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The Love Dare: Day 10

  • Day 10

    Love is Unconditional

    God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ dies 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 mention their wife’s beauty, her sense of humor, her kindness, her inner strength.  They might talk about her cooking, her knack for decorating, or what a good mother she is.

    Women would probably say something about their husband’s good looks or his personality.  They’d commend him for his steadiness and consistent character.  They’d say they love him because he’s always there for them. He’s generous.  He’s helpful.

    But what if over the course of years, your wife or husband stopped being every one of those things.  Would you still love them?  Based on your answers above, the only logical response would be “no.”  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(pronounced uh-GOP-ay).

    It differs from the other types of love, which are – phileo (friendship) and eros(sexual love).  Both friendship and sex have an important place in marriage, of course, and are definitely part of the house you build together as husband and wife.  But if your marriage totally depends on having common interests or enjoying a healthy sex life, then the foundation of your relationship is unstable.

    Phileo and eros are more responsive in nature and can fluctuate based upon feelings.  Agape love, on the other hand, is selfless and unconditional.   So unless this kind of love forms the foundation of your marriage, the wear and tear of time will destroy it.  Agape love is in “sickness and health” love, “for richer or poorer” love, “for better or worse” love.  It is the only kind of love that is true love.

    That’s because this is God’s kind of love.  He doesn’t love use because we are lovable but because He is so loving.  The Bible says, “In this love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10).  If He insisted that we prove ourselves worthy of His love, we would fail miserably.  But God’s love is a choice He makes completely on His own.  It’s something we receive from Him and then share with others.  “We love, because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19).

    If a man says to his wife, “I have fallen out of love with you,” he is actually saying, “I never loved you unconditionally to begin with.”  His love was based on feelings or circumstances rather than commitment.  That’s the result of building a marriage on phileo or eros love.  There must be a stronger foundation than mere friendship or sexual attraction.  Unconditional love,agape love, will not be swayed by time or circumstance.

    That’s 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 lovers is based on unwavering commitment, you will experience an intimacy that cannot be achieved 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.

    The Scriptures say that “neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).  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.

      

    He who trusts in the Lord, loving kindness shall surround him.  (Psalm 32:10)

     

     Click here to buy a copy of the Love Dare book.

     

    Material taken from The Love Dare by Stephen and Alex Kendrick, copyright © 2009 by B&H Publishing Group. Used by permission.  Unauthorized reproduction in any format is strictly prohibited by law.

     

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9 comments
  • 3
Mark Duell
Mark Duell That's the love that has held this marriage together all these years. Thank you Father for your "agape" love. Thank you for loving the unlovable. Thank you for showing us the unconditional love. 
February 10, 2016
  • 1
Sylvia Todd
Sylvia Todd Amen, brother! God is the perfect example of agape love, one that we will never fully attain, but can only reach for.
February 10, 2016
  • 3
Carol Pady
Carol Pady Amen!  When beauty fades with age and physical attraction has waned, the deeper truer agape grows. As we begin our golden years, our ways of demonstrating our affection change. Instead of physical attraction, comes other attractions, such as working together on a project, watching a movie together, walking together, talking together, simply just enjoying being in each others presence. That is agape to me. Even smiling to myself when Jim does something that I have always found annoying and thinking , that's Jim, and realizing it doesn't bother me like it did when we were first married. Realizing if he was gone I would miss all the little anoyances.
February 10, 2016
  • 1
Sylvia Todd
Sylvia Todd That's a beautiful way to put it, Carol :)!
February 10, 2016
  • 2
Audry Reddy
Audry Reddy Praise God and I thank Him for this message today!! The part 'even if your marriage started out for the wrong reasons" it can be restored and redeemed!!
February 10, 2016
  • 2
Sylvia Todd
Sylvia Todd Yes, it can, especially if a couple can grow together in Him!
February 10, 2016
  • 1
Sylvia Todd
Sylvia Todd I think the idea of agape love is amazing, that love that brought our heavenly Father to send His Son to sacrifice Himself for our sake. I don't know if we can ever fully grasp the whole of what that means. When it comes to relationships, I think the simple core of this is "don't be so critical". in the movies, they used to commonly use a lens filter (on women, especially) to blur the fine lines and imperfections. In what I'm sure is an imperfect view, I think of God as seeing the beauty that He made in us, and that Jesus covers over the other things like that filter. Really, I know He covers it more completely than that, but I think it's a neat image ;-).  That said, I don't think this literally means that we just let all things go in our relationships. The line in this chapter, "But what if over the course of years, your wife or husband stopped being every one of those things.", I believe was meant as an illustration to visualize what God's agape love for us is. I'm mentiong this because there are people on this site who are dealing with abuse, and I don't want them especially to think that we are recommending they just live with it. There are also issues like adultery and addictions. While we may even learn to love a person who does even all of these things, as God does, being married to them, trusting them in your home, is another matter.  For other, less critical but maybe important to you, things, there is nothing wrong with talking about them and learning from each other, if done with the right attitude and with a commitment to working all things out together :).
February 10, 2016
  • 2
<i>Deleted Member</i>
Deleted Member We are so blessed in our marriage, because we have always loved each other unconditionally. We are there for each other no matter what comes our way, because by trusting in Jesus and giving Him our marriage from the beginning, He has always been there with us through sickness, and through all of life's challenges. God put us together and nothing, nor any one can separate what God has joined together. We will soon be celebrating our 35th Anniversary and I pray we have 35 more years plus to keep on celebrating. 
February 11, 2016- Edit- Delete
  • 1
Sylvia Todd
Sylvia Todd That is so wonderful that y'all have stood through the test of time so well! God bless you both!
February 11, 2016