Love comes in many forms. In today's culture we have a tendency to throw the 'love' word around for just about anything. Stephanie and I love Mexican food. We love ice cream. We love date night...and many other things that we do together. Love can have different meanings depending on what your situation is or the people that you are around.
As many of you know there is another kind of love that completely transcends any of the superficial 'loves' that we claim on a daily basis. This kind of love is Agape Love.
God is very clear and He calls us to this different kind of love. We are supposed to love our spouse everyday with this sacrificial love.
Ephesians 5:1-2 states 1Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. 2 Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God. I don't know about you but that seems to be a pretty tall order when you think of loving your spouse the way Christ loves His church.
I'm far from a perfect man. The truth is I love my wife but if I'm honest, there are days that my selfishness sits in and I do not love her like Christ loves the Church. It's not because I do not have a desire to do so. I realize that my brokenness causes me to miss the mark when it comes to effectively loving my spouse.
Paul stated it well when he said; 15I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. (Romans 7:15-17). I run into that wall of "not doing what I want to do" on many occasions, I believe if you are honest with yourself, you will agree about this in your life also.
So what do we need to do? How can we love our spouse as Christ loves His Church? After searching and attempting to understand I have drawn the conclusion that the only way that I'm going to be able to love that way is to love God first. If I have any hope of being able to effectively love my spouse no matter what, I have to give God all I can give.
In Matthew, the question is asked to Jesus, "what is the greatest commandment?" 'Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” ' (Matthew 22:37-40). This, from my perspective is the only way that we will ever be able to Love Sacrificially.
So the more we draw closer to the God that created us, we can draw closer to the spouse he gave us. I encourage you to cherish that gift that He has given you. Repent from the sins that get us off course by going to the only One that can alleviate the stress and anguish that they cause, and let His love flow through us to impact your spouse.
Bryan & Stephanie
Bryan and Stephanie Vignery
Founders of The Intentional Marriage
Bryan is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor and Stephanie is a NASM Certified Lifestyle Accountability Coach.
Bryan has a thriving private counseling practice in the Kansas City area and is a founder of The Intentional Journey and The Intentional Marriage workshops. These workshops center around directing people toward a more authentic relationship with Christ. Many Pastors refer individuals and couples to Bryan for counseling and they also seek guidance from him on multiple occasions. He has directly impacted thousands of people’s lives over the past 20+ years.
Stephanie’s passion is to help people transform and shape their body, their mindset and ultimately helping people grow in their relationship with Christ. She is the author of “On A Fast Track With God”, a 40-day devotional. She also coaches women and co-facilitates multiple workshops with Bryan.
Together, Bryan and Stephanie have been called on a mission to restore hope in people’s lives by influencing, inspiring and impacting marriages! Their latest product is the popular online course, Building Marriages to Last. Since the day they met, they have known they were called to ministry. On their first date they shared childhood dreams of impacting marriages. Little did they know that years later the dream of The Intentional Marriage would become a reality.