Because Valentine’s Day is coming up, I think it is the appropriate time to address a relevant issue covered in my book, Fiery Darts: Satan’s Weapon of Choice, concerning the definition of love.
When a marriage lacks “love” as defined by society, that is romantic feelings, it becomes inconceivable to those subscribing to society’s definition to remain in the relationship. When it is romance that fuels our relationship then our focus is on the performance or lack thereof of our spouse. (p.72)
In defining love, could it be that we have succumbed to another fiery dart? When we define love according to 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, we find that, “Love is patient and kind; it is not jealous or conceited or proud; love is not ill-mannered or selfish or irritable; love does not keep a record of wrongs;love is not happy with evil, but is happy with the truth. Love never gives up; and its faith, hope, and patience never fail.” (NIV) This is the kind of love Jesus has for us. It is a God-centered view of love. This kind of love will preserve marriage because it brings glory to God and points a sinful world to the reconciling love of its Creator.9 Do we think that we could love like this if we never encountered the situations that had the potential to teach us how to love in this manner? This love is not performance based; it does not require that our earthly comforts, desires, and expectations must be met; it is not self-seeking, which unfortunately defines, for too many us, the basis of our love for others. This type of love can only be found by sitting at the feet of Jesus and allowing Him to teach us how to love as He loves. (pp.72-73)
A clear understanding of the love we should have, as described in the Love Chapter (1 Corinthians 13), expands our definition of love. As Christians we were taught to define love by Christ’s example. I suspect the only way we can love like this is to become more like Christ as we handle the problems we face in our marriages. (p. 73)
So why do I insert this section from my book? Because I believe that Society is out of balance in defining love. We have put way too much emphasis on the romantic aspect of love. It might even be said of Society’s definition of love that if you’re not experiencing romance, then you’re not experiencing love! And to that, I say, “Society! You are way off on your definition!” If we go by Society’s definition then all those married couples who for one reason or another have stayed together in spite of the fact that the romance has gone out of their relationship are fools. Well, maybe that’s a bit strong! How about ‘crazy’?
I would like to encourage all those ‘crazy’ married couples out there who are hanging in there without the benefit of the glue of romantic feelings! First of all, God bless you! Thank you for showing by your example that ‘love’ is spelled ‘c-o-m-m-i-t-m-e-n-t’. By your example, you are redefining ‘love’ and getting closer to its truer meaning. So keep on keeping on! God has some pretty awesome plans for you. Remember Jeremiah 29:11?
“‘For I know the plans I have for you’, declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future,’
To be sure, romance is desirable in a marriage. For those of you who are blessed to still have that, how wonderful! But do not despair if your marriage doesn’t. Learn how to fight the fiery darts that have disheartened and discouraged your marriage. Hold on to the hope that once you have acknowledged and learned how to wage war on the fiery darts attacking your marriage, then the healing of your marriage can begin.
Remember: Romance is a by-product of love but it does not define love! Yep, if you’ve got commitment, then you’ve got a lot of love in your marriage–you are just learning to spell it differently!