It occurs to me that falling in love with husbands can be very similar to falling in love with Jesus Christ. They both require an investment in relationship and some effort on our part to maintain that connection. We people tend to like being swept away, a fool for love, “it just happened,” as if we have no control. We actually have tremendous influence and control over what we find desirable, over how we feel, and falling in love is no different.
There’s a meme that says,”nothing lasts forever “and while this is somewhat true, neither does showering, which is why we often do it everyday. Our faith, our love, our marriages must be refreshed, renewed, reinvigorated. Most of that is really just a mindset, some determination and committment. So everyday I pray, I read the bible, I draw closer to Jesus Christ, and to know Him is to love Him. It’s not hard work at all, it just requires a tiny bit of discipline, mostly around taking my thoughts into captivity.
I still delight in 2 Corinthians 10:5, “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ..”
For many years I did not understand that we all have the power not only to control our thoughts, but to control our feelings as well. Proverbs 25:28 says, “He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.” I was like a defenseless city, a bit of flotsam condemned to drift on the current or get bashed about in the waves, depending on the weather. Powerless really. Love was like something that happens to you, not something you have the power to command or bring forth within one’s own self. So true, we cannot control other people, but we sure can control our response to them and how we feel.
On a practical level with spouses one of the first things we can do is suspend all judgements, criticisms, complaints, and only perceive them with some praise and admiration. For women, respect is a big one, we tend to fall right out of love with people we cannot respect. So if we are feeling any contempt, unforgiveness, resentment, regret we are really cooking our own goose, we are blocking our own love.
I understand this is real life, sometimes there are sound reasons for feeling those things, there are unresolved issues. I tend to take my unresolved issues and set them at the foot of the cross for God to handle. In relationships about all you can do is offer your counsel, your wisdom,and then let it go. That dreadful word works so well here, submit. We can’t fix other people, we can’t control the outcome. We can control the amount of angst we’re going to allow ourselves to feel about it.
So suspending judgements, complaints, negative thoughts, and replacing them with something you admire about one another can be really helpful. It can also feel somewhat fake at first, tense perhaps, stilted, so it takes some practice, but controlling your words and thoughts will begin to control your feelings. Soon it can become like a treasure hunt and you will develop the eyes to see things worthy of your admiration rather than your contempt. The more you lift the other person up in your own eyes, the more attractive they become. Soon you begin to feel blessed, privileged, honored to be with them. Falling madly in love is right around the corner.
Because I have a bent and twisted sense of humor, I must dispel the myth of how our own love is dependent on another person’s behavior. Stalkers for example, often fancy themselves madly in love with people who don’t even like them. The mind is a powerful thing, a bit demented in some cases, but we can use those powers for good, too. Stalk your spouse, at least on an emotional level, and gently too. Seek out what is good about them. It can be a highly entertaining adventure.
Naturally I am not suggesting we suspend all powers of discernment and common sense, nor that we endure outright abuse, nor that we lie to ourselves, but often what we do is focus on the things that are wrong about our lives rather than the things that are right, forgetting that both of them are actually true at the same time.
I listen to non believers all day long, often accusing me of believing in fairy tales, often declaring God to not be good, while simultaneously not existing at all, and it has really opened my eyes to the fact that we people have the power to speak ourselves into love….. or out of it, to move ourselves towards our Creator or away from Him, to live in joy or to live in resistance.