Thinking about love
HAPPY MARRIAGE MEMOS
by John Kpikpi
There is a lovely story in Exodus about God’s meeting with Moses which reminds me of some practical ways in which love works. It can help us as we explore further the tricky subject of love in marriage. Listen to what God said to Moses. In every breath we catch a sense of love flowing from God towards his people:
The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey — the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.” (Exodus 3:7-10)
What do we learn about love here from the Author of love?
Love looks. God said, ‘I have seen…’ Love takes time to see and observe and take in the true condition of the person we love. When God looked He did it well and discovered that there was misery among his people. A cursory glance will not yield the true secrets of your spouse’s situation. Take time to look and see. You might discover that your wife is wearing a new dress or a new pair of earrings (which requires a compliment) or you might see that she is not looking very happy – a situation which requires some attention from you. By all means, open your eyes to your wife/husband and see.
Love God said, ‘I have heard…’ It’s incredible how the One who must be the busiest person of all in the universe manages to hear the cries of His people. But like a mother who can distinguish the sound of her baby among many babies, God shows us that love listens out for the one we love. Husbands and wives need to tune their ears to listen to and hear each other. Sometimes even before your spouse speaks you should be able to know what he/she is about to say! And keep your eyes open as well while you are listening to your husband or wife: their facial expressions and ‘body language’ can communicate as much as (and sometimes more than) their words.
Love shows concern. God said, ‘I am concerned…‘ God allows the information He garners with His eyes and ears to affect Him! Allow what you see and hear to open the door for your emotions to kick in. Are you concerned about your spouse? Do you empathise with his/her situation? A helpful tip for feeling genuine concern is to put yourself in his/her situation. Don’t brush off what you are seeing and hearing with a quick-fix answer. Do not shoot out scripture verses too quickly either. Show concern.
Love steps into the other person’s world. God said, ‘I have come down..,’ Although we live under the same roof as our wife or husband (hopefully!) our ‘worlds’ can often be miles apart. The world of work, finance, political power etc may become very distant from the world of the children, their aches and pains, their school uniforms, birthday presents etc. But love means being ready to step out of our world often and enter the other’s world. Will you ‘come down’ today and meet your wife / husband?
Love rescues. God said, ‘I have come down to rescue.’ God actually does something to sort out the problem. Love means we expend our time and energy on the other person’s behalf. Do you need to change the light bulb for her? Do you need to fix the gas cooker? Do you need to cook a different kind of meal because of his health issues? Go on and fix the problem. That’s love.
Love takes us to a better place. God said, ‘… to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey’. God was planning the best for His people. That’s true love. Have you made your wife’s life better since she married you? Have you made your husband’s life better since you married him? Husbands and wives need to take time to think and make very good plans for their common future and also for one another. Aim for a tomorrow together which exceeds today’s experience by far!
So husbands and wives, look again, listen again, be concerned again, step into each other’s world, fix the problem and aim higher together!