The Real Thing

Through the years we've discovered what true God-love is and what it isn't—and what that means for our marriage.

Growing up I (Mike) had all kinds of confusion about the crazy little thing called love. In the fifth grade, I got my first crush on Kathy. She had that Laura Ingles Wilder thing going, with the braided pigtails. So cute! I chased her at recess. I threw rocks at her. All the ways you show affection in the fifth grade.

By high school my dating techniques changed—thankfully! I started to date Debbie. I remember sitting with her in a movie theater. My heart would pound because I wanted to hold her hand so badly! But I was shy. I'd go into this countdown mode. Ten, nine, eight … ten, nine …

It took me forever to grab her hand. But when I did,

I thought, This is love.

On our wedding day, Debbie walked down the aisle.

I thought, This is love.

Three years later I watched that girl go through 36 hours of labor to bring our first child into the world. And that's when I knew what love is.

A lot of people say love is blind. We think it's just the opposite. Love sees things no one else sees. It sees both the potential and the flaws in your spouse. But if you have God's love, you love in spite of them.

Fake it till you make it. The "faking-it" part is saying, I'm going to decide to do the right thing

Jesus said in essence, "You want to know what life is about? Let me boil it down to two simple things: Love God; love people." That's what marriage is about.

In fact, the apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 14: "Let love be your highest goal." He writes again in Galatians 5:6, "The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love." If that's the only thing that matters, then we want to spend our life learning to love God and each other.

Here are eight lessons we've discovered about what love means to our marriage.

1. Love is plugged into the right power source.

There are several kinds of love. There's the generic brand X, based on feelings, and then there's this extraordinary love, the kind God has for us that's fueled by his supernatural power. The reason so many of us struggle with love is that we're not plugged into the right power source.

Paul tells us how to get this love in Galatians 5:22: "When the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love …" And Peter writes in 2 Peter 1:3, "As we know Jesus better, his divine power gives us everything we need for living a godly life." Love is a byproduct of our intimacy with God. The same supernatural power that blew a rock off a tomb and gave life to a dead man is in us, guiding, stretching, and prompting us to do the right thing, convicting us when we do the wrong thing.

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May 25

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