Saturday, March 2, 2013

Love Others Unconditionally

It was almost ten years ago when our nest became officially empty. It was a depressing time in our marriage. As the weeks passed, my husband and I both became more sad and moody.

I knew I needed help out of this slump, so I made an appointment to see a pastor. Unsure of what he would recommend, I was shocked when I heard him say, “You need to love your husband unconditionally.”

But, what about me?

The pastor continued, “Love him the way YOU want to be loved—with no strings attached.”

That was it, three simple words that changed the course of our marriage: “Love him unconditionally.”

Not long after that visit with a pastor, I listened to a radio program about marriage. The advice given to the wife seared my soul: “If you want to be treated like a queen, you need to treat your man like a king.”

I had been treating my man like a pauper. I’d been pouting over not being needed as a mother on a daily basis anymore (something, at times, I would have loved to have resigned from just a few short years ago). I was feeling stuck in time, focusing on the past, instead of embracing how we finally had our lives back.

What can I do to make this next chapter of our lives anything but boring? How can I help to get us out of this rut?

The more I sought the Lord, the more amazed I was at the answers. First, I began my mornings reading about God’s love for us, and how He wants us to love others. I saturated my mind and heart with scripture verses pertaining to the theme of love. Then, I purposely began hugging my husband more. Judging by his shocked reaction, I painfully realized just how far apart we had grown. I began listening to him more intently, and amazingly he reciprocated, asking me sincerely about my day. The more things I did to please him, such as preparing his favorite foods and renting his favorite movies, the more he voluntarily helped with housework and asked me what he could do for me. I even watched some of his favorite shows with him instead of staying on the computer in the evenings, and he began handing me the remote, willing to watch shows I was interested in, too.

Gradually, our marriage became better than ever—a spark had been rekindled. We excitedly talked about the future, planning local day trips and anniversary vacations. We had a blast doing what we wanted, when we wanted.

That old principle once again held true: when we show love to another, especially when we don’t want to, our feelings will catch up. When we love those that seem hard to love, we are actually teaching them to love us back. It’s a mystery, how God works behind the scenes and changes hearts, but I’m grateful He does.

The bottom line is: God doesn’t give up on us when we’re unlovable, and He doesn’t want us giving up on others, either.

Our Lord Jesus Christ and God our Father loves us. Through His loving-favor He gives us comfort and hope that lasts forever. May He give your hearts comfort and strength to say and do every good thing (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17).

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