With Valentine's Day approaching this week, much will be spent on flowers, chocolate, and small baubles as men of all ages seek to communicate in just the right way the simple words: "I love you". February 14th is a day when some will even seek out the bonds of marriage, while some others may have chosen this day specifically to tie the proverbial knot. As I watch this yearly phenomena, I wonder how much of it is sincere, how much of it is advertising coercion (buy this for her and she'll love you, or don't and you're a dead man!), and last of all, how long it will last.
That last question really bothers me. I hope it bothers you, too.
How long does "I love you" last?
It reminds me of the joke where some married couple is arguing and the wife accuses her husband of never telling her "I love you" often enough. At the end of the joke he finally ends the argument by saying, "I told you I love you the day we were married. If anything changes, I'll let you know!"
The problem with a love that does not last is that it is a love based upon conditions.
Face it, we are taught to live a conditional life in a "do this for me and I'll do this for you" sort of way. Most people I know wouldn't work at their jobs very long without a paycheck. Even if they love what they are doing for a living, there has to be the condition of payment or else they could not continue to do that job indefinitely. We walk out of stores with certain needs and wants in exchange for money. We tend to treat others with varying degrees of trust that are earned. Respect is also a two way street where our ability to respect someone can decrease rapidly with how well (or not) we feel respected or disrespected. The list of conditions in all of our various interactions and relationships with others is quite long!
It seems life is full of conditional arrangements. So then, it is quite a natural idea that how we love each other, even in marriage, would be conditional. The act of divorce itself is proof enough of that. If someone can answer the question "What would make you want a divorce?" then they have answered the condition(s) upon which their marriage would rest. However, God wants Christians in marriage to love unconditionally. Even though infidelity in marriage is listed as a possible reason for divorce, the act of divorce is still discouraged.
Because a Christian marriage is supposed to be a picture of God's love for us.
Does God love you conditionally or unconditionally?
For those of you reading this who have been through divorce yourself or know someone who has been through divorce and thinking of all the reasons why a divorce is justified, stop for a moment and think about the unconditional love of God for you.I realized one day that . . . . . (for the rest of this article, please click on the link: MenRising)