What we feel when we fall in love is an inevitable euphoric state that we all revel in. It's wonderful! I am a big fan of romance. Perhaps God designed things this way in order to cause two people to actually make the lifelong commitment to marriage? It certainly helps! :) Every married couple fondly remembers the feeling they felt when all the world was lovely and studded with roses and diamonds just because they had found the love of their lives.
But I have "fallen in love" with my husband over, and over, and over again throughout the years. Each day we are together, side by side shouldering life together, I grow deeper in love with him. It's extremely romantic to grow old with my husband.
It gives us pause to wonder then, with all this euphoria at the beginning of a marriage, why are divorce rates so high? I believe many couples divorce because one or both of them followed their feelings. They did not have charity toward one another.
When a couple applies 1 Corinthians chapter 13 to their marriage, it not only endures but flourishes.
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth. 1Corinthians 13:4-8
Here's the definition of charity from Webster's 1828 Dictionary:
1. In a general sense, love, benevolence, good will; that disposition of heart which inclines men to think favorably of their fellow men to think favorably of their fellow men, and to do them good. In a theological sense, it includes supreme love to God, and universal good will to men. 1 Cor. 8; Col. 3; 1 Tim 1;
I think the act of good will is what love is all about. Doing what is best for another person is loving them well. Acts of kindness and love as well as words. The Bible has a lot to say about words, and for women, our conversation specifically.
If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. James 3:2
Emotions can stir the tongue to destruction. By placing a bridle in the mouth of a horse, the entire horse is controlled. The same is true of an enormous ship's rudder.
If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain. James 1:26
The principle is this: control what you say. So many wish for control over other people or circumstances. And if you can't say something good, right, loving, controlled, encouraging or kind - it's best to say nothing. Whisper a prayer to the Lord for wisdom and patience when you're irritated.
Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.
Being quiet when we feel upset or doubtful about some little thing yields good fruit. So buttoning the lips and spreading a smile across them is truly an act of charity. Contrary to the New Age religion spilling out of Hollywood and the media, YOU are not that important! (Neither am I.) This is not a self esteem issue or who's more valuable than whom.
God said we are to prefer one another. That means put others first.
Let love be without dissimulation (hypocrisy). Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; Rom 12:9-10
As a wife, love your strong man authentically. Never forget the euphoric love you had in the beginning of your relationship that drove you to the wedding altar. Look for ways to stir the fire between you. Look for ways to endear yourself to your man. A good marriage is sprinkled liberally with both feelings of love and acts of charity. It begins with a commitment to submit ourselves to God and then to our husbands.
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Matt 25:40
Expressing love by what we DON'T do is equally important. We are a living testimony to what is in our hearts. Who sees our testimony most? Our children! Those young eyes are always watching. Will we example that true love and long lasting marriage is a joy or a burden? Your relationship with your husband will affect their future in countless ways.
Some of the DON'Ts:
don't form a habit of pointing out his mistakes
don't be a complainer
don't nag him
don't correct him publicly especially in front of your children
don't take him for granted
don't forget to arouse and excite him with a little mystery once in a while
don't worry about money
don't speak when you're angry; instead, pray quietly and give the problem to the Lord
don't engage in an argument - it takes two.
Prov 15:1 A soft answer turneth away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger.
Some of the DO's:
do overlook his bad habits and faults
do show appreciation for him and any wisdom he has
do admire his strengths
do thank him for the provision to your family
do show romantic enthusiasm for him in private moments
do pick up after him without grumbling; peace in your home is worth the extra effort.
do serve him from your heart and with sincerity
do feed him healthy, home cooked meals and pack him tasty lunches
do keep your home in such a way as to give him a haven of comfort, peace, order and cleanliness. The old saying is true - a man's home is his castle. He's the king of his castle and you are his queen!
These are just a few of the things I've learned in our years together - and I'm still learning! As long as I live, I will have room for improvement! Every day is a new chance, so don't drag yesterday around with you. Depend on God; He will give you wisdom for the asking!
But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. James 1:5
Loving anyone with the charity that God describes requires effort. Sometimes our spouses become so familiar, we forget to treat them special. Most people mistakenly think that family begins with children. But actually, a a man and his wife are a complete family unit. Children only add to an already in tact family.
Think of how many other areas in life are affected and trickle down from your family. Your happy and functioning family is your ministry. So love your husband well today. Build him up, encourage him and be his best friend. After all, you chose him. And you chose him for better or for worse. Make sure that as many "betters" are because of you as you possibly can. :)