Is Your Love for Your Mate Failing?

Persevering in life and in certain painful seasons of marriage can feel so very overwhelming and discouraging, especially when the pain lingers for an extended time.

We can feel helpless and confused about what to do next. Even worse we can feel like we have nothing left to give, nor want to give—perhaps because we are the only one in the marriage “persevering” in any positive way.

Love is hard

Does that sound like you?

If so, first of all, I’m so sorry for your prolonged pain and loneliness in marriage.

Secondly, I’m continuing my thoughts on activating and acting on love from last week’s post on Lessons on Love in Marriage,” because that’s how we strengthen our ability to persevere in the Lord throughout a painful marriage.

Let me be clear that I’m talking about the “verb” form of love. And God’s word maps out for us what this love involves in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. Last week I unpacked verses 4-6, but this week I want to finish up by unpacking verses 7-8.

“It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails . . .” ~1 Cor. 13:7-8

Ask yourself these questions . . .

“It always protects.”

  • Are you more concerned with protecting your own emotions or desires in your marriage; or are you intentionally seeking to protect your mate’s feelings and desires when appropriate?
  • Do you make a habit of criticizing and tearing down your mate; or do you avoid hurting your mate’s reputation by speaking in respectful ways about him/her?

“It always trusts.”

  • Do you hold your heart in reserve, avoiding being vulnerable or pursuing greater intimacy with your mate; or are you vulnerable and pursue deeper levels of intimacy—not because your mate is necessarily trustworthy—but because you place your faith in a trustworthy God?*
  • Are you consumed with suspicions about your mate because he/she has been deceitful from time to time (not chronically); or do you focus on respecting and accepting your imperfect spouse, because you can trust your perfect God to protect your heart?*

“It always hopes.”

  • Are you more cynical and critical about your mate’s ability and desire to overcome character flaws; or are you willing to forgive and offer your support and acceptance of your mate’s efforts to improve?
  • After times of conflict or tension, do you tend to focus more on your spouse’s failures and what he/she is lacking and not doing; or do you give your mate the benefit of the doubt—believing the best about him or her (and vocalizing that to your spouse)?

“It always perseveres.”

  • Are you quick to let your feelings overwhelm or guide you in your marriage; or are you willing to surrender your emotions to God to let Him bring healing and perspective through extended times of prayer?
  • Are you unwilling to see your contribution to the contamination of your marriage perhaps because you’re burned-out or feel that it’s time that your mate did his/her part instead; or are you willing to keep your focus on what your next right step is—seeking God’s love and power to fill up your empty and aching heart every “next step” along the way?

“Love never fails.”

  • Are you seeking to find motivation from your feelings of love—which are probably flagging or absent in your marriage; or are you willing to find motivation from the Lord who IS Love personified and gives you the ability to love when you can’t love anymore?
  • Do you feel as if there is no love in your marriage, therefore there should be no marriage; or do you realize that “feelings of love” often ebb and flow, but your commitment to love with the love God gives you for your mate never runs dry?

*Trust must be earned by the offending spouse, but also must be cultivated by the offended spouse through hopeful support of one’s mate when the offending spouse chooses to admit his/her failures and start again. If the offenses continue extensively, then trust in the spouse must be aided by enlisting a counselor/life-coach. You should not trust someone blindly, but neither should you abandon measures of trust that involve additional support and accountability.

How are you doing when you evaluate yourself with these questions as your filter?

 

Which of the five “activations of love” do you need to focus on the most in your marriage and life?

 

I am gearing up for a new series in the weeks to come that will involve as many of you as are willing. The series is called “sexual secrets” and will be based upon the sexual hang-ups and hurdles each of us faces in marriage. But I want this to be from each participant’s anonymous perspective—hence the “secrets.”

I have four questions I would like participants to answer, but since I will be keeping each person’s identity a secret you will be free to be as open as you would like without fear or embarrassment. I will be sharing one person’s secret each week for as long as I have participants.

Some of the “hang-ups and hurdles” I’m looking to highlight are:

  • Past sexual abuse and its impact on your marriage.
  • Sexual addictions, including but not limited to pornography addiction.
  • The challenge of sex after an affair.
  • Sexual identity issues and its impact on your marriage.
  • Sexual preferences and practices are in opposition in your marriage.
  • Having grown up in a family with strict rules on sex.
  • Having grown up in a family that shamed you for being sexual.
  • Being a man with a lower libido than your wife or vice versa.
  • Feeling extremely inhibited or insecure in your body image.
  • Dealing with sex with a chronic condition or debilitating disease.
  • Past sexual promiscuity before marriage and its impact on you now.

For more details, options and guidelines, click here. I hope you’ll consider helping me out with your stories! I’m certain that they will help others immensely! Thanks so much! 🙂


Linking up with these fine blogs –  Making Your Home Sing, Moments of Hope, Mondays @ Soul Survival, Word of God Speak, Spiritual Sundays, Sitting Among Friends, Family, Friendship and Faith, Fresh Market Friday and DanceWithJesusFriday

 

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  • Hope

    How should a wife handle being told by their husband that they are no longer their wife? This is coming from my husband who has wanted out of our marriage for over 3 years and is now pushing for divorce.

    I have been pulling my marriage along and praying for healing and restoration…getting no where…I am letting it go.

    • Does he mean by that line of thought–“you are no longer my wife”–that he is involved in another relationship, Hope? If that’s not what he has admitted, it sounds as if that could be a very real possibility for his dissatisfaction and detachment. Until he comes clean about any outside relationships, you will continue to feel like you’re bailing water out of sinking ship, I’m afraid.

      But whether that is what is at the core of his discontentment or not, you are in a very precarious place. I hope that you are seeking the help of a counselor and/or pastor to give you the support and perspective in a very murky situation. I will pray for you, my friend. I do not feel comfortable telling you what specifically to do. But I do think that sometimes total surrender of our lives and failing marriage is exactly where God can do His greatest work–if not in reviving your marriage, in redeeming the hurt you’re currently experiencing. My heart goes out to you!

    • And Leslie Vernick offers more hopeful words here,
      http://leslievernick.com/blog/

  • Love this, Beth! Sharing it everywhere! As I’m hosting a marriage series on my blog right now, I’m doing some extra soaking up of anything related to marriage. I haven’t written a lot in marriage before, so I’m treading some new waters. Listening closely to God along the way! Thank you for always being such an encouragement! And thanks for sharing at #MomentsofHope ❤️

  • Dear Beth

    I really get a lot out of your detailed scripture studies. They enrich the text (for me) and they are very useable. I am using a little notebook much more now (gradually picking up momentum) so I will have to jot some of your points down.

    If you did a book on the letters I would definitely buy it. You could probably do a little A6 booklet on each letter, …

    btw I don’t know if this incriminates me but the dropbox link 404s. If you remove “Guidelines ” from the filename, the link works then.

    David