The Bible is a book about love. It assumes that married couples love each other and rejoice together (Ecclesiastes 9:9). Isaac loved Rebekah, and she brought comfort into his life (Genesis 24:67). Uriah the Hittite nourished and cherished Bathsheba (2 Samuel 12:3). Solomon’s wife was as loving to him as a pet deer (Proverbs 5:19). What characteristics does the Bible give of true love?

True love is sacrificial—no price is too great.

One man confessed to his friend that he was afraid that he loved his wife too much. His friend asked him if he loved her as much as Christ loved the church. He answered no, and his friend said, “Then you must love her more.”

A husband who understands biblical love would lay down his life for his wife. A wife would do the same for her husband (1 John 3:16; cf. Romans 5:7). It follows logically that one who would make the supreme sacrifice will readily make the smaller sacrifices needed on a daily basis to help a spouse draw nearer to God. Jacob loved Rachel enough to sacrifice fourteen years of his life for her (Genesis 29:20, Genesis 20:30). A husband may not enjoy going to see his wife’s mother, and she may not enjoy watching football every weekend, but these are small sacrifices to make for a good relationship.

A husband may not enjoy going to see his wife’s mother, and she may not enjoy watching football every weekend, but these are small sacrifices to make for a good relationship.

Personal likes, desires, opinions, preferences, and welfare take a backseat to compatibility, friendship, and longterm closeness.

True love is relentless—no road is too long.

Love finds a way. It is creative and longsuffering. To use Paul’s words, love “beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth” (1 Corinthians 13:7-8). It doesn’t quit and walk out (Matthew 19:6-9; Romans 7:2). The four friends of a palsied man illustrate love’s creativity. When they could not get to Jesus through a door or window, they climbed up and broke through the roof (Mark 2:4). Love refuses to give up until a spouse is ready for heaven. Love never lets a mate slow up in the Christian race, or give up in the fight with the devil (1 Corinthians 9:24-27).

True love is comprehensive—no sin is safe.

Paul refers to removing spots and wrinkles, which is a clothing metaphor (Ephesians 5:27). As a garment brought home from the cleaners has spots removed and wrinkles pressed out, so two Christians long married are cleansed and groomed to meet the Master. The figure may also refer to an aging body that becomes spotted and wrinkled. Since spots are external and wrinkles are caused by internal decay, the figure applies to spouses helping each other overcome both obvious flaws and hidden secrets (Psalm 19:12).

A spouse has a unique perspective and opportunity to help us successfully prepare to meet King Jesus. They know us the best; they are around us the most; they understand our strengths and weaknesses. They likely know our secret sins and carefully masked character flaws. Thus they are in the best position to help us “spruce up” before we go to that marriage feast. Love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8).

God gave us our families to help us be prepared on that great, final day when the whole world will be watching (Matthew 25:31-33). Is your spouse ready?

 

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