Commentary by Rev. Michael VandenBerg
Summer is the busiest time of the year for weddings. Between May and September, churches, caterers, photographers and reception halls all gear up for the deluge of couples wanting to express their love for one another and by getting married.
I love to see the promise in the eyes of young couples anticipating their new life together. In spite of all we hear about the decline of marriage, we still have over two million people (according to the CDC) get married every year. Over 80 percent of those are getting married for the first time.
The sad part is that the divorce rate averages around 48 percent. Why do so many get divorced when they start out so in love? Well part of the problem may well be how we have come to define love.
Love in the media age can be defined as a strong sexual attraction, positive emotions or pleasure, the warm feelings we have for another or the affection of a special friend. As you can see, much of this is the romantic/emotional kind of love that we read in books, see in movies or hear in music.
But love need not be only subjective, but can also have a more definable meaning as we find in the writings of the Apostle Paul. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”
As you can see, in one instance Love is defined in terms of how it emotionally affects me. In the second it defines love in how it behaviorally affects the one that I love. One looks to their own needs, the other looks to the needs of the other.
If we want marriage to last, then we need to learn how to love. If we want to truly love, then we need to look out for the needs of the one we love, even above our own. Imagine if every marriage looked out for the good of their spouse in everything they did, far more than they were concerned about their own needs. We would have more marriages and less divorce, we would have more couples looking out for their spouse and less looking out only for them self. We would not make our emotions the judge of our success in marriage, but rather we would judge its success on faithfulness, obedience, honor and integrity.
Help America show true love and build a strong season of love by learning how to do it the lasting way.