Real Love and Marriage

by Joanna Pierce on February 15, 2018

Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife (I Corinthians 7:3–4, KJV).

Real Love Meets Needs

There are over 40 Scriptures Paul wrote in Corinthians alone regarding marriage. His discourse on marriage covered unbelieving spouses, divorce, conflict, widows and widowers, unmarried individuals seeking spouses, intimacy, and much more. But, the basic crux of this Scripture passage is simple: husbands need to meet their wife’s needs and wives need to meet their husband’s needs.

When married couples forsake meeting one another’s needs in marriage, this is when discord enters. In I Corinthians 7:3, the Greek word render is apodidómi, which means to deliver, perform, or to yield. Husbands and wives must love each other in their marriages. But, what’s real love?

Jesus gave us a working definition of love through laying down His life for us. We’re told to do the same for our brothers and sisters in Christ (I John 3:16). Real love generates from a desire to ensure the best for someone other than ourselves, regardless if our own needs are met. We must love as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25).

Real Love Meets the Need in Conflict as Well as Comfort

God designed conflict to be a part of marriage to help solve problems in the relationship (I Corinthians 7:28). But, conflict can become ill-perceived if we use marriage solely for self-serving purposes. If we allow for a self-serving attitude to creep into the scope of our marital relationships, we’ll soon find the marriage has become an idol in our life.

We should be careful not to base our relationships on the feelings associated with love (e.g., liking someone or romanticism). If we truly love the way God wants us to love, we can’t fall out of love with someone. No one can ever be unlovable because as we were sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). Our marriage relationship is based on our relationship with God, not based on the performance of our spouse.

Real Love Meets Your Spouse’s Need of Service

When God made man, He put him in the Garden of Eden and told him to take care of it. Afterward, God saw it wasn’t good for man to be alone, and created a help meet for him (Genesis 2:15, 18). God fashioned humans with gaps, and our spouses help fill those gaps. Marriage isn’t about our spouse being “all we need.” Marriage isn’t about finding someone who “completes us.” Marriage is a delightful love and intimacy that enables a man and a woman to serve God together.

Real Love Meets Your Spouse’s Need for Communication

In marriage, there are several rules for communication. We need to learn to communicate with one another at the right time (Proverbs 25:11). Don’t try to discuss a heated subject when it’s the wrong timing (Proverbs 20:3). It’s important to listen to one another when communicating. We should wait to answer after the other person speaks (Proverbs 18:3). Listening helps our spouse know we believe they’re important to us and what they’re staying is important.

Communication must go forward in a normal volume (Proverbs 15:1). We need to be careful to extend the same love and patience to our spouse as we do everyone else we encounter throughout the day. Lastly, we need to “fight fare” and resolve our differences with one another (Matthew 18:15). This requires us to:

  • Speak and act like a Christian
  • Set a time for confrontation with our spouse
  • Affirm our love for one another
  • Limit the parameters of the conversation
  • State the other’s position
  • Let the other person state our position
  • Find small areas of agreement
  • Engage in a dialogue, not a monologue
  • Watch for the boiling point of the other person
  • Continue with our responsibilities
  • Don’t violate confidences
  • Pray together

Real Love Learns What Your Spouse’s Needs Are

Scripture tells us to dwell with one another according to knowledge (I Peter 3:7). We need to learn our spouse and treat them with understanding and as equal partners in the relationship with Christ. If we fail to do this, God won’t hear our prayers. In the Old Testament, husbands and wives were commanded to invest in each other solely for one year before doing anything else (Deuteronomy 24:5). While we can’t do this today, this concept speaks of the importance of learning our spouse and what their needs are. They will never stop changing and we must never stop learning them.

Real Love Prepares You for the One Whose Needs You Will Meet

Paul wasn’t married at the time he wrote I Corinthians. He provides an awareness of those who are married as well as those who are single. Paul notes it’s easier to be single because extra work is involved when you’re married (I Corinthians 7:7). However, whether single or married, both states of life are a gift. We must accept and embrace the stage of life we’re in.

As we look to find a partner in life, we should be the person we want to marry. In self-reflection, we should also make sure we are living a right life that would attract the same type of person we’re looking for. Singles should be today who you want to marry in the future.

Real Love Comes from One Place

The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost (Romans 5:5). Real love is only going to come from God. He not only loves us, but uses us as a vessel to love through us to others in the world, and especially in our marriages. This is why Jesus looked at believers across the globe and noted how we’ll be called His disciples if we love one another (John 13:35).

Adapted from Wednesday Night Bible Study on February 14, 2018 with Pastor Nave