He loved us! God did not feel good about letting His Son die, but He decided to do what was best for us. God did not act according to feelings first, but His commitment to do what is best for us. Love is not always filled with good feelings, but a commitment to do what is best for another person. In a marriage we are committed to our spouse for rich or poor, sickness and health, good or bad feelings!
As Christians we are committed to our spouse first and foremost because God commands it. God expects marital couples to practice biblical love towards one another because it reflects our love for Him. Many times God calls us to sacrifice in our marriage, and often our feelings react negatively to putting self second towards our spouse.
REAL LOVE IS…
- A commitment before God to your spouse to put their interests above your own. As Christ did when He came to earth, and sacrificed Himself on our behalf.
- Real love acts regardless of feelings. I treat my spouse with honor and respect even when I don’t feel like it because I am not controlled by my feelings, but Christ. Christ is our example and acted against His feelings and died for us anyway.
- Real love looks for ways to serve. My, I, or me, is not part of the equation of the spouse who looks for opportunities to serve their spouse. Christ served the poor, rich, sick, well, hungry, full, angry, happy, sad, and evil. Christ loved God and humanity more than Himself!
- Real love only comes from God. We are called to live for God’s glory and He will fill us with His love when are His children. When we dedicate our lives to God, He forgives us of our sin and gives us His Holy Spirit that empowers us to share His love with others, including our spouse. The love that God only has begins to flow through us as we walk in His grace and truth.