Last week, I talked about love secrets that increase your ability to be the godly husband. Today, I am want to add more about love secrets.
No pain, no gain
You may have heard this: “If it has to be, it’s up to me.” You may have heard your athletic coach tell you, while running wind sprints on a football field or dashing up and down the basketball court, “If it doesn’t hurt you, it’s not doing you any good.” In the development of a marital relationship, whenever you take a new step and venture into the unknown emotionally, you are bound to experience some anxiety. Some fear is natural when you commit to a new relationship or confront a problem in your marriage.
By remaining stuck, you can try avoiding reality. By refusing to work out the difficulty in your relationship, you can convince yourself that the relationship is basically sound and will last. Sooner or later, this bubble of self-delusion will burst. Stop thinking of yourself as fragile. You won’t realize how strong you are until you stop putting up with problems in your love relationship and take steps toward change. Change is painful. But if there is no pain, there is no gain.
Ask yourself, “What are the most painful events in my life?” What did you learn from those difficult times that caused you to be the person that you are today? Or have you put your head in the sand to avoid reality, refusing to face the problems you need to face to become the person God wants you to be?
Don’t let your parents’ marriage control yours
The Bible says, “For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh” (Mt 19:5). Notice the words "leave" and "cleave." When you get married, you leave the authority your parents have to control your life. You do not have to call home to see where you will have Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. You do not have to call your mother or father to get their approval for anything you are doing.
You are a new family unit with the sovereign blessing of Almighty God to do and to become what your divine destiny dictates. When your parents invade your space with their opinions, you may listen politely and totally ignore everything they say. You may be blessed with parents who are wise and whose counsel you seek out. This is an entirely different manner than allowing your parents’ marriage to control your marriage. Was your parents’ marriage an ideal marriage, or was it a perpetual war zone?
Did you explode in anger over small matters and later regret what you said because of the conduct of your father? Do you have an alcohol, drug, or food addiction that destroys the relationship with your wife or fiancee because you are allowing your parents’ marriage to control you? Do you suffer from fears of rejection, disapproval, or abandonment because your parents’ relationship is till affecting you?
Ask yourself this question: “Do I want a marriage just like that of my parents?” The vast majority of times, the answer will be a resounding no. Then, with the guidance of God, take your spouse by the hand and determine that you will leave your parents and cleave to your wife to produce heaven on earth in your home.
How to put love first to make love last
The Bible describes the complexity and majesty of God with these three words “God is love” (1Jn 4:16). When Jesus completed His ministry, He commanded the disciples, “Love one another as I have loved you” (Jn 15:12). Christ gave His love when it was not deserved to people who did not deserve it. That’s a principle you are going to have to practice in your marriage if it’s to be an exciting and enduring marriage.
There will come a time when you will need to give love to your spouse, love that is not deserved, and give it joyfully. We are all angels with one wing, and we need each other to fly. Marriage is God’s idea, and it is the microcosm of heaven on earth. But the glue that holds it together is the unconditional love of God one for the other. Love is the one ingredient of which our world never tires and of which there is never an overabundance. The world will never outgrow its need for love. God crated us in His own image, which means we were created to function on the fuel of love. Paul said, “Our love for God and for our neighbor is the fulfillment of all the Law of God” (Rom 13:8).
The world cries out for genuine love, love that heals, love that unites, love that forgives, love that encourages. Dr. Karl Menninger, famed American psychiatrist, found that people who are able to give and receive love recover more quickly from their illness. He stated, “Love cures people-both the ones who give it and the ones who receive it.” In contrast, individuals who lack love often develop personality scars and often die. Love is essential to our emotional, physical, mental, and social well-being. Our lives are shaped by those who love us and by those who refuse to love us. For sure, love will keep your marriage and the children that come from that marriage alive. If you give love away, it will be renewed each day and become stronger and purer.
What you believe to be so becomes so
The Bible says, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he” (Prov 23:7). If you believe your marriage to be beyond the point of redemption, no one can save it. If you don’t want your marriage to work, even God Himself can’t help you.
God has given you the power of choice. As powerful as God is, He cannot answer prayer until it’s prayed. You must choose to pray. As powerful as God is, He can’t force you to love Him. You must choose to love Him. As powerful as God is, He cannot force you to love your wife. You must choose to love her. Many times that has to be an act of your will...not emotion.
Your attitude is contagious
What is an attitude? Your attitude is the advance man of your true self. Its roots are hidden, but its fruit is always visible. Your attitude is your best friend or your worst enemy. It draws people to you or repels people from you. Your attitude is never content until it’s expressed. It determines your success or your failure. It does not depend on the circumstances of your life.
Your speech is a reflection of your attitude. Stop saying, “I can’t,” and start saying, “I can do all things through Christ.” Stop saying, “If...,” and start saying, “I will by God’s grace.” Stop saying, “It’s impossible for my marriage to improve,” and start saying, “If you have faith...nothing will be impossible for you” (Mt 17:20). Stop saying, “I don’t know the right people.” If you know God, you know the right people. Stop saying, “I’m too old.” Moses was eighty years old when God called him to set Israel free from Egyptian bondage. He died at one hundred twenty years of age and walked to his own funeral.
Old is when your friends compliment you on your new alligator shoes, and you are barefooted. Your attitude will determine the quality of your marriage. Have you been hurt? Get over it. Have you been unjustly criticized? Get over it. One of my favorite quotations of all times is one by President Calvin Coolidge, who said, “Press on. Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is the full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”
Life can be a grindstone. Whether it grinds you down or polishes you depends on what you are made of. Are you made of the right stuff? Grinding makes a diamond shine with brilliant radiance. Grinding reduces dirt to dust. Are you diamond or dust? Adversity is the opportunity for your marriage to improve. Your attitude toward adversity will determine whether you make progress or self-destruct. A rubber band is effective only when it’s stretched. A turtle gets nowhere until it sticks its neck out. Kites rise against the wind, not with it. A tiny seed has to struggle and push its way up through the rock and hard soil. It fights its way up to the sunshine, only to wrestle with storms, then snow, and then frost before it becomes a mighty oak. Your marriage must learn to endure adversity to reach achievement. Your attitude toward adversity will determine your accomplishments.