Encouragement for Today - April 12, 2012
April 12, 2012
"[Love] always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." 1 Corinthians 13:7-8 (NIV)
I know the heart-ripping hopelessness of a relationship unraveling. The coexisting. The silent tension. The tears.
The first five years of my marriage were really hard. Two sinners coming together with loads of baggage, unrealistic expectations, and extremely strong wills.
There was yelling. There was the silent treatment. There were doors slammed. There was bitterness. There was a contemplation of calling it quits. There was this sinking feeling that things would never, could never get better. That's when I first started hearing the 3 lies:
• I married the wrong person.
• He should make me feel loved.
• There is someone else better out there.
I believed those lies. They started to weave a tangled web of confusion in my heart. All I could see was all that was wrong with him. I became so blind to his good. I became so blind to my not-so-good.
And I wasn't shy about sharing my frustrations about the whole situation with my friends.
Many nodded their head in agreement with me, making me feel ever so justified. But one didn't. She said, "I know what you think. But what does the Bible say?"
Ugghhhh. The Bible? I didn't think her "religious suggestion" would help me. But over the next couple of days, I kept hearing her question about looking into the Bible replaying over and over in my mind.
Reluctantly and with great skepticism, I tried it one afternoon. I turned to a couple of verses she suggested including 1 Corinthians 13. As I read the list of everything love is supposed to be, I got discouraged. My love didn't feel kind, patient, or persevering. The love in my marriage felt broken.
I closed the Bible. It didn't seem to do anything but make me feel worse. So much for that.
Then a few days later I heard an interview on a Christian radio station where a couple was talking about these same verses. I wanted to gag and turn the station. What do they know about how hard love can be? That's when they said a statement that grabbed me, "Love isn't a feeling, it's a decision."
I went home and flipped to 1 Corinthians 13 again. This time instead of reading it like a list of what love should make me feel, I read it as if I could decide to make my love fit these qualities. My love will be kind. My love will be patient. My love will persevere. Not because I feel it — but because I choose it.
At the same time God was working on my husband's heart as well. We decided to make some 1 Corinthians 13 love decisions. Slowly, the cold stone wall between us started to come down.
It wasn't easy. It wasn't overnight. But slowly our attitudes and our actions toward one another changed. And I stopped believing the marriage lies and replaced them with 3 marriage truths:
• Having a good marriage is more about being the right partner than having the right partner.
• Love is a decision.
• The grass isn't greener on the other side. It's greener where you water and fertilize it.
Maybe you've heard the marriage lies before. My heart aches for you if you are in a hard place in your marriage. And believe me, I know tough relationships are stinkin' complicated and way beyond what a simple devotion can possibly untangle. But maybe something I've said today can help loosen one knot … or at least breathe a little hope into your life today.
Dear Lord, thank You for this truth, no matter how hard it is to read. Thanks for Your Holy Spirit, who gives me strength to turn from the lies and walk in Your truth. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Read this very important article posted at Lysa's blog today: "But what if my husband has given up?" Sometimes the best investment you can make in your marriage is tough love. Read more by clicking here.
Reflect and Respond:
Do you believe you married the wrong person, that he should make you feel loved, that there is someone else better out there?
How can you be the right partner for your spouse today?
Love is a decision. Decide today to water and fertilize your marriage.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8a, "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." (NIV)
© 2012 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105