Colossians 3:14 tells us,
“But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.”
So, loving your spouse is a daily (sometimes minute-by-minute) choice, not a feeling. There have been many, many times when I didn’t “feel” like loving my wife. And I’m certain there have been times when the feeling was mutual. There were many times when we allowed our flesh to come out and we just said and did whatever came to mind.
But, praise God, I am not the man today who she married back then! And praise God that today, she is not the same woman I married. We have changed and transformed, learning to yield ourselves to the Holy Spirit. We’re not perfect, but we strive to exemplify Christ more and more every day.
So, now, when we feel frustrated or angry with one another, we make a choice, instead of just lashing out. We, hopefully, choose to ask for God’s strength in those situations to simply shut our mouths.
Then, when we fail, we ask for forgiveness.
And all this can only be done through the power of the Holy Spirit.
All this is an example of agape love. Contrary to popular understanding, the significance of agape love is not that it is unconditional, but that it is primarily a love of the will rather than the emotions. You and I have to desire to love our spouse in the way God prescribes. You really have to want it.
And since the word “love” is flippantly thrown around (I love my wife. I love In-N-Out hamburgers…), then we need to look into God’s Word for an accurate definition for love, since His Word is complete and lacking nothing (James 1:4).
If we look at 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, we can see just what God’s prescription of love looks like:
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.
It’s important for us to take the time to look at this truth and then honestly examine ourselves and see how we line up. Not to say that this is easy. It is not. It’s actually impossible for you and I to take this description of love and apply this to one another on our own. It was never God’s design to give us this measuring tool, and then expect us to do it on our own.
Rather, in the power of God’s strength, we can do it. But, we have to choose to go that route. We have to choose to want it. And we have to daily make the choice over and over again to abide in Him. As we continually make those choices, God says he will bring about transformation in and through our lives; and this love will begin to naturally flow out of us.