It does not matter whose wedding I officiate; the vows are all the same, a promise to love one another no matter what, promise to put the other first. This principle is found in John 13:34. Jesus tells his disciples, “A new command I give to you, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”
- Be active, make love a verb
The command is “Love one another.” Two thousand years ago, Jesus gave the foundation for enduring relationships, including love relationships.
This commandment is the foundation for enduring romantic love, the can’t-wait-to-get-home in the afternoon kind of relationship. It is a simple principle but counter-intuitive to the way people think.
Many people that come seeking for marriage advice do not want to hear “love one another.” They want to hear something practical, something new. Jesus takes a word that people use as a noun, and He makes it a verb.
Your relationship might have started off with both spouses feeling in love, then the feeling went away, and they are trying to get it back. Jesus wants you to love each other. “But we do not love each other.” Well, it is a commandment, you ought to love each other.
“But we do not.” You are confusing the noun and the verb. You are saying you want to feel it. First, you need to do it, and then you will feel it.
If you want to maintain love, if you want to foster it, then you need to quit treating love like a noun, and you need to treat it like a verb.
The foundation for staying in love is to make love a verb.
- Take your Cue from Jesus
However, He does not stop there. The rest of the verse says: “A new command I give you, love one another, as I have loved you so you must love one another.”
Jesus makes it clear that he does not want you to take your cue from culture. He does not necessarily want you to take your cue from your parents or parents-in-law.
When you think about what it means to love like a verb, take your cue from Jesus. Jesus does not want to teach you how to be in love, He wants to teach you how to love.
This learning process means that love must be a verb, not a noun. To stay in love, you have got to make love a verb.
- Learn submit is not a bad word
Years later, the apostle Paul comes along, takes this same idea, and says it in a different way, except he uses a word we do not like.
The apostle Paul takes the very idea Jesus said, and he uses a different word than “love,” it is a word that sticks a little harder. Ephesians 5:21 says, “and subject yourselves to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
The point Paul is trying to make is that the foundation for people who are going to stay in love is mutual submission.
Mutual submission means that each spouse seeks to put the other spouse first. This takes work. When two people practice this principle, love is alive and well in that relationship.
Submit means you place yourself under the other person, not by birth order or financial status or some other system. It is a choice you make. Regardless of who you are and what you have, you choose to place yourself under your spouse as they choose to place themselves under you.
The beginning of the process that will make love last a lifetime is to make love a verb and to love one another. The angle is mutual submission, putting the other person first. Every disagreement that occurs between spouses is because one of them fails to submit.
Make a love a verb, all the time, every waking moment.
Pastor Chris Williams
To learn more about Pastor Chris and his teaching, visit us on the web at fcfamily.org and make sure you subscribe to receive these weekly encouragements in your inbox.