The Sweet Christian Bride

Lasting Love

by admin on June 7, 2012 in Faith, Relationship with No Comments

Don’t you just love the feeling of being in love?  Being so pleasantly distracted from everything else by the rush of anticipation, the warmth of acceptance, and the awe of your man’s greatness?  It really is awesome.

The only problem is, the feeling of love is not sustainable.  It ebbs and flows depending on circumstance and season.  Fortunately, God knows this.  His design for marriage is for a husband and wife to love each other forever, despite their feelings of love (or lack thereof).

God fuels us to love our spouse unconditionally when we aren’t compelled by our feelings to love him.  We love because God first loved us.

Loving even when you don’t feel in love is not disappointing.  This kind of love, agape love, defies the depths of eros love (love as a feeling, or romantic love), but it takes a journey of trust, patience, and humility to discover that.  If you have never been taught the difference between agape and eros, then you can easily be mislead in the midst of a distant or irritable season of marriage.

I was reading a cute little article, “7 Quirky Facts about Chemistry,” about how the way we are wired affects the way we become attracted to someone.  Two of the points that Laura Schaefer makes in the article prove my point that mainstream culture does not understand that unconditional love has little to do with feeling in love.

The first point was that doing risky things together helps to speed up attraction because “adrenaline helps you bond with your date quickly.”  This is so true.  A boyfriend and I were spared from multiple car accidents together (he was not the most careful driver), and I thought I was going to marry him (he was not a good catch).  When the adrenaline is rooted in something exciting like a roller coaster, the effect might be relatively benign, but when the adrenaline is rooted in emergencies and tragedies, it mixes with vulnerability in a way that can trick you into thinking he is the only one who will be able to understand the depth of what you just went through.

I also dated a guy once who was verbally abusive, and I thought I was going to marry him.  Sounds absurd.  It even sounded absurd to me then, but I was persuaded by my depth of vulnerability with him.  It seemed like love because we were so raw with each other.  And as he would say things that would deeply hurt me, he would then comfort me, creating this strange blur of emotions that told me he was there for me when I needed it most.  Now I can see that vulnerability doesn’t equal love.  In an abusive relationship, one’s vulnerability is exploited; in a loving relationship it is protected.  From a “feeling” stand-point, however, it’s not always easy to understand the difference.  That’s why people stay in bad relationships.

The other point she made was that love fades over time, so people should “try something new with [their] partner to keep [their] passion fires burning.”  There is truth to this in the sense that we don’t want to fall into mindless ruts in our marriages.  The error, however, is that change is what keeps passion in a marriage.  It certainly can, but change is not dependable.  If change is the mindset, then it’s easy to let “change” include your choice of spouse, which is not the direction that God intends marriages to go.

Passion is maintained by growing in knowledge, history, admiration, trust, intimacy, and ultimately, friendship with your spouse.  It’s also a physical and emotional fire that does not need to be stoked 24 hours a day if the foundation of your relationship is rich enough.  True passion that is rooted in the oneness of a husband and wife is like a welcomed guest who comes by invitation and whose presence brings romance and adventure into a marriage.  It is not a long-term boarder whose lingering presence puts a pressure on a husband and wife to feed and entertain it; that kind of passion turns a wonderful relational dynamic into co-dependency.

A marriage rooted in Christ will suffer the same storms as those outside of His will.  The difference is that Christ’s love and passion endures.  Man’s love and passion is fickle, changing with the whims of his own appetite.  Plant your marriage on Christ the solid rock.  He will bring more romance and adventure into your marriage than you ever could have conjured on your own.

By Lindsay

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