Today we attend a wedding thanksgiving ceremony of our church friends and I wanna share with you the message of “LOVE” that our pastor advised the couple yet also serves as a reminder particularly to myself.
Every word in the Bible was written with a purpose so it doesn’t need to instruct the believers to do things we have done naturally or with obvious reason (can you find “thou shall not forget to eat” or “thou shall not forget to breathe” :P). So, when Ephesians 5:28 says “Husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies“, it must have been unnatural thing for a husband to love their wife (and so does when the Ephesians 5:22 says “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord“, it is not a natural thing for a wife to obey and respect their husband). God knows the best of the why’s.
Nonetheless, our pastor tossed an interesting question to the groom, “Who asked you to love your wife at the very first time?”
Now stop for a while and if you are married (and ‘keep calm and stay smiling’ :P), ask that same question to yourself (for men) and for women: “Who asked you to submit, obey, and respect your husband at the very first time?”
Having those verses from the Ephesians by default in our mind at the very first we love our spouse is clearly not the answer because even unbelievers can truly love their wife/husband since at the beginning. Yet, why that “love” has to experience the “ups-and-downs”? Why that “love” can disappear after some time? Why our “love” in many occurrences has turned into something like a ‘reaction’, determined by how good or bad the other person act?
The answer is, because that kind of love we think we have is called “eros love“. I googled it to have more exact definition, and the Wiki refers it to “intimate love” or “romantic love”. It is one of the four loves which terms were used in the ancient Greek (the other three are ‘storge: family love’, ‘philia: friendship love’, and ‘agape: selfless love’). The Bible potrays this eros love in the Old Testament book, The Song of Solomon. A man-woman romantic relationship is always started out from this love, eros love.
Apparently, the ‘love’ word used in the Ephesians (as well as in 1 Corinthians 13’s definition of love) has a very much deeper meaning than that, they refer to the ‘agape love’, the selfless love, the love that God has shown us through the life of His Son, Jesus Christ, and how He has selflessly sacrificed Himself at the cross to redeem our sins, that is to make our position as a righteous instead of sinner in front of God; no matter what mistakes we have done, do, or will do!
It is very unnatural for us to love others with this agape love, almost as ‘impossible’. Yet God never ask us to do impossible things without He giving us the sufficient grace. I so much want to believe this, that it is possible to love my husband with this agape love, the sacrificial kind of love.
All of sudden I realize how I have loved my husband selfishly throughout all this time!
Yes I do love him very much otherwise I wouldn’t marry him, but the reason that ‘love’ is often get distracted by ‘annoying things he do’ is because I haven’t loved him with the agape love, that is clearly a kind of love that is still very much affected by emotion!
I realize how I am still very childish in loving my husband, it looks like I’ve been acting like a “nagging girlfriend” rather than being “a loving wife” I should be. A girlfriend can demand things and actions from their boyfriend either as ‘proof of love’ or simply to satisfy the girl’s self esteem (it’s great if you don’t). However, a wife has entered a covenant with God that she and her husband are now “ONE” (“This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one” – Matthew 19:5). One is simply ‘whole’ and ‘undivided’, I think these verses describe the best in practically what kind of ‘teamwork‘ husband and wife should have:
“…agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.
Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.
Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too” – Philippians 2:2-4
We are now entering the second year of our marriage (2 years 3 months, to be precise), and it is still at the very young unripe age. I thank God so much to rebuke me now so I still have time to do big mind-and-life-changing improvement of how I should love my husband (as the leading verse I receive for this year of 2013, Romans 12:2, you might wanna take a peek at my “2013 project”). Surely God is wanting to undergo a major construction in my mind!
Now I’m looking for ways to implement this in practical, so kindly give me some other time to reflect by my own before I post ‘the result’ in another entry, but for now one short sentence to summarize my resolution regarding this is:
#1 “Stop being a nagging girlfriend, start becoming a loving wife like Christ wants me to be”
I’ve always said that ‘marriage needs work’, instead of directing it one way only toward my husband sometimes through some unrealistic and unnecessary expectations, I now have to take a big gulp of humility by practicing it starting from myself…