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Thursday, January 3, 2013
Love is not simply an emotion you feel. It’s something you choose to wear.
Best New Year wishes to all my readers!
I’m kicking off the year with a series challenging you to revamp your marriage wardrobe for 2013. If you read my last post, then you know I’m not talking about clothing or fashion.
No, instead I’m talking about the kind of behaviors and attitudes that the Bible challenges us to put on in Colossians 3. “You have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.” (Col 3:9-10NIV)
This great scripture passage describes in detail the kind of “wardrobe” that we can put on to help build a successful marriage. Today, we will start where the passage concludes:
The most important piece of clothing you must wear is love. Love is what binds us all together in perfect harmony.
(Col 3:14 NLT)
A New View of Love
Did you ever think of love as something you choose to put on, something you wear on purpose?
I love that image, because it refutes the notion that love is just something you feel or don’t feel, a giddy emotion that might be there one day and gone the next. When you limit love to an emotion, it makes it fickle and fleeting. And if this is love, then it is easy to put the onus of “staying in love” on our partner and their behavior.
When you think of love as something you wear on a daily basis it completely changes the game. It becomes my personal choice.
Learning to Wear Love
How do you put on love? Let me point you to a fabulous piece of advice from scripture. It’s one that I quote often around here:
Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn't love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.
Ephesians 5:1-2 (MSG)
Love like that. Yeah, that’s it. Be like Jesus. Extravagant. Selfless. Giving everything for the sake of intimacy with us. He held nothing back. Neither should we.
I’m not kidding about how important getting to know Jesus' love is! The best way to put on love is to put on Jesus. And to do that, you have to know him and be a student of his love. Here's how the Apostle Paul sums it up a few chapters earlier.
I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Ephesians 3:17-19 (NIV)
The key to fullness in life is also the key to fullness in marriage. Paul makes it clear in this passage that we cannot fully know the dimensions of Christ’s love. It’s a lifelong pursuit. Don’t assume you get it. You don’t. I don’t. We can't. It’s impossible. There is always way more that can be revealed to our “inner being” by the Holy Spirit.
So if you make only one New Years resolution for your marriage this year, make it this: to go hard after knowing the love of Christ. Then, whatever you learn, be determined to wear it every day.
I hear the protests, “Okay, that's great, but what do I actually DO?” So, if you must have a punch list, a starting point for your love outfit, I’ll get to that next time. Until then think really hard about what you are going to do this year to pursue the knowledge the love of Christ.
Meanwhile, what do you think it means to “put on love?” Leave a comment and let us know!
Next in the series: Put on Love Part 2
PS Did you know I have a monthly email newsletter on intimacy called "Pathways?"
To preview my latest issue, which focuses on sexual intimacy, click HERE
To subscribe (and get my free Intimacy Challenge ebook), click HERE
photo credit: stock photo / 123rf.com
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