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The Endurance of Love in Marriage

     We live in an age of communication. Continuous changes in electronic technology have given consumers an amazing variety of options enabling them to stay in touch with others. Instant communication has become the common expectation. But has this all been for our good?
     Most people will agree that the electronic revolution has changed our cultural lifestyle. And we know that such a change is bound to have its effects. One area that has been affected is home and family life. In a simpler day, life moved more slowly. Communication was not a matter of picking up the phone for a quick visit with a distant friend, but letters were carefully written, and replies took weeks or perhaps months to arrive. Though much slower than what we expect today, this communication was effective, and was a means of developing lifelong, strong relationships.
     There are lessons for those who would today effectively build a loving home. The needs of home and family life have really not changed all that much from the days of our great-grandparents. Real, unhurried communication which has its foundation in true love is still vital.
     In the English language, the word "love" is a many-faceted word. In common conversation, a man might say he loves his wife. But, when he comes in for supper, he might also say that he loves fried chicken! Now most of us would understand that the use of the word, in describing our liking for fried chicken, is much different than if the word is used to describe love for wife and children.
     When the apostle Paul wrote about charity, (love) in 1 Corinthians 13, he used the Greek word "Agape". In contrast to English, Greek has a number of different words to describe love. One word describes romantic love, another family love, and then "Agape", the word which the Apostle Paul used, describes love in its highest and most profound form.
This "Agape", is the love of God the Heavenly Father. It is a love that is extended without regard of the worthiness of the one being loved, and it is consistent with the character of God. "But God commendeth his love (agape) toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8).
     God's love brought salvation to mankind who was without hope. In like manner, His love is not withheld from His people who fail at times. One who has experienced God's love in salvation is still human, and may at times fail in doing right. However, in spite of such failure, God will never forsake his love for us. This is a true display of enduring love.
     Is it then possible for home and family life to be built on such "enduring love"?
     Yes, it is.
     In 1 Corinthians 13, the love chapter of the Bible, the apostle Paul wrote, "Charity (agape) . . . endureth all things." (See verse 7). The previous verses of this chapter which we considered in this series, reveal that the secret of true love is in right beliefs and hopes. In this, the apostle gives us the platform for understanding that this love which finds its root in God Himself is a love that will endure all things.
     True love endures. It does not give up, or quit when relationships hit difficulties.
     Would to God that every husband and wife who are struggling to make their marriage work, would find the solid foundation of "agape" love - the love that endures. Would to God they would find the "agape" love becoming real in their experience, rather than being tempted to lose heart and give up.
     When this enduring love is real in the home, the result is a happy home.
     A happy marriage has learned the secret of enduring love. Each marriage partner finds joy in being in that holy bond. As husband and wife, they have learned to work and live together, and to overcome difficulties. They share their sorrows, as well as their joys. Theirs is the testimony of an enduring, loving marriage, and evidence that marriage can still, in our day, be what God from the beginning intended it to be - a relationship of love and devotion. It is God's way. And it is possible through God's provision.

- Mervin Brubacher
  Barwick, ON

January 2007