Sunday, October 26, 2008

Love Dare- Day 10!

Yesterday's Followup: When and where did you choose your special greeting? How will change your greeting from this point on?

Love is Unconditional!

God demonstrates His own love for us, in that while we were sinners, Christ died for us.- Romans 5.8

If someone were to ask you, "Why do you love your spouse?"- what would you say? Most men could mention their wife's beauty, sense of humor, kindness, inner strength. Women would probably mention their husband's good looks, personality, steadiness and/or consistent character.

But what if over the course of years, your spouse 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 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 (uh-GOP-ay) It differs from 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.

Agape love is God's kind of love. He doesn't love us because we are lovable but because He is loving. 1 John 4.10 says, "In this is love, not that we loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins." If he insisted 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 share with others. "We love because He first loved us." I 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. 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 at its foundation, then the friendship and romantic aspects of your love become more endearing that ever before.

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" (I Cor. 13.7) does not come from within. Only from God.

And don't be surprised, when your spouse begins living confidently under its shade(agape love), 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 the car. Clean the kitchen. Buy a favorite dessert. Fold the Laundry. Demonstrate love to them for the sheer joy of being their partner in marriage.


Chelle' said...

If you know me at all outside this blog, if you've ever talked to me in person or on the phone, about anything of imporance- you've probably heard me use the phrase, "IT'S A CHOICE"...

God has really been hammering this one in to me for the past year. Showing me my role and responsibility in different areas of my life.

I may not be able to dictate circumstance, but I can CHOOSE responses.

And there is rarely an issue that I face or that others bring to my attention by where CHOICE is not a factor. We constantly have to be choosing God, Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness, Faithfulness, and Self-Control.

Yesterday's post (and todays) really make this point. I think about it everytime I face a situation.

I truly believe someone could write an entire book about how we are always to CHOOSE RESPONSES despite circumstances. And there is plenty of Biblical reference...

Take Abraham (one of my favorite examples)... when promised that he would be the father of many nations- Romans 4;18-22 Abraham choose to believe God despite the fact that his body was as good as dead. (Read this in context- its a great passage.)

What about Paul... how many times was he persecuted and yet choose to return to preach Christ knowing full well that the circumstances were horrible but his choice was pleasing to the Lord (and ultimately beneficial to those hearing.)

I could think on these things all day. I mean, if nothing else, didn't Jesus provide every example ever needed?? He chose, for the joy set before Him, to endure the cross. Noone, ever (not past present or future) will have more reason to choose to bow out of something with just cause... but he didn't. Because he chose the will of the Father over circumstance...

We have choices. And we have to realize our part in them. Peter had to choose to get out of the boat, in the middle of a storm, when Jesus told him to Come. Jesus didn't grab his hand, or calm the storm, until Peter CHOSE to step out in faith. Until Peter's foot was wet.

We have those choices to make. And a great place to make them is in our marriages. Choosing to greet our spouses in love, choosing to esteem them above ourselves, choosing to be selfless (ouch), choosing to be unconditional regardless of what our spouse may do in the moment...

Let's CHOOSE today! And let me know how it goes.

Mari said...

Something I have done ever since we were married is to greet Bob at the door when he comes home. He has always had a job in which he works later than I do, so I am usually home and able to do this. Anyway - I always greet him with a kiss and hug and we stand together for a few minutes asking each other how the day went. When the kids were still home, they would all line up at the door and greet him first, then I got him. He works late on Saturday night - until 8pm so when he came home I greeted him as I usually do but then told him I was glad to see him home again and hugged him again.

Mama Abby said...

This was pretty convicting as my lack of patience can so often get the best of me and I give Jared less than a warm greeting...

Since we are both doing the Love Dare and we were together most of the day(Saturday) I think we chose little "smooches" more than normal to say, "hey, I'm glad you're here", "I love you"...but I am needing to be reminded of it again as the stress of preparations to go home for my grandma's services and A LOT of other things going on is weighing on us. I need to be reminded, "Yeah, you messed up", but you can CHOOSE to be better, more loving, even the next moment!

And Chelle, I want you to know that I love you and believe and rejoice in my heart at all that the Lord has done in you over the years. I just keep thanking the Lord that we saw each other at Homecoming! Love you friend!

Denise said...

I enjoyed this dare very much. When we woke up this morning, I rolled over, hugged up to my lovebug, and said the following: Did you know that I love you more right now, than I did last night? He said, really, why? I said, because I have been blessed to spend another day with you, and that makes me love you even more. Well, that led to some snuggle time, I love being wrapped in the arms of my lovebug. Later, lovebug had to go run some errands. When he got back home, I had made up a silly little love song for him. I told him to sit down, and then I sang it to him. Here are the words to it, lol: Lovebug, lovebug please don't fly away,lovebug, lovebug please come back and stay. When you leave, it is hard for me to believe, that the sun will ever shine again. But, when you return, you bring with you a rainbow of colors that outshine the sun. I love you hun!! I received a standing ovation, lol Prayer: Dear Lord, thanks for blessing my life with a husband that always puts a beautiful song deep in my heart. He is my maestro, and leads my heart to such lovely melodies. Amen

Posted by Denise at Saturday, October 25, 2008

Nancy said...

This was an easy one for us, we have always greeted each other with a kiss whether just waking up,leaving for work or returning.
Its something I have instilled in my kids as well. It just may be the last time you ever see each other so sealing that with a kiss is a comforting thought.

sailorcross said...

Oh, I am a day behind again!! I'll catch up now that my youngest is winging her way back to Texas!!

Anyway--this was a great big OUCH for me!!

I always snuggled and hugged and kissed my kids when they were little, but now that they've gotten older, I've gotten out of that habit. In fact, (a really big OUCH), sometimes when they come in I will just say "hello" and that's it!!

If I'm busy doing something, I may not even look up at them!! So, this is something I need to change drastically!!

And today, I started!!

First, my daughter was leaving to go back to Texas this morning. She was still asleep when I left for work. I knelt by her, touched her hair, kissed her and told her that I loved her. She was still half asleep, but she reached up and hugged me and said, "I love you, too, Mommy." Mommy--she is 23 and she called me Mommy!!

My son took me to work so that he could use my car to take my youngest back to Baltimore to the airport. I drove to my work, and then we got out of the car so that he could drive back home. As we passed each other, I just reached out, grabbed him, hugged him, gave him a kiss on the cheek and said, "I love you!!!" Needless to say, he was rather astounded--me doing this in the middle of my work parking lot!!

But, trooper that he is--he just hugged me back, kissed me on the cheek and said, "Well, I love you, too, Mutti!! Now, you have a wonderful day, and I'll drive safely to the airport."

This was a wonderful way to start my day!!

Daughter #2--I didn't see her today, so I called her from my work when I knew she wouldn't be busy at her work. I told her that we need to get together more often, I don't see nearly enough of her. She was very silent. Then, she said, "Okay" with that questioning sound. I told her that I loved her and would call her later about when we could get together. And when we do, we will talk about positive things because she thinks I'm always harping at her, and guess what--when I think about it, I am!

And, Chelle', I just wanted you to know that your writings on "choice" is exactly correct. Everything that we do or say is a choice, and we have the power to make the right choice. If we don't know for sure what the choice should be, then we turn to God for the right answer. His answer is always the right one!!