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the marriage corner

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f you were asked to define love, could you? Would you? What would you say? Would it be a person? A description? What words would you use? Do you have the words to use? ‘Love’ is a word that has attracted me for years and yet I often find that, for me, the definition of ‘love’ is more of an action than it is a description. We say the words ‘I love you’, and we probably do mean them, at least some of the time, but it is really the actions that convey the love to the recipient...or so I think. If I was forced to define ‘love’ in words, I guess I would say that love is giving of myself totally, often sacrificially for the benefit and good of another person without expecting anything in return. Let’s face it, it was in the act of dying for us that Christ showed us the depth and seriousness (if you like) of his love for us. And Paul says that it doesn’t matter what we do, if we do not do it with love, if our motivation is not love, then it is worthless. Without love our actions have no spiritual significance. (1 Corinthians 13) That means, if I smile at you on the street, or I hold the door open for you; if I attend church faithfully and serve in the choir every week; if I work in the church office or offer babysitting services... if I do any of them without love, in God’s eyes, it doesn’t count! Love is not unique to marriage but for a lot of people, their definition of love may connect somewhat to marriage. I suspect it is not by coincidence that marriage week falls in the month of February, the month that is traditionally known as the month of love. After all, love is, in most cases, the beginning of the journey to marriage or perhaps a better way to put this is to say that most marriages start off with love (or at least the feeling of it.) One may question why there is any need to have a marriage week. Richard Kane, the founder of Marriage week says; ‘Marriage week is here to remind couples to stay true to each other and learn to love each other even more.’ I find that fascinating; it is no secret that staying true to one person for the entirety of one’s life seems to happen less and less these days but one would think that married couples

A Love That Counts

would know how to love each other...wouldn’t they? Shouldn’t they? Well they probably should but Mr Kane’s statement carries a lot of weight. Staying true to one’s spouse is not automatic, it is a commitment and it requires making a decision and working hard to keep it. Learning to love probably is something we take for granted; we assume that we know what our spouse wants in terms of love without actually finding out. God expects us to love, more than that He commands us to love (Matt 22:37-40). He commands us to love Him and to love others; beyond that He commands us to love our enemies (Matt 5:44). There is no doubt that love is very important to God and that being

If love is giving of oneself totally, if love is sacrificing for the benefit and good of another person without expecting anything in return, if love is what motivated Christ to die for us, if love is what God expects of us, if love is a choice, will you choose to love?

the case, love should be important to us too. Love is a choice and God expects us to choose to love. If our lives are to count for something, we have to master this thing called love, the God kind of love; if our actions are to count for anything they have to be motivated by love; if our marriages are to be successful, we have to choose to love. If love is giving of oneself totally, if love is sacrificing for the benefit and good of another person without expecting anything in return, if love is what motivated Christ to die for us, if love is what God expects of us, if love is a choice, will you choose to love?

By Tinuke Akinbulumo, on behalf of Tight Knots OUTFLOW

FEBRUARY 2010

23

Outflow  

The monthly magazine publication of Jesus House