February is considered the month for love as Valentine's Day falls right in the middle of it. While articles abound on the existence of the monk who may have secretly married couples when it was outlawed, this one will look at the inner workings of love. Christians in America are failing miserably at understanding what true love is all about, as almost 50 percent of these marriages wind up in divorce, perhaps higher than the secular statistics. Why?
Fundamentally, Christians have bought into the idea that marriage is all about personal fulfillment. Let's look at what the Bible teaches us about love. The most famous scripture comes from the letter to the Corinthians who had confused the idea of love to include not only sexual promiscuity, but depravity. In order to clear up their misunderstanding, the apostle Paul wrote what is perhaps considered the greatest treatise on true love.
In 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 he states: "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. " What a statement! Certainly no human being can reach this kind of perfect, godly love. True. It can only be accomplished by knowing Him.
But is this agape love achievable or even advisable in marriage? Certainly we don't want to be doormats to our mates, nor unattracted to them. While Eros, or sexual love is indeed part of marriage and God ordained, it's not enough to sustain a marriage for the long haul. If marriages are to survive, this kind of unselfish love needs to be the basis or foundation. The only way one can achieve this "agape" love is from God. He is the one who reaches out in perfect love to us and brings us into the Kingdom of Love, where He dwells. It is only in having a deep, meaningful relationship with God that we can live out this kind of unconditional love with our partners: being kind when we want to retaliate, not dishonoring our spouses, nor seeking our own happiness above our mates or not getting irritated by the many annoying things they may do. Indeed a high calling, but one we can achieve as we draw the water of life from the source: The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
But as the woman at the well said to Jesus, " Sir, you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water?" (John 4:11). The first step is getting to know God and His love. Accept the gift of His love. Then learn about God and from His Word, which will give you a deeper understanding of who God is and His love. Prayer and daily time with the God of these vast resources of love will fill your well so that you can draw on this living water when needed. Only a marriage that utilizes these resources from above will attain the true purpose God has for your marriage and your life. And that is the purest kind of true love.