Category: Love

Am I Ready For Marriage? How Can I Make My Marriage Work?

 

Why are so many marriages falling apart? How does it happen that 2 people fall in love, get married and then divorce a few months or years later? Did these people not understand the meaning of love? Did they not understand the meaning of marriage? Did they not understand the commitment required to make a marriage work?

Marriage is a good and divine institution. However, like many good things it requires work, commitment and of course TRUE love to keep it alive.

Am I ready for marriage? How can I make my marriage work? If you’ve asked yourself these questions, below are at least 11 things you should know about marriage if you intend to get married or if you are already in a marriage relationship.

 

  1. Are You Willing To Understand That There Are Certain Things About Your Spouse’s Character That You Might Never Ever Change?

Let’s face it. If your spouse had certain habits or certain undesirable characteristics 20 years before you got married, it’s unlikely that your spouse is going to change those undesirable habits or characteristics overnight. Many people whilst dating assume that when they get married it will be easier to change some of their spouse’s habits because they’ll be living together. Sometimes it’s not the case and habits or characteristics that have been engrained in a person’s personality do not change easily.
If a person will not change – don’t focus so much on strategizing how to change the person. Rather just love the person as they are – yes, with their bad habits. Don’t be too critical or judgmental. You might discover that you’re also not so perfect yourself and that there are things in your own personality that need to change too.
1 Peter 4:8NKJV – And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins”.

 

  1. Are You Willing To Realise That Love Is Not A Feeling – But It’s A Mindset & A Doing-Word?

Love is not a feeling. Love is not an overwhelming strong “force” that takes over 2 people who are meant to be together. Feelings are temporary. Feelings come and go depending on the external situation or circumstance.
True love however, remains the same irrespective of the external circumstances. True love is a mindset. You love a person whether they deserve to be loved or not. You love a person even when they are at their worst state. Love is a choice. You don’t feel it but you choose to love.
Many people get married without understanding the difference between love and lust. Others get married without understanding the difference between infatuation and love. Some get married without understanding the meaning of love at all.
1 John 3:18NKJV – My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.

 

  1. Are You Willing To Forgive Your Spouse For The Same Mistakes Over & Over & Over & Over & Over Again – And Still Love Your Spouse Anyway?

One of the reasons why many marriages eventually fail is because of lack of forgiveness. Spouses cannot forgive each other for past errors or faults. Having a forgiving attitude will help one’s marriage to last but having a vengeful and unforgiving approach to marriage will destroy the marriage. Unforgiveness will also cause communication problems and resentment.
Matthew 18:21-22NKJV – Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.

 

  1. Are You Willing To Stay Married Till Death Do-You-Part?

Contrary to the worldly culture and standards, marriage is not a human contract. Marriage was created by God and marriage is defined by God. Part of God’s rules for marriage is that divorce is not an option.
Marriage is a lifetime commitment to love & live with your spouse. This commitment does not change because your feelings change. This commitment does not change because your spouse no longer has a well-paying job. This commitment does not change because your spouse no longer looks beautiful. According to God, marriage is for life.
Malachi 2:16 NKJV – “For the Lord God of Israel says that He hates divorce, For it covers one’s garment with violence,” Says the Lord of hosts. “Therefore take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously.”

 

  1. Are You Willing To Lose A Fight or Argument Even If You’re Right?

There are many reasons why couples fight and argue; bad habits; money; sex; communication and the like are one of the many reasons. In marriage, it’s not about who is right and who is wrong. Humility is an important character to have in a marriage. Would you rather be right & continue to be enemies in the home – or would you rather be peacefully reconciled and in humility agree to disagree?
In a marriage where 2 people come from 2 different family backgrounds & have had 2 different life experiences there is always the likely chance that as a couple you will not always agree on every topic or issue.
Differences will always arise even in the best marriages. The question is, how do you handle your differences as a couple?
1 Corinthians 13:4-5NKJV – Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;

 

  1. Are You Willing to be Faithful & Never Cheat Including During the Worst of Times?

There is no good excuse for cheating on a spouse. Adultery is a sin no matter how bad your marriage becomes. There are many reasons why a spouse may cheat but none of those reasons are good enough before God’s eyes. God honours faithful people. Faithfulness is a fruit of the Holy Spirit.
Hebrews 13:4NKJV – Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.

 

  1. Are You Willing To Discover New Surprising Things About Your Spouse BUT Still Love Him Anyway?

Before couples get married they always make the mistake of assuming that they know their partner very well. The truth is, no person truly knows their spouse until they begin to stay together. Before you’re married you may know a small percentage of your partner’s personality, but the truth is you will learn more of who he is and what type of person he is during your marriage. You can be married to your spouse for 15 years and still discover that there are many things (good and bad) that you did not know about your spouse.
However, whatever surprising new things you find out about your spouse – are you willing to continue to be committed and to love that person? Remember – love is not a feeling.
1 Corinthians 13:7-8NKJV – (Love) bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails.

 

  1. Are You Willing To Love An Imperfect Person?

Are you a perfect person? If you’re not perfect, would you still want someone to still love you?
None of us are perfect in this world. We are all a bunch of imperfect people falling in love and getting married to other imperfect people.
Therefore if 2 imperfect people get married, you’re going to have an imperfect marriage that might be full of disagreements & differences.
In marriage, don’t focus on the imperfections – but focus on the strengths; focus on the good things in the marriage; focus on the things that can make the marriage stronger and better.
John 15:12NKJV – This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

 

  1. Are You Willing To Realize That Love, Sex & Romance Isn’t What Celebrities & The Hollywood Films Teach?

Celebrities and Hollywood is the last place that any serious couple should want to learn about love and marriage. Hollywood films only distort the meaning of true love and true marriage. Married celebrities themselves are not good examples to learn from about marriage because their marriages never last. Yet Hollywood culture has had a subtle effect on how we think and view issues related to love, sex and marriage.
Hollywood & celebrities have given the youth and many others the subtle perception that our definition of love, sex & romance should be as we have seen and experienced it in the films that we watch.
Colossians 2:8NKJV – Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.

 

  1. Are You Willing To Love & Stay With Your Spouse During Financial Challenges?

Money is one of the major reasons why marriages collapse. The Bible says that money is the root of all kinds of evil.
Money is the reason why some people want to get married to someone.
Money is the bait that some people use to persuade someone to marry them.
However, money should not be the foundation of any relationship – especially marriage.
The foundation of a good marriage should be God & His word, love, commitment & trust.
1 Timothy 6:9,10NKJV – But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

 

  1. Are You Willing To Accept Your  Specific Marital Roles As Husband & Wife

In any kind of institution, team or grouping, people will always have different functions and different roles to play. It’s the same thing in a marriage. According to God’s word, the husband has his role and the wife has her role. Whenever their respective marital roles are not performed or if their roles are reversed – this situation will cause problems in the marriage.
Ephesians 5:22-28NKJV – Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself

 

So are you ready for marriage? Or are you willing to make your marriage work?
Remember – marriage comes from God. Approach your relationships prayerfully. As long as we are on this earth, our relationships are not going to be problem-free. We live in an imperfect world with imperfect relationships. The question is – are you willing to selflessly & prayefully do the right thing to make your relationship work according to God’s principles.

The Meaning of True Love

Do you know that a lot of Hollywood movies have hoodwinked us into believing that love is this overwhelming feeling or emotion that you have in your heart? Is love really just a feeling or a strong emotion?
What is the meaning of true love? How does the Bible define true love?

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NKJV
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails…

According to Paul while writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Love is an ACTION; Love is WHAT YOU DO; Love is HOW YOU BEHAVE; Love is HOW YOU THINK; Love is WHAT YOU SEEK; Love is WHAT YOU REJOICE IN; Love is WHAT YOU HOPE & BELIEVE; Love NEVER FAILS.
Love is a way of living; it’s a character that you show and do.

Why is the divorce rate so high around the world? Why is there so much strife among people? It’s because most people don’t know the meaning of love according to 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.
We are more inclined to want to FEEL the EMOTIONS of love rather than to show ACT and BEHAVE the characteristics of TRUE LOVE.
If LOVE was only a feeling and an emotion – then love wouldn’t require us to “endure all things” or “bear all things”. TRUE LOVE sometimes requires you to do things you wouldn’t necessarily feel like doing.

LOVE IS A COMMANDMENT

Matthew 22:37-40 NKJV
Jesus said to him, “‘YOU SHALL LOVE the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great COMMANDMENT. And the second is like it: ‘YOU SHALL LOVE your neighbor as yourself.’ On these TWO COMMANDMENTS hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

We are COMMANDED to love by Jesus. Love is NOT a suggestion; Love is NOT a choice according to Christ.
The definition of the word “commandment” is an order or injunction given by authority; a command; a charge; a precept; a mandate.

Therefore we are called to not only to love God and to love our neighbor – but we must also TEACH others the TRUE meaning of LOVE and we must TEACH others to LOVE according to what the word of God teaches us.
LOVE isn’t just a feeling. Love is God’s desires in action.

1 Corinthians 13:1-3 NKJV
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have NOT love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have NOT love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have NOT love, it profits me nothing.

Whatever you are doing in your life – what is it that motivates your thoughts, actions & deeds? Are your thoughts and actions motivated by the LOVE of both God and man? Or are you secretly motivated by wanting the praise of men or other self seeking reasons?
In Matthew 6:1-7 Jesus said that we should do our acts and deeds with the motivation of pleasing God and not so that we become glorified by men. The Pharisees, Sadducees & hypocrites were motivated by power, position, fame and they were after the praise of men rather than the praise of God.
I believe that when God does ANYTHING – His primary motivation is LOVE because God IS love (1 John 4:8)

When God sent His only begotten Son to be crucified for the sins of the world – it was out of LOVE (John 3:16)

Matthew 22:35-40 NKJV
Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”. Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

Jesus when asked which is the GREATEST commandment responded immediately by telling them that they must LOVE GOD with our entire being, that is ALL our HEART, ALL our SOUL and ALL our MIND.

Today, are you loving God with everything in you? Today are you motivated in all your thoughts & actions by the LOVE of God?
Paul states in 1 Corinthians 13:1-3, that we can do a lot of things that are good on the outside – but with the wrong motive inwardly. If we DO NOT have LOVE INSIDE US, “it profits nothing.”
God wants us to be motivated firstly by our LOVE for HIM, and our LOVE for our NEIGHBOUR. When we act in LOVE, our reward from God is awesome.

1 Corinthians 13:13 NKJV
And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the GREATEST of these is LOVE.

 

Pray For Your Enemies

Do you know of anyone who dislikes you? Are you being persecuted even though you have done nothing wrong? Are there people in your life who are just trying to do anything in their power to make sure that you don’t succeed? What are you doing about it?
Is it right to pray for the damnation of our (human) enemy? Should we pray AGAINST them or should we pray FOR them? What does Jesus say?

Matthew 5:43-48 NKJV
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.‘ But I say to you, LOVE your enemies, BLESS those who curse you, DO GOOD to those who hate you, and PRAY for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, THAT YOU MAY BE SONS OF YOUR FATHER IN HEAVEN; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? THEREFORE YOU SHALL BE PERFECT, JUST AS YOUR FATHER IN HEAVEN IS PERFECT.

Jesus clearly says we should LOVE, BLESS, DO GOOD and PRAY for our enemies or persecutors.
But why would Jesus command such a thing? It’s not an easy thing to love and do good to those who persecute us. But remember that the Lord knows everything and that He is wise.

WHY YOU SHOULD LOVE YOUR ENEMIES

  1. Jesus wants you as a Christian to be different from the world. The world teaches that you must “love your neighbor and hate your enemy”. GOD teaches that you must not only love your neighbor – but you must ALSO love your enemy – because to do so shows that you are “sons of your Father in Heaven”
  2. Jesus Christ the begotten Son of God came to earth to save and die for the sins of ALL people INCLUDING those people who shouted “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” just before He was nailed to the cross (Luke 23:20-22). Jesus was being persecuted yet He was innocent. Out of LOVE, Jesus died for US ALL WHILE WE WERE YET SINNERS (Romans 5:8 NKJV). Therefore, though we deserved damnation to hell, God by His love, mercy and grace sent His Son to die for us so that we may have eternal life. Shouldn’t we show the same love to those who are lost?
  3. While Jesus was hanging on the cross for our sins; experiencing the most excruciating pain known to man He cried “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do…” Luke 23:34 NKJV. Jesus was the perfect example of a man who whilst experiencing great pain and persecution which had been caused by others, could still PRAY to the Father and ask the Father to forgive the very people who were crucifying Him on the cross.
  4. When you LOVE, BLESS, DO GOOD and PRAY for your enemies it shows that you have FORGIVENESS in your heart. It means that you are not ruled by a spirit of bitterness and hatred. “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matthew 6:14-15 NKJV
  5. As a Christian you are supposed to BE LIKE Jesus. You must be a VESSEL TO HELP THOSE WHO ARE LOST – EVEN YOUR ENEMIES. In Luke 9:53-56 we learn that the Samaritans at a village would not receive Jesus and so James & John asked Jesus if they should “command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did”. Jesus had to rebuke them for wanting such a thing to happen to other people and so Jesus responded by saying “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.”

JESUS DOES NOT DESIRE THAT YOU PRAY THAT MEN’S LIVES BE DESTROYED. JESUS DESIRES THAT YOU PRAY THAT MEN’S LIVES BE SAVED – INCLUDING YOUR ENEMIES.

• There was a man named Saul in the book of Acts 9:1-19. He used to persecute and kill Christians. One day as Saul came near Damascus, Jesus appeared to Saul and said “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” Saul had no idea that when he persecuted Christians, he was also persecuting Jesus. Nevertheless Jesus didn’t want to destroy Saul even though Saul had persecuted so many Christians. Jesus wanted to save Saul and to use Saul for God’s glory. So Saul was blinded when Jesus appeared to him and he couldn’t see for several days. Jesus appeared to a man called Ananias to go and find Saul so that he may pray for Saul. Now Saul of course was already well known for his persecutions against Christians and Ananias didn’t understand why the Lord Jesus was asking him to go and pray for Saul, an enemy of Christians. The Lord then told Ananias the plans that He had for Saul and of course Ananias obeyed and Saul got his sight back.
Saul later got his name changed to Paul. This is the same Paul (Saul) who wrote most of the New Testament in the Bible through the inspiration of God.
What’s my point? Like Ananias we need to obey the Lord Jesus and pray for our enemies, for Jesus may have a plan for them. We are NOT called to pray for the DESTRUCTION of people, but we are called to PRAY FOR their SALVATION. It is an act of LOVE.

I’m not saying it’s easy. Jesus praying to the Father: “Forgive them…” whilst hanging on the cross wasn’t easy. I’m not saying be naïve and let people take advantage of you. I’m simply saying obey Jesus, be more like Jesus and let the Spirit of God teach you to love and do good in every situation.

Romans 12:14-21 NKJV
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.
Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,”* says the Lord. Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”* Do not be overcome by evil, but OVERCOME EVIL WITH GOOD.

God’s Love Demonstration

Whenever you think about LOVE, do you think of GOD?
Or vise-versa – whenever you think about GOD, do you think of LOVE?
Do you also know, that WHENEVER you DEMONSTRATE LOVE to others or to yourself, that you are demonstrating the CHARACTER & NATURE of GOD?

1 John 4:16 NKJV
“And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.”
You see God is love. Therefore love is God’s very nature and if we are to live a godly life and have a godly character then all we need to do is demonstrate and be motivated by LOVE. Just like God.
It’s really that simple!

John 3:16 says “For God so LOVED the world that He gave His only begotten that WHOEVER believes in HIM should not perish but have everlasting life.” 
God’s act of LOVE through giving His Son Jesus Christ has brought and continues to bring about the salvation of multitudes of people all over the world so that people do not have to perish in hell as long as they have received Jesus as their Lord and Saviour.
God LOVED the WORLD. Jesus died for EVERYONE and WHOEVER believes in HIM.

Romans 5:8 NKJV
“But God demonstrates His own LOVE towards US, in that WHILE we were STILL SINNERS, Christ died FOR US.”
Jesus didn’t die on the cross for just a particular people group, social class, country, religious group, age group etc.
Jesus didn’t die on the cross for good, holy and perfect people.
Jesus died for EVERYONE and out of LOVE, Jesus died for “WHOEVER believes in Him…” (John 3:16) and He died “while we were still sinners” (Romans 5:8) because God loves EVERYONE.

Life Application
Like God, we need to demonstrate love to all people because by doing so we demonstrate the nature and character of God.
Like God, we need to demonstrate love to all people EVEN if they DON’T love us just as God loved us while we were still sinners.

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