Saturday, May 30, 2015

The Best Description of Love Ever

Something that really stood out to me in Gary Chapman’s book The Marriage You’ve Always Wanted was his description (not definition) of love. He found it in 1 Corinthians 13-4-8. We’ve all heard it a million times, especially at weddings, “inspiring even unbelievers with its beauty and poetry.” But have you ever thought about what it could really mean as far as practical application in your marriage? Read it again slowly, as he suggests:

         Love is patient and kind;
         Love does not envy or boast;
         It is not arrogant or rude.
         It does not insist on its own way;
         It is not irritable or resentful;
         It does not rejoice in wrongdoing,
         But rejoices with the truth.
         Love bears all things,
         Believes all things,
         Hopes all things,
         Endures all things.
         Love Never Ends (ESV).

Dr. Chapman shares, “The passage is too strong to digest in one sitting, so just take a few of the key ideas. Love is patient and kind, never demanding its own way; not a ‘know-it-all,’ but understanding, slow to take offense; courteous; it exhibits a positive attitude toward problems. All these characteristics of love are directed toward the well-being of the one loved.”

Is this how you show love to your spouse? I have to admit, I am sorely lacking in living up to this description. Especially that patience thing. Do you ever get irritable with your spouse for small things that, in the grand scheme of things, really don’t matter? Are you always courteous and kind? Do you hold grudges? This is a really great guide for all of us to follow if what we really desire is for our spouses to know we love them and for them to feel that love.

Take the time this week to go over this passage with you honey (slowly) and commit to using it as a guide to know how to love your spouse.

And please share with the rest of us what you learned by commenting here.

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Friday, May 22, 2015

What Does It Mean To Be One?

Now that you know some things to stop and start doing in your relationship, maybe we should talk about how to have the marriage you’ve always wanted. Gary Chapman wrote a book by the same name and I highly recommend you read it.

Let’s start by addressing what it means to be one in marriage. He describes the difference between “being united” and “unity” this way: “When you tie the tails of two cats together and hang them across the fence, you have united them, but then unity is a different matter.” Funny saying, but I know a lot of couples that this describes! The Bible, in Genesis 2:24 says, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” Dr. Chapman adds that the word one here “is the same Hebrew word used of God Himself in Deuteronomy 6:4 where we read, “Hear O Israel: The Lord our God is one.” He talks about the unity of the triune godhead- three Gods, but one God” He goes on to say that, “The members of the Trinity do have varying roles, yet unity. It is unthinkable that members of the Trinity would ever operate as separate entities. From Genesis 1:26 where God said, ’Let us make man in our image’ to Revelation 22:16-21, we find the Trinity working together as a composite unity.”

What does this have to do with my marriage, you ask? The Trinity is our example for unity in marriage. The goal of marriage should be to have a degree of intellectual oneness, social oneness, spiritual oneness, and physical oneness. One thing is for sure- this cannot be accomplished without the third cord in the strand. “Marriage unity is not the kind of unity that eradicates personality,” according to Dr. Chapman; “Rather, it is the kind of unity that frees you to express your own diversity, yet experience complete oneness with your mate. You are free to be all that God intends you to be, while experiencing all that God intended when He united us in marriage. No truth could be more liberating and satisfying.”

If you and your spouse are struggling with unity in any of these four areas, try this exercise that Dr. Chapman recommends:

1. Take a good look at your marriage. We must recognize weaknesses before we can initiate improvements. On a sheet of paper, make four parallel columns with the following headings:

Intellectual     Social         Physical        Spiritual

Under each of these headings, list the characteristics you feel you hold in common with your mate. In which area is your oneness weakest? What could you do to stimulate growth in this area? What will you do?

2. Suggest that your mate read this, make a similar list, and answer the above questions. When you are both feeling good and open to growth, share your results and agree upon actions that will increase your oneness. Concentrate on one area at a time.

Please leave a comment and let me know how this exercise goes for you and your husband or wife. And don’t forget to check out my website for more information about how you can Refresh, Revive, or Reawaken your marriage:

and look for Building Lasting Love on Facebook for tips on marriage, kids, and relationships.

Next time: The Best Description of Love Ever