The term “falling in love” gives you the idea that love is some overwhelming feeling that slams into you and there is nothing you can do to resist it. People talk about it as if love just takes you over by force and you “fall” right into it.
That sounds so romantic and mysterious, and in the beginning of a relationship I suppose that term carries some validity. I remember the first time that I ever saw Trudi. I thought she was the most beautiful, sweet creature I had ever seen. I loved looking at her, being with her, smelling her, and talking to her for hours on end. Seeing her come into view as she walked toward me in the hallway at school was almost more than I could stand.
I still like to look at her because she is so beautiful. I still love to smell her, and I still love all those other things I mentioned, but now after 36 years of marriage, our love is based on a lot more than that. It is based in a word—commitment.
If you base your love for your spouse on feelings alone, someday you’re going to find that feelings change like the tides. It’s your commitment to love that will keep your marriage flowing and growing.
Let me illustrate with something that just happened.
Trudi and I travel all the time. Every weekend we are flying to some church or seminar. We are together practically every waking moment. Just last week we had finished a meeting in Texas, and we were driving to another church to preach the next day. It was late in the day and we were tired.
As we got into our hotel room, I noticed that the tone of Trudi’s conversation was changing. I can’t remember the exact words she used, but as we were taking our luggage into the room, she told me that I was talking disrespectfully to her. (Looking back, she wasn’t mad or short with me. She was just addressing my attitude.)
In all honesty, I had been talking to her disrespectfully, but I didn’t even realize I was doing anything wrong. (So much of the time, men are just oblivious.) As Trudi scolded me a little bit for my insensitivity and bad attitude, (I was stressed a little bit, but it was a soft rebuke.) I found myself ready to fire back some words in self-defense.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not perfect at this, and I don’t always handle these things perfectly, but at that moment I made the decision that I was not going to fight with her. This would have been an outstanding place to try to defend myself and escalate the situation (which my flesh wanted to do), but I bit my lip and shut up and didn’t say a word in my defense.
I decided it might be best if I left and got some gas for the car. While I was in the store, I found a display with some fresh flowers. It was the middle of January, and I was surprised to find flowers that beautiful. So I bought Trudi a bouquet.
As I walked back into the room, I smiled and showed her the flowers and said, “Would you forgive me?”
The whole mood of that room changed instantly, and we ended up having a wonderful, relaxing evening.
What is my point? Love is much more than a feeling. It has to do with committing to do right, even when it is not convenient, and acting on the Word of God. Look at this verse in I Corinthians 13.
Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong]. I Corinthians 13:5 AMP
Now I’m not saying that we should never confront each other if disagreements arise, but there is a right time to disagree and a right way to do it.
As I said, I’m not perfect in this. I’m growing in the process of walking in love more and more every day. I’m learning the love way through the wisdom of God’s Word.
The love way is the victory way.
The love way is the commitment way.
And the love way never fails!