Friday, February 20, 2009

Day 10: Love is Unconditional

God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.---Romans 5:8

If someone were to ask you, "Why do you love your wife?" or "Why do you love your husband?"---what would you say?

Most men would probably say something about their wife's beauty, her sense of humor, her kindness, her inner strength. Women would probably say something about their husband's good looks or his personality, that he's generous. He's helpful. But what if over the course of years, your wife or husband stopped being every one of these things. Would you still love them? If your reasons for loving your spouse all have something to do with his or her qualities, and then those same qualities suddenly or gradually disappear. Your basis for love is over.

The only way love can last a lifetime is if it's unconditional. The truth is this: love is not determined by the one being loved but rather by the one choosing to love.

The Bible refers to this kind of love by using the Greek word agape. It differs from the other types of love, which are phileo (friendship) and eros (sexual love). Both friendship and sex are important in a marriage, and are definitely part of the house you build together as husband and wife. But if your marriage totally depends on having common interested or enjoying a healthy sex life, then the foundation of your relationship is unstable.

and Eros love fluctuate based on feelings, Agape love is selfless and unconditional. Agape love is "in sickness and in health" love, "for richer or poorer" love, "for better or worse" love. It is the only kind of love that is true love.

That is not to say, though, that love which began for the wrong reasons cannot be restored and redeemed. In fact, when you rebuild your marriage with agape as its foundation, then the friendship and romantic aspects of your love become more endearing than ever before. When your enjoyment of each other as best friends and loves is based on unwavering commitment, you will experience an intimacy that cannot be achieves any other way.

But you will struggle and fail to attain this kind of marriage unless you allow God to begin growing His love within you. Love that "bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things" (1 Corinthians 13:7) does not come from within. It can only come from God. This is God's kind of love. And thankfully, by your choice, it can become your kind of love. But first you must receive it and share it.

And don't be surprised, when your spouse begins living confidently under its shade, if he or she doesn't become even more lovable to you than you remember. You will no longer say, "I love you because..." You will now say, "I love you, period."

Today's Dare
Do something out of the ordinary today for your spouse, something that proves (to you and to them) that your love is based on your choice and nothing else. Wash her car. Clean the kitchen. Buy his favorite dessert. Fold the laundry. Demonstrate love to them for the sheer joy of being their partner in marriage.

***So...I was a day late..OOoopps...I was moving :) I will be taking a break (but still applying everything I have learned the last 10 days) while Zach and I are in NY. Love Dare will be resumed when we return next Friday.

P.S. If you are planning to move any time soon, it is REALLY, REALLY hard to practice patience from Day prepared!

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