Chapter Nine Unconditional Love
So far we have looked at two of the essential elements in a marriage and family relationship. We have looked at a lifelong commitment to the covenant, with a view toward understanding the necessity of staying committed to the covenant which was created by God alone, and not by man. We have also looked at the common shared identity between the husband and the wife. And now let’s go on and examine
the third essential element in a Godly, heartfelt marriage and family relationship, which is an unconditional love between one husband and one wife.
Our God has created and designed the marriage and family relationship in such a way as to need a real, genuine, heartfelt, through-thick-and-thin, till-death-do-us-part love. Without this key element, the whole relationship withers and dries up, and eventually it dies. A husband and wife are to love each other with the same unconditional love that God himself has towards us. This unconditional
love is one which leads us to honour one another, to esteem one another, to consider one another’s welfare above their own, and to stay by one another’s side through the everyday challenges of life’s mountains and valleys.
The Apostle Paul tells husbands that they are specifically to love their wives (See Eph. 5:25, Col. 3:19.) And the wife is also expected specifically to “love their husbands.” Paul instructs a young Elder and Pastor named Timothy that he was to teach the older woman that they were to in turn to teach the younger “woman to be sober, to love their husbands.” (See Titus 2:5.) This is a love that
continually grows through the years. It doesn’t happen automatically when someone speaks their vows before the witness of God and men, and places a ring on their finger. It is a life-long labor of love at best.
It is true that there are many wonderful and deep feelings that are experienced by a couple who court each other, fall in love, and marry. And God has given them this love, but this love was never intended to support and sustain a marriage and family relationship. Yes, this is love, but beloved it’s only human love. And mere human love is at its very best only temporary in its nature. And human
love will, (and it always does), fade over time. What is needed is not mere human love, (which was intended by God to ignite the fire,) but real godly love, which cannot be moved or shaken. And which causes the relationship to grow over time in the lives of the husband and wife. This is a far deeper and more practical dimension than that romantic aspect that is experienced in the beginning, a love that they both thought at the
beginning would last forever, but they find that they have to work at loving each other.
Remember how that we saw that God instructed Moses to build the tabernacle after the “pattern” that He had showed him on the mountain. (See Exod. 25:40.) Well, God has also left us, as husbands and wives His perfect “pattern” so that we will be able to follow after it. And this “pattern” is a pattern of unconditional love from God to us in our everyday lives.
And we find it in 1 Corinthians chapter 13, verses 1- 8. As we take a close look at this “pattern,” consider for a little while the practical ways that charity (which is love in action), can and must be applied to the marriage and family relationship.
The passage opens by saying that if we were able to “speak with the tongues of men and of angels,” and were able to “understand all mysteries, and all knowledge,” and have so much faith that we “could remove mountains.” And even if we were to give everything that we owned to “feed the poor,” and even if we were to give our body to be burned, without charity, which is love in action, it is all
meaningless. I want you to know and understand that love as it is defined here must be applied to all of our relationships, and it is especially true in our marriage and family.
Now let’s take out a little time to consider the elements of love in action.
• LOVE is PATIENT; it forgives and overlooks her faults even when they appear over and over again.
• LOVE is KIND and washes the dishes without grumbling and complaining when she has had a hard day.
• LOVE never ENVIES; she is never jealous of his position at his work, nor is he for the praise that she receives from others for her kindness.
• LOVE never tries to outdo her, it never keeps score of wrongs that have been done, and doesn’t brag about receiving the highest score.
• LOVE will never be too proud to admit that she may actually know a better way of doing it.
• LOVE is never rude, because they speak to each other with the same respect in private as they do in public.
• LOVE is never SELF-SEEKING, but will take her shopping even on his day off.
• LOVE is not easily angered and does not raise his voice when she does.
• LOVE refuses to keep a record of wrongs but will readily FORGIVE and will not bring it up again later on.
• LOVE will never find happiness in anything that is EVIL, and will never try to get him to do something that is morally wrong.
• LOVE rejoices in the TRUE GOSPEL, and will apply its truths to their lives.
• LOVE will always protect, causing her to feel secure in her home.
• LOVE always believes him and gives him the benefit of the doubt and avoids suspicion.
• LOVE always lives in HOPE; each sharing one COMMON SHARED DREAM even when he has been laid off.
• LOVE always PERSEVERES, it ENDURES and even grows stronger throughout life’s ups and downs.
• LOVE never fails, it will last forever, and even until DEATH DO US PART, even as our health, youth and vigor fade away over time.
Little Child of God this should describe our love for one another, not just between brother and sisters in our home Church, but especially between husband and wives. Our love should be expressed in our patience, kindness, trust, and hope in our everyday lives. We should never have to have some sort of crisis in order for love to come forth. But every man or woman who has chosen to enter into the
marriage and family relationship should manifest it each and every day in a genuine and tender way.
“But what do I do if I’m doing my part, and they’re not doing their part? Should I continue to love when I’m not being loved in return? I wonder if it’s time to throw in the towel.”
No, we don’t throw in the towel, and yes, of course you should love, and love without any reservation, and love unconditionally. I know that it’s probably one of the hardest things to do in life. When one person is doing all of the giving, and sacrificing, and the moving forward, and they feel like they are doing it all by themselves. But consider for just a moment how that it was Jesus Christ who
came to us here in this old sinful world. He laid aside His glory and came down from heaven, and endured the “likeness of sinful flesh.” And He even became our sacrifice, even though we, because of our sinful nature would not give Him anything in return. He loved us even though we did not love Him in return! Beloved if anyone had reason to stop loving…He did. If He could come down here and suffer and bleed for all of His elect,
then what kind of love ought we to have for one another, especially we who enter into the marriage and family relationship?
Well as we close this chapter let each of us examine ourselves, and ask God to show us how that perhaps we may be falling short of this kind of unconditional love. And ask Him to bless us to follow after the “pattern” of Christ Jesus. And in the next chapter we will take a look at the necessity of a “TWO-SIDED SUBMISSION.”