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Love is a peculiar thing… it can often be a fleeting emotion or a stirring euphoria.
Love is a verb – often encompassing the notion of cherishing or holding dear the object of your affection.
I Corinthians 13:4-13 is one of the most quoted Scripture passages in the Bible – especially during wedding ceremonies. Recently, I began to think about the Apostle Paul’s reminder to those in Corinth (and to us as well) to use our spiritual gifts in love.
In Gary Chapman’s book, The 5 Love Languages he lists number four as “Acts of Service.” That brought me to a place of self-reflection with regards to my spiritually mismatched marriage. Am I using my “Acts of Service” language with my spouse? How is he viewing it?
How I Show Acts of Service in my Own Unequally-Yoked Marriage:
1. Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up…
I am learning to have patience in the little things. My husband is now fully retired, and that means being home nearly every day. Be careful not to over-inflate your ego regarding your own “Christian” position. Don’t be so full of yourself that you overlook their needs and desires.
Simple loving actions and acts of service can mean the world to your spouse – especially for us after being together for over 30+ years. Familiarity can breed contempt, and you need to remind yourself that every day is a new day to show forth love
2. …does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; (vs 5)
Applying the Fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) are essential when ministering to and doing acts of service for my spouse. It is easy to get overwhelmed and lose your temper. I often pray an SOS prayer for God to help me with my replies (words) and my body language (actions) so as not to offend him. I have to take my thoughts captive (II Corinthians 10:5) and redirect my wayward mindset. I must resist being prideful and rude.
3. …does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; (vs 6)
I continually ask God to forgive me when I knowingly sin. If I say I do not sin, I deceive myself (I John 1:8,9). I rejoice in the truth that God’s love prevails and that His Sovereign will reigns. No matter what I face during times of turmoil and difficulty – God’s love conquers all.
4. …bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (vs 7)
There is nothing that I cannot do with God’s help. Though I may bear the brunt of yelling or others’ frustrations, I can treat them with respect and dignity. I may be tired and discouraged, but I can extend grace and kindness. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)
5. Love never fails (vs 8)
My love for my husband needs to be unconditional – as is God’s love for us. When I am distraught and overwhelmed – my help comes from the Lord. Agape love is a picture of Jesus living out through us in our actions and words. We are an extension of Jesus’ hands and feet. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
6. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love (vs 13)
In the end, all I know is that my acts of service are just what my husband needs right now. Your marriage may be in a different phase than ours. You may be a newlywed or have a young family. Have faith that God will enable you to love your spouse as He intended.
Finally, oftentimes I walk and pray and pour my heart out to God. One day not long ago I said, “Lord, thank you that I have a good husband, a responsible provider, and a man that loves his family. Thank you Lord that You are my motivation and my help. You order my steps as I walk this path laid before me.”
I encourage you to look deep within as you serve your spouse and use God’s gifts to bring Him glory…
Deborah is the author of a Christian non-fiction book titled, “Mission Possible.” It is written for women who love the Lord Jesus, but their spouse doesn’t share their passion. It will encourage and challenge the reader to embrace God’s promises for their spouse and future together. Visit www.spirituallyunevenmarriage.com
Looking for more from Deborah? Check out this post that talks about showing love to those closest to us. The Love Boat – Don’t Miss it!