Last week we discussed how after being married for a while, trends set in and these begin to take root causing us to take each other for granted and small things such as a smile or an enthusiastic greeting loose meaning. There is the saying that “only those that are closest to you can hurt you”. Based on this premise, why do we so easily take for granted those that we love? Do we even know why we love them?
The book, The Love Dare, asked the question “why do you love your spouse?” I can’t say that I knew why I loved my Mrs. when we started dating or even when we got married. It is easy for me to say, I love her because she is a great cook, talk about her amazing personality, or her warm smile, maybe even I can mention that she is beautiful. She would probably talk about my strapping good looks, my awesome leadership skills as a father and a husband, or whatever flowery thing a wife would say about her husband and vice versa.
The other day we were having a reflective moment, and as we talked, truth is I realize that now and back then I don’t love her for any of those reasons, I just love her, period. Thinking about it, shouldn’t that be how love is? Love your spouse, period. See there is no greater love than a man who can lay down for his friend. This is the love that Jesus demonstrated for us when he died for us. The same love referred to in the bible when it says “God is love”. This kind of love is not selfish, it has no boundaries and it takes time to perfect, to embody.
Love is unconditional. This unconditional love, in Greek is called Agape. The two other kinds of love are Philio (brotherly love, friendship) and Eros (erotic love, lust). Philio and Eros are responsive and usually are based upon feelings, when one is not in the mood, these die out, whereas Agape is the “for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health” kind of love.
When a husband turns to his wife and tells her that he has fallen out of love with her, he is basically saying that he didn’t love her unconditionally in the first place (and vice versa). Purposing to love unconditionally is a hard journey requiring daily effort. I can’t say that I have achieved this, but I have started saying to my wife “I love you” with no need to give her a reason as to why I love her.
I probably shouldn’t be the one to be writing this post, but those who have gone ahead would summarize it similarly.
THIS WEEKS TASK: Do something out of the ordinary each day for your spouse. Something that will prove (to you and to them) that your love is based on your choice and nothing else. Demonstrate love for the sheer joy of being their partner in marriage.
Reflective Questions: Has your love in the past been based on your spouse’s attributes and behavior or in your commitment? How can you continue to show love when it isn’t returned in a way that you hoped?