If you’ve ever been head-over-heels in love, it is a wonderful place to be. I was 16 when I fell in love with Joe, so I was young, we were in love, and we had all the feels, all the time.
Those early in-love feelings were effortless in the beginning, and let’s face it, we didn’t really know each other’s faults then. We didn’t know all the ways we would aggravate each other. We didn’t know how much it would sting when we hurt each other. We only knew how happy we felt.
Turns out those feelings, however powerful they are in the beginning, aren’t enough to sustain a lifelong marriage. True love - the kind that lasts a lifetime - is not a feeling but a choice you make every day. Paul says in Colossians 3 that love is something that you put on every day. Love is not a feeling that happens to happen to you.
You can choose how you get dressed.
When I wake up, will I look at my husband and put on a little bit of criticism, a layer of resentment, and top it off with some pride? Or will I clothe myself with kindness, humility, and patience? Yes, don’t forget plenty of patience!
Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. Colossians 3:12-14
Love is what we put on. We can choose to treat our spouse with kindness, to be humble and patient. Even when we don’t find them lovable, we choose to love like Christ has loved us. It’s what binds us together.
God didn’t wait until we were lovable to love us. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8) He chose to love us unconditionally. Giving His all, His life, to bring us closer to Him.
God’s goal for marriage is not for us to be “in love.” God’s plan for our marriage is to learn to love... to be a living, breathing example of Christ and His great love for the Church.
Does that mean we never feel in love? Of course not! But those feelings are a by-product of extending that sacrificial, Christ-like love to each other. Of choosing to love on the days we don’t feel like it. Even if every day is not a page out of a romance novel, our marriage can be a love story that points others to Christ!