Love never ends.
It should come as no surprise that as a society, the concept of marriage as a sacred union has eroded over the last couple of decades as evidenced by high divorce rates and a growing number of people who have no desire to get married legally. In the United States, 40-50% of married couples end up divorced, having lasted an average of only 8 years of marriage. Usually, the leading causes of divorce are attributed to irreconcilable differences, infidelity or financial problems but the fact is that God calls all of us to a much higher standard of love—His unconditional and unfailing love—a love that repeatedly forgives wrongdoings, believes the best in the other, moves forward anticipating greater things to come and pushes through the most difficult of circumstances.
"Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends." I Corinthians 13: 4-8
Marriage is more than just a commitment two people make to one another on their wedding day; it is an intentional promise made before God and witnessed in front of others. It is the strongest union between two people that we can experience on earth, intended as a pledge between one man and one woman to sustain a love to last a lifetime. God’s design for marriage is meant to be highly revered as an unbreakable covenant rather than a self-serving contract.
While love is certainly the greatest thing we can experience, we can become deeply hurt when our love is not reciprocated or if it's even abused by our partner. No one experienced greater letdown than Jesus, who never wronged anyone and yet He was sold by one of his disciples for a couple pieces of silver, abandoned by his closest friends during his greatest time of need, mocked and despised by the people that He performed miracles for and was brutally beaten and hanged as a sacrifice for the whole world’s sins. Aren’t you glad that while you were unworthy, Jesus still demonstrated the most unconditional act of love by dying for you on the cross? God is the epitome of love and because of His great love for us, believers can now live in His new covenant, where we're no longer slaves to our sin but completely forgiven and offered life eternal with God.
Marriage is a picture of God’s heavenly covenant. Just as Christ so loved the Church that He died for her, husbands are called to love their wives in the same way and wives are to submit to their husbands as they do the Lord. God has certainly called husbands and wives to high standards in their marriage roles, which will require God's guidance and strength to maintain. As two imperfect people, you will undoubtedly experience challenging seasons with your spouse where your love is tested and tried. You may even feel like your marriage is beyond repair and you feel like giving up on it but that's when you must remember the marriage vows you made before God and the sacrifice He willingly made for you when you were less than lovable. A long-lasting marriage takes hard work, sacrifice and consistent effort from both partners but it's well worth it. When we love our spouse in the way God intended, we greatly please the Lord and in addition to reaping the many benefits, practicing unconditional love reminds us of God's unconditional love for us.
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