“How to Experience Unending Love”
“We love because he first loved us.”
1 John 4:19 (NIV)
My wedding day was far from perfect. It rained. Actually, it poured.
An intense Oklahoma thunderstorm caused the church to lose electricity and the indoor dance floor to flood. Our powerless chocolate fountain hardened, emergency lights lit the reception hall and the only music for our first dance came from two small laptop speakers. There were skies full of storms, but our hearts were full of love.
My husband and I were crazy about each other.
As a matter of fact, on my wedding day, no one had to tell me, “Just try to be nice to him. Smile when you see him. Pay attention when he talks. Maybe find time to hold his hand if you can.”
Can you imagine how a bride might respond if she were given that advice on her wedding day? She might wonder, Why wouldn’t I be nice or smile? Why wouldn’t I pay attention to him? Why wouldn’t I want to be affectionate? Those things often come naturally in the beginning of a relationship and require little effort.
The truth is, I might not have needed those words on my wedding day, but 10 years of marriage and three kids later, that counsel is often just what I need as a busy wife and mom.
Because so often we are running in different directions and focusing more on our children than our relationship, our marriage doesn’t always get the attention it deserves or needs to thrive. Sometimes we need reminders for simple things like paying attention and listening to each other.
Our love has changed since the beginning. Now we must be more intentional. We must keep the cycle of love active in our marriage. I must continue showing my husband love, so he can respond to me in love, and he must continue showing me love, so I can respond to him in love.
Despite our best efforts, some days we just don’t get it right. Some days I’m preoccupied with the kids. Some days he’s too busy with work. Some days our schedules just don’t line up, and we don’t even get to see each other at all. And often this creates space, breaking our cycle of love.
I believe our hearts are designed to love “back.” When someone loves us, we respond by showing them love in return. But on the days when we don’t necessarily feel loved by our spouses, how do we keep showing them love? How do we give love when we don’t necessarily feel loved? How do we love first? The simple answer is: We don’t.
Scripture says in 1 John 4:19, “We love because he first loved us.”
It doesn’t say we love our husbands because our husbands first loved us. It doesn’t say we love our friends because our friends first loved us. It doesn’t say we love our children, our families or our coworkers because they first loved us. It says we love because God first loved us. Even on the days I don’t necessarily feel loved by my spouse, I can love him in response to the love God shows us all. We can love others because He first loved us.
And what happens if we’re loving our spouse in response to God’s love that’s endless and unchanging and pure? Then no matter the distraction or the space or the schedule, and no matter if it has been five years or 15 years or 50 years, we can treat each day with our spouse as if it were the first. We can experience love unending in the middle of every storm.
Lord, thank You for loving us so well. Thank You for demonstrating endless and selfless love for us. I pray that You would strengthen our marriages. I pray that You would hold all of our relationships together in Your grace. Help us love one another in response to Your love for us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
John 13:34, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (NIV)
1 Corinthians 13:4-5, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” (NIV)