Love Is Not A Three Letter Word

Somewhere today, there’s a guy buying a ring getting ready to “pop the question.”

There’s a girl down the street shopping for a dress. THE dress. The one she’ll wear on her “big day”.

Everyone wants love. But, while most of us know how to plan a dream wedding, we’re not quite as prepared for the reality of life beyond the honeymoon. 

We know that’s true because the numbers don’t lie.

Half of all marriages end in divorce.

Which means that, for every guy who buys a ring, there’s one guy taking a reluctant trip to the pawn shop.

While one girl shops for the perfect dress, another one is tearfully auctioning hers to the highest bidder online.

Meanwhile, Hollywood keeps churning out episodes of The Bachelor. The sacred bonds of marriage continue to be challenged and redefined by marketing gurus who know that love is a hot commodity.

And it doesn’t matter if hearts are breaking when you’re building an empire.

I know this isn’t your typical Valentine’s post, especially coming from me (a self-professed, googly-eyed romantic.) But lately I guess I’ve heard too much do-whatever-feels-good propaganda to stay silent.

So here’s what I have to say to anyone who’s been cheated by the “love” shysters:

You do not have to keep buying what they’re selling!

You do not have to accept disposable love.

You can have the forever-after kind.

Forget the fake Hollywood version.

A cheap imitation can never compare to true love. 

Because love is not a three letter word.

Even though many have reduced it to nothing more than a  physical act, true love is something far above that, and far more desirable.

When we commit our pursuit of love to the One who IS love, He will help us raise our standards so we can stop falling for lame substitutes and experience the real thing.

This could be the happiest Valentine’s Day ever if we stop entertaining ideas about what love is not and start embracing what love is.

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.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

P.S. If you haven’t found that kind of love yet, just remember that God wants the very best for you. And the very best is always worth the wait. Until then, consider the above list to be a preview of coming attractions.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Linking with
Faith JAM Thursdays

 

How to Stop Fixing and Start Enjoying Our Spouse

200px-Man-and-woman-icon.svgHusbands and wives everywhere agree that the differences between men and women makes for some very interesting marital discussions.

Gary Morland takes a humorous look at this subject in his post entitled 4 Things My Wife Needs to Remember I Can’t Do (And That Your Man Can’t Do Either)

I hope you’ll take a minute to read it and watch the short video that accompanies it. It’ll make you laugh and it’ll make you think, I think. 🙂

Plus, it’s kind of cool to get the male perspective on a topic that has had women asking for ages, “What’s wrong with my man and how do I fix him?”

Isn’t it ironic that one of the top complaints women have is that, instead of simply listening to their problems, men want to fix them.  But, if we’re honest, isn’t that exactly what we’re trying to do to the men in our lives?

Food for thought…Maybe we should leave the “fixing” of each other up to the Lord and just learn to enjoy our differences.

“Submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
Ephesians 5:21

 

The Ultimate Invitation

“But at the beginning of creation God made them male and female. ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” (Mark 10:6-9)

Over the summer, we were invited to a family wedding. I took this photo as the nephew and his new bride were posing for the real photographer.

To me, the attire captures the essence of the event. The fancy dress and tuxedo fit the occasion. It speaks to the fact that something grand and glorious is taking place. Something out of the ordinary and special. And marriage is like an album of wedding pictures – something to be cherished, protected and treasured.

I love weddings. The traditions. The symbolism. The sacredness of that union old as time itself, breathed into existence by God. Loved ones gathered to witness the exchange of rings and promises. The sweetness of two tender hearts becoming one.

This week, my husband and I will be celebrating our wedding anniversary. Our marriage is a gift I thank God for every day. I’m glad that we have faith as our foundation and that we share a commitment to “that which God has joined together”. In short, we value our vows.

But I know many do not share our story. Sadly, there are those who make a mockery of marriage just as they do the Word of God. But the lies that permeate our society today do not negate the truths of holy Scripture. Because these truths are eternal.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1

If there is ever any confusion about what to believe, we can always trust what we read on those pages. Because the truth is…

“God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind.” Numbers 23:19a

For Christians, marriage should be a reflection of our relationship with Christ. In fact, the Bible uses marriage to illustrate that covenant between Christ (the Lamb of God) and His bride (the church – believers).

“Scripture begins and ends with the picture of marriage as an institution ordained by God – designed for the union of a man and a woman in a life-long, faithful, covenantal relationship.” (excerpt from focusonthefamily.org)

One day, we will attend the most glorious occasion of all. And there will be great rejoicing, “For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.” Revelation 19:7b-8

In the meantime, there is hope for the doubting and disillusioned. Hope for marriages and hurting hearts to be restored. As we walk the path of repentance, God offers forgiveness, healing, deliverance – LIFE.

“…therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the LORD your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life…” Deuteronomy 30:19b-20

God has extended His grace to any who would choose truth over lies and life over death.

It is the Ultimate Invitation. All we need to do is accept it.

“Then the angel said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!’ ” And he added, “These are the true words of God.” Revelation 19:9

“And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.” Revelation 22:17

Marriage Mansions – Lessons in Unity

We have another wedding in the family coming up soon and it has me thinking today about love. Young love, old love and all-the-stages-in-between love. The building, the nurturing and the keeping of love. And how marriage is like a house.

The ceremony lays the foundation. A man and woman standing at an altar. Vows made to each other and to God. A candle lit to symbolize the “two becoming one”. Because unity is the key to successful marriage-building.

Husband and wife fill days and years learning how to make altar vows translate to real life. At first, how to dress windows and walls. Later, how keep the roof from leaking. All require a “together” mentality and a like-minded faith. Because life is hard enough without turning the hammer on each other. And there are other tools that can help create the beautiful, lasting structure of a happy marriage. Tools like shared prayer, bible study and church attendance.

I have found this to be true in my own marriage and it seems many others have discovered the same. Don’t believe me? Read what I found today on USA Today’s website:

“Couples that study Scripture, pray and attend church together are significantly more likely to say they are happy or extremely happy in their marriage, according to new research in the Journal of Marriage and Family.”

Looks like the secret is out: It helps when spouses are both working together. With God’s help and guidance, repairs get made more quickly and the house gets stronger. That’s how to avoid winding up with a marriage shack.

Work together on building a marriage mansion and you will find yourself living in a true shelter.

If this is not the kind of marriage you have at the moment, please be encouraged today that there is hope. “With God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26b

Remember the vows. Remember the candle. No matter what the situation, choose unity. Unified thinking, unified purpose, unified faith always results in unified hearts.

“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” Genesis 2:24