Love Cannot be Fallen Out of—Only Forsaken

Remember, love never fails. When someone says they are not in love anymore, they are revealing an unwillingness to suffer long and be kind, to not envy, to think no evil of their spouse, and to bear all things. They are stating they will not believe for the best, hope in all circumstances, and endure all things. They reject practicing all those self- sacrificing actions described in 1 Corinthians 13. What they are really saying is, “I am going to disregard God’s command to put my mate’s needs above my own.” In essence, because of their feelings, they are forsaking the attributes of true love.

I realize there are some exceptions to this, and I will address that later, but for now I want you to grasp this principle: the Christian marriage has a distinct advantage over the non-Christian marriage because of the divine power within believers to live out the attributes of love. The Christian surrendered to the Lord lives out the command of 1 John 4:7–8: “Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” As Christians, if we can do all things through Christ, if He has given us all things pertaining to life and godliness, if we have received every spiritual blessing in heavenly places, then there is no reason the love in our marriage should fail.

Again, if you feel like love has left your marriage, it’s because you’re not doing marriage right. Don’t misunderstand me. I am not saying that love is a clinical set of rules that can be followed without any expectation of feelings or romance. What I am saying is that love is a series of attributes that, when embraced, creates the emotional ties and feelings that never fail. Love is not the feelings, but the actions that precipitate the feelings. That’s an important point to remember. One of the main reasons that the divorce rate is as high in the church as it is in the world, I believe, is that we have reduced love to a “secondhand emotion” and a “sweet old-fashioned notion,” as Tina Turner said. We have bought into the world’s definition of love instead of God’s. We are dependent on emotion, and when emotions change, we assume love has failed.

Excerpt from “Happily… Even After” now available on Amazon.

BARRY STAGNER

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