Marriage begins with a promise to love. But promises are empty words unless the couple acts on them. Love is a verb. It requires action.
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“Love is a verb. It’s an action. It’s what you do for others.” — Best Marriage Advice from a Focus on the Family Facebook Post
What is the best marriage advice you’ve received? Did someone share words of wisdom at your wedding ceremony? Was it something a friend told you as you walked through a difficult time in your relationship with your spouse?
During a recent Facebook live event, Dr. Greg and Erin Smalley — authors, counsellors and Focus on the Family’s marriage experts — asked viewers to share their best marriage advice. We’re sharing those thoughts as part of the Marriage Meditation series and taking a look at what God’s Word says about these tidbits of truth.
1 John 3:18 — “Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.”
1 John 4:16 — “So we have come to know and believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.”
1 Corinthians 16:14 — “Let all that you do be done in love.”
1 Corinthians 13:7 — “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
Ferdinand Lop was not a political leader but he ran for the French presidency in 1938. While many European leaders were occupied with Germany’s recent annexation of Austria, Lop’s campaign took a decidedly different view of his country’s needs. His campaign promised to eliminate poverty after 10 p.m. and to relocate Paris to the countryside so Parisians could enjoy fresh air. He also promised to pay a stipend to the widow of the unknown soldier. Needless to say, Lop’s campaign failed, but for the next decade, he continued to run for public office with similar promises to the French people.
Ferdinand Lop’s campaign failed because it was, quite literally, a joke. Voters never expected him to keep his outrageous promises. But unlike some of the zany claims we hear from marketers or politicians, we trust that a friend, a loved one or a spouse will keep their word. When promises are broken, trust is broken. And when trust is broken, relationships are broken. That’s because a promise guarantees an action. Love is a verb. It requires action. It’s true in our relationships. Especially the marriage relationship.
Marriage, love and promises
Marriage begins with a promise to love, honour and cherish. But such promises are empty words unless the couple acts on them. Love is a verb. It requires action. While the words of 1 John 3:18 are addressed to the church, they also apply to the husband-wife relationship. “Little children, let us not love in words or talk, but in deed and in truth.”
Loving our spouse requires that we act on behalf of our spouse. We choose to do things with — and for — them. Whether we take on additional household chores, give up a favourite activity to spend time with them or sit quietly and listen when they are hurting, our love is always in motion. Love “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
Love takes it’s cues from the Source of Love and draws strength from Him when our feelings toward our spouse falter or grow dim.
Love is a verb … and much more
It’s true that love requires action. But it’s also much more. Love offers purpose. 1 Corinthians 16:14 says to “let all that you do be done in love.” Love is the reason we commit to our spouse. Care for them. Protect them. Shelter them in life’s storms.
Love is from God. When we lose ourselves in His love, we can freely love our spouse in word and deed. As Bible teacher John Piper explains : “Love is the overflow of joy in God that gladly meets the needs of others."
Heavenly Father, fill me to overflowing with your love so that I may better love my spouse.
What can I do today to show you my love?