Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
—1 CORINTHIANS 13:7
We’ve looked at the holy institution of marriage as a covenant between a man and a woman. We’ve learned that marriage is meant to be a lasting honeymoon. We’ve explained that poor communication is probably the most common area of marital weakness. In all this discussion, however, we’ve said very little about love, though love is the reason why most couples get married in the first place. Maybe Tina Turner didn’t get it when she belted out, “What’s love got to do with it?” but in reality love has everything to do with it—at least the kind of love that Scripture so clearly talks about.
Everybody wants love, and most of us spend a good portion of our lives looking for it. If you were to ask ten people to define love, you would probably get ten different answers. Look at how a panel of “experts” took a shot at defining love and its place in marriage:
If falling in love is anything like learning how to spell, I don’t want to do it. It takes too long.
—GLENN, AGE 7
Love is like an avalanche where you have to run for your life. —JOHN, AGE 9
I think you’re supposed to get shot with an arrow or something, but the rest of it isn’t supposed to be so painful. —MANUEL, AGE 8
No one is sure why it happens, but I heard it has something to do with how you smell. That’s why perfume and deodorant are so popular. —MAE, AGE 9
It gives me a headache to think about that stuff. I don’t need that kind of trouble. —KENNY, AGE 7
One of you should know how to write a check. Because even if you have tons of love, there is still going to be a lot of bills. —AVA, AGE 8
Here are my two personal favorites, showing the difference between the male brain and the female brain even at a young age:
Most men are brainless, so you might have to try more than once to find a live one. —ANGIE, AGE 10
Love will find you, even if you are trying to hide from it. I’ve been trying to hide from it since I was five, but the girls keep finding me. —DAVE, AGE 8
Though we laugh at the childish responses, most of us adults would be just as hard pressed to come up with an adequate definition of love and the role it plays in marriage. So why do couples get married, or to ask again Tina Turner’s question, “What’s love got to do with it?” Is it really just a “secondhand emotion” as the song states, or is it something more—something deep and abiding that can be identified in Scripture and duplicated in our lives?
Let’s take a look at Ephesians 5:33: “So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” Interestingly, nowhere in Scripture are wives exhorted to love their husbands, not because they’re not supposed to, but because God instead emphasizes the divine order that brings the realization of fullest potential. In the home, that begins with husbands loving their wives as Christ loves the church.
We cannot know the role of love in marriage if we do not know what love is. Thankfully, as with every aspect of life, the Bible has the answer. Read 1 Corinthians 13:4–8 in the New American Standard translation:
“Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.”
Excerpt from “Happily… Even After” now available on Amazon.