Weeds. Dirty laundry piles. To-do lists.
What do these three things have in common?
Answer: They all grow with no effort.
Did you notice what was not in this list?
I’m not talking about the emotion feeling of love. I’m talking about the deeply rooted, committed, striving, long-suffering, love of choice. No, it doesn’t just grow on it’s own. It takes effort, concentration, and time. This is the love that God calls us to
This is the love of a husband and wife. Most relationships begin with the emotional feelings we often call “love”. It’s easy to let these feelings grow. However, marriage must be built on so much more than just feelings. If a marriage is built of this, than it will end like the children’s song:
“Don’t build your house on the sandy land
Don’t build your house on the shore.
Well it might be kind of nice,
But you’ll have to build it twice.
You’ll have to build your house once more.”
Okay, so love in marriage can’t just be feelings. What is it, then?
It’s waking up early with your spouse, when they get ready for work, even though you could sleep in.
It’s making their favorite meal, even though you don’t love it.
It’s remembering that small thing they mentioned last week.
It’s stopping what you’re doing to look them in the eye when they talk to you.
It’s taking the time to talk through a difficult situation, instead of staying upset (which is what you really want to do).
It’s praying for them to be everything God made them to be and then helping them do it.
You could also say it is:
Not Easily Angered
Excited about Truth
1 Corinthians 13:4-8a
This seems so easy at the outset of a relationship. Every emotion encourages us to pour into this other person. However, as time goes on and routine sets in. That selfishness that I am much too familiar with rears it’s head. It is an ugly beast that takes conscious effort to beat back each day and each moment in my marriage.
Here are some ways that have helped me to beat this selfishness and grow love in my marriage:
That sounds like a big “Duh”, right? It should be. I think this is often forgotten, though. Prayer may be simple, but it is NOT small. If I’m not right with God, how in the world will I be right with my husband? I need to pray for my relationship with God, for my husband’s relationship with God, and for our relationship. One thing that my husband and I have done for most of our marriage is ask each other every morning “How can I pray for you?”. This helps us know where the other person is at and how we can specifically pray for one another. HUGE blessing. VERY important.
Not only in quality time important in every relationship, this also happens to be my husband’s love language, making it doubly important. There are times when I can feel myself becoming irritable. It usually happens with little tiny things that just rub me the wrong way. Before I know it, I seem to be irritated by every thing my husband is doing. This is a blaring red flag that I need to check myself (there’s no way that EVERYTHING he is doing is wrong). If I’m right with God (see check point 1), the next thing that I will probably notice is that my husband and I haven’t really connected in a while.
It can be easy to live in the same house and sleep in the same bed with out really connecting. Some thing that we like to do to connect are:
The Dating Diva’s Dates
This website is full of great date night ideas to do with your hubby. They have a wide variety of things you can do, so there’s something for all kinds of couples at all different stages. We’ve done a bunch of these and I have yet to be disappointed. The dates result in great conversation and always end with us feeling more connected.
Go on a walk together and talk.
We have enjoyed going on walks together since early on in our dating relationship. We made it a practice to stay in public places or around other people while we were dating, so walking seemed like an easy way to do that. Walking by the river was a favorite for us. Walk. Talk. Coffee. Doesn’t that sound great already? Maybe you have a different activity that your husband or both of you enjoy. That’s always a great way to connect.
Writing this has been convicting all over again that I need to beat that selfish beast inside and nurture the love in my marriage so I can say “Love grows here.” If you’re anything like me, a reminder can be very helpful. Maybe print this out and stick it somewhere you look often.