How do we offer this countercultural love to our spouses? First, we experience God’s love for ourselves and then learn to depend on his faithful provision. Though we seldom dwell on this reality, we love because God first loved us (1 John 4:19). He created us with a primal longing to receive his love. This longing takes up residence in our souls and compels us to seek after the source.
The imperfect, inconsistent love we receive from our parents and our siblings, from our friends and our spouses, only whets our appetites to the possibility of something more satisfying. Through painful trial and error, we learn that the perfect version can be found only in Christ. As we regularly receive his love, it empowers and emboldens us to offer it to others.
To remain on the path of transformation and continue to love our spouses sacrificially, we must stay connected to God. His love is not meant to be a onetime download. We need regular, even daily, upgrades. Jesus’ instruction to his disciples applies to us today: “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. . . . For apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:4–5).
By staying connected to the Father, we not only receive his love but also discern how he is at work in our beloved’s life. He gives us the capacity to see beyond our spouses’ present limitations and preexisting wounds so that we can affirm God’s call even when the clouds of doubt obscure their vision. After speaking words of hope over our spouses, we then walk shoulder to shoulder, in sickness and in health, in poverty and in abundance, to help them realize that call.
Dorothy Littell Greco is the author of Making Marriage Beautiful: Lifelong Love, Joy, and Intimacy Start with You. She is a writer, speaker, and photographer. © 2017 Dorothy Greco. Making Marriage Beautiful: Lifelong Love, Joy, and Intimacy Start with You is published by David C Cook. All rights reserved. Used by permission.