Soul mates are not born. They’re made. That’s a fact that may discourage people who think marriage should be easy, but it’s the truth. God created marriage to succeed. But that success requires us to put energy into it.
In other words, you have to work at marriage.
As an example, let’s talk about emotions. One misconception about marriage is that the emotions will always be there. You’ll always feel “in love.” The truth is that you’ll go through times when the emotions don’t exist. Sometimes emotions change.
When this happens, couples worry that something’s wrong. Maybe they married the wrong person. But emotions come and go, and emotions can be unpredictable. Basing your marriage relationship on a feeling can be a big problem.
Have you ever noticed that the most beautiful and talented people in the world fall in love, get divorced, fall in love, get divorced, and keep repeating the cycle? That’s because they are basing love on their feelings. When feelings change, they change spouses.
That’s the wrong approach to love and marriage. The Bible says the best kind of love in the world is not love based on emotion, but love based on choice. This is called agape love. It’s the kind of love God has for us.
I don’t always know what my emotions are going to do tomorrow, but I’m always in control of my will. And my decision to love Karen Evans is a decision of my will. Regardless of how I feel or what she does, I’ve made the decision to love her. I choose to do my best to be faithful to her and love her as Jesus would.
That’s a decision that has nothing to do with my circumstance or emotions. That’s agape love—love by choice.
You’ve heard the saying “the grass is always greener on the other side.” I like to add to that saying: When the grass looks greener on the other side, it’s time to water your own yard. (Another version: When the grass looks greener on the other side, it’s because you can’t see the poop from here.)
In other words, everybody and everything looks good from a distance. But once you live with a person for awhile, you begin to see their issues. This is what causes emotions to change—and every couple experiences this at some point. How will you feel about me when the good times end and the good feelings waver?
My best friends are the people who see all the dry, unwatered grass in my life and still love me anyway. The best couples are the ones that push past the hard times and still choose to love one another with God’s agape love.
Karen and I have been together a long time. We’ve seen everything about each other—all the dirt—and we’re still together. That’s what love is.
Jimmy Evans // Marriage Today