We have to come to Part 4 and the final part of this series, What is Love?
And we have travelled from the Out of the Blue stage (Part 1) and rushed into Love and Marriage stage (Part 2) and ended up in the I’m So Happy I Can’t Stop Crying stage (Part 3) due to divorce and now are wondering what happened and how can love truly last.
Let’s Stay Together
Lovin’ you whether
Times are good or bad
Or happy or sad
I wanted to use these lyrics from Al Green’s incredible classic, Let’s Stay Together, to ask can really love last whether times are good or bad or happy or sad. The evidence in our culture shows we can love when everything is good, new or exciting but not at all when it’s bad, sad, or old.
So the question is how can love last for a lifetime? Here are some items I found out over the years and learned from other people who have been married a long time.
My brother-in-law told me one of the biggest enemies to a marriage or relationship is boredom. How you handle boredom after the excitement of the wedding is important to making love last.
Let’s be frank, here. No matter how good of a marriage or relationship you have…there will be times of boredom. There’s no way around it. No person can make a relationship exciting or adventurous 100, 90, or even 80 percent of the time.
Unfortunately, our culture wants to be entertained and stimulated constantly and technology has made our demand for that greater. But, everyday life moves at its own pace and we have to deal with life on a day-to-day basis.
The best advice I’ve ever gotten on how to live life was dealing with boredom. If you can make boredom your friend instead of your enemy, you will live a successful life.
As I turn 40 next week, I can write that has been the most impactful thing I’ve ever heard in becoming an adult. Because, if you don’t deal with boredom, it will make you leave a marriage when things do go bad or search for another person looking for something new or cause you to have a mid-life crisis and so on.
To me, boredom is the silent killer of marriage and making love that lasts a lifetime.
The next thing is that your marriage or relationship has to be bigger than you. I believe that Christ has to be in the center of your marriage at all times. Here is this from someone who has been married for 26 years:
“It sometimes surprises me just how easy some people can turn on and off the love. They treat love like a water spigot. Their love is conditional, and when conditions are not met, they turn off the love. Or they somehow cannot conceptualize the reality that you can be really angry, disappointed, disgusted, irritated, or just put-off by someone and still love them.”
We do make our love conditional. And soon as our conditions aren’t met, we want to leave. People will hurt people. And you will hurt someone especially in a marriage. There’s no way around it.
But, by having Christ at the center or your marriage or relationship, you will learn the importance of grace, forgiveness, and unconditional love. We are selfish by nature. So those three concepts can’t be learned by another human being. It has to come from a source bigger than ourselves.
And keeping Christ at the center of your marriage can give you the strength needed to get through the rough, bad or even tragic spots of a marriage.
The next thing for making love last is each person has to make the marriage or relationship a priority. This means that marriage must come before the children.
Yes, this will be controversial for someone you. Especially for those of you who have blended families. But, I have to stand behind this concept.
If you put your children ahead of your marriage and the only thing you and your spouse have in common in raising children…then that marriage will not last. The fastest rate of divorce in America is marriages of 20 years or more and the main thing causing it is the empty nest stage.
The couple has raised their children and the person they have been married to has now become a stranger. You must realize that you are married to your spouse. And the children are important but they have to be behind your spouse.
I know it’s difficult to find time to be with your spouse when raising children. However, I believe once a month at least for a couple of hours it should be mommy and daddy time and other couple friends should help each other out with this.
Being connected to your spouse throughout your marriage will be one of the most beneficial things you can do to make love last.
Those are some ideas about What is Love? I hope you enjoyed reading this series.