The definition of love is described as the ultimate expression of God’s loyalty, purity, grace, and mercy that is extended towards His people. It is to be reflected in human relationships of brotherly concern, marital fidelity, and adoration of God. You really can’t get any better than this. Heavenly Father desires that we, as His beloved sons and daughters, spiritually grow to the point that we are able to demonstrate His kind of love. 1Corinthians 13:7 (The Message) tells us the way that God’s kind of love behaves. It says, “Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, doesn’t have a swelled head, doesn’t force itself on others, isn’t always “me first,” doesn’t fly off the handle, doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, doesn’t revel when others grovel, takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, puts up with anything, trusts God always, always looks for the best, never looks back, but keeps going to the end.”
I heard a story recently of a newly married couple that had not allowed themselves to be fully developed in God’s love. The man often told his wife that he loved her with all his heart, and that he felt his love for her deeply in his soul, but on occasions when he’d get upset, he would ignore her for days. He would not speak to her and would intentionally do things to hurt her feelings. She expressed such heavy disappointment in his behavior and said that she had not seen this characteristic in him before they married. Both of these individuals are Christians, and yet neither were prepared for the complexities that come with marrying someone who has idiosyncrasies that are contrary to the ways of Christ.
Many of us are deceived, and do not realize the extent to which the enemy will attack a marital union. Spouses have very intimate information about each other; and therefore, have access to each other’s sorest and most vulnerable spots. When either of them allows the enemy to work through them in a heated argument or disagreement, the damage can cut deep, with wounds that are sometimes incredibly difficult to heal.
It should be no surprise to any Christian that the devil will attempt to use a spouse to go for the jugular. As a single person that is praying to cross the path of your future spouse, this is one of the most important reasons you need to pray unyieldingly that you are prepared for marriage. It is crucial that you know the difference between God’s love—real love, and a counterfeit love, because not being able to discern the two will cost you.
Any of us can tell a person all day long “I love you,” but the true story behind those words are found in what a person does, not so much in what they say. And we must be careful even about this element of distinction. Many sisters will take the smallest, most insignificant gesture from the object of their affection, and they will magnify it to make themselves comfortable with accepting less.
The greatest way for you to measure the quality of love that you’ll receive in a marriage is to take a bold, in depth, and ridiculously honest look at the love you give. Ultimately the love you give is the measure of love that will come back to you. Luke 6:38 (NLT) says, “Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.” As believers who love and adore our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, we must develop a habit pattern of love, giving, and sharing prior to taking that walk down the aisle. We should be so comfortable with a daily commitment of loving action that marriage is just a natural and organic extension of the way you live.■