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Building a Great Marriage

Building a Great Marriage
Life Principle #1 Unconditional Love

Paul and Linda J. Bucknell

Questions on Agape Unconditional Love

Session #2d

Great Marriage

Session 2 Index | Building a Great Marriage Index
God's Design of Marriage | God's love described | Choice of love
Questions of Love | Source of Love | Pledge and Prayer
Video of Session #2 | Download

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Questions on Agape Unconditional Love

Purpose: Great marriages need unconditional Love! This article, 'Questions on Unconditional Love', highlight a number of questions that always occur when speaking about God's agape unconditional love. This is section 4 (d) of session two of Building a Great Marriage.

These questions about unconditional love often distract us from making that commitment to unconditional love one's wife.

1) What about the guy? How is he going to be fulfilled?

The question in long form is, "What if a husband devotedly loves his wife, and she simply doesn't fulfill his needs?" There is fear that the man will face a totally barren life if all he does is love and is not loved back. Perhaps in his worse moments he would even go further in his thinking,

"God would not create such a terribly miserable situation,
and if He by any chance does, I'm not going to be part of it."

When a person asks this question, he probably has a belief problem that ultimately ends up in selfishness. He doesn't have enough faith in God to trust God's design. God has promised to care for man as long as he obeys Him.




He doesn't believe God's ways are ultimately the best despite what circumstances he finds himself in.

Because of his doubt, he holds back on his commitment

Because he cannot be sure of God's love and help, he uses his 'love' as a means of getting love back. This then is no longer love!

 As long as we demand love, we will never receive it!

2) Can I actually love if I am not being loved?

Fear from the world of psychology is instilled in those who suffer modern education. This view strongly states that if our basic needs are not being met, then we cannot love another. This kind of 'mental' reservation holds men back from loving. This path of thought becomes an easy excuse to indulge in ones lust. Although the observations might seem to make sense, they go quite contrary to God's rule. The reason is this.

Men are designed to give. Husbands are made to give of themselves in love. If you do not step out in faith to love, then you will step back in fear to lust. The command in the Bible for husbands to love their wives overrules any of his fears. If we fear God more than any other thing, then we will obey God even if we have doubts and unknowns about our particular circumstances.

3) Doesn't the wife need to love?!

After extensively hearing about the husband's responsibility to love his wife, he might begin to get a bit insecure and speak out the question on his mind, "What about the wife's obligation to love?"

Building a Godly MarriagePurchase or download the book 'Building a Greart Marriage'You can order the Building a Great Marriage book and materials including handouts at the BFF Resource Center. Or even better get the BFF Marriage Training Library which includes the book, handouts, other BFF marriage articles including powerpoints, audios and videos.

First of all, we need to remember that even if she doesn't love in return, our commitment to love never changes. Of course, we all desire our wives to love us. This makes life so much more delightful. I sometimes wonder though, whether the Lord often uses the wife we choose to chastise us.

In other words, He uses difficult wives for difficult husbands. When sharpening a tool, the rougher parts of the job require a rougher instrument; the final touching up requires a much more delicate tool.Love of the Brethren 1 thessalonians 4:9

But secondly, let me go on and say there is a life truth from this teaching for all of us: men and women, single and married. We must not miss it. God establishes marriage so that all of us can familiarize ourselves with God's unconditional love.

The wife should not go away thinking she need not love her husband. We understand from Jesus' teaching that we all ought to devotedly love one another. The truth is that everyone is called to love. Men are challenged to a higher more devoted love because of the intense and close marriage relationship.

4) Why are men so slow to follow Christ’s example of God’s love?

Men learn so slowly. The problem is that many of us have not had a good fatherly example. The second problem is that the only other way we will familiarize ourselves with God’s great love is by deeply getting to know and obey God. His example of how He deals with us is ever so evident.

How many times does God have to specially provide help, guidance, strength and protection for us to be convinced of His love? Are we not forgetful, stubborn and unbelieving?! His love is based on principle and not what we deserve.

His giving has set love in motion on earth. The divine love of God through Christ is the sublime example of love that greatly touches the hearts of those enabled to understand. Every husband is called to replicate this sacrificial love to his wife. Ephesians 5:33 says, "Nevertheless let each individual among you also love his own wife even as himself..."

The command to love is given to the husband
so that even if he does not feel like loving, he still does.

5) Does the single man need to love?

Even single men need to live by love rather than lust. The commitment to sexual purity means you acknowledge you are God's agent of love in the world. If you are to reflect God’s love, then you must live a sexually pure life.

buy marriage bookSince love is a ruling agent for all Christians, it is love that needs to shape a man's thoughts toward women in general. Women are not to be thought of in terms of how they delight our eyes. No. no. This is not good. That woman is reserved for some other man. God has not given that woman to us. Love respects that. We stand back and simply pray for her future husband.

A good side benefit develops when single young men choose to live a life of love. They can see much more clearly what kind of wife they ought to marry! They are not deceived by looks. They are looking for godly qualities.

6) How does this command to love relate to overcoming a man’s sexual lusts?

In the end, the choice is between love or lust, or more clearly between God or self. Marriage has helped flesh out what kind of love we need to fight this war with lusts. If we love, we will not lust. We will not like our lusts. We will be repulsed by its hideousness. However, if we neglect to choose love and the source of love–God, we will default to lusts.

A great marriage tolerates no seductive pictures and movies. Why? They are fuel for the lust factory. Toleration of lustful thoughts reveals that one is not loving his wife. True love finds full contentment in his own wife. He might be tempted during challenging times to think elsewhere but in his determination to love his wife, he rejects those thoughts and delights himself in his wife even if it means waiting an indefinite period.

Although we might think that what we do now is better than before, we should not fool ourselves. A little less porno is not good enough! We do not look for improvements but eradication. Improvements can lull us into dangerous waters.

Choosing to love is our choice. We absolutely cannot love as God has designed being close to Him. He has designed for us to function this way.

A choice to love is a choice to call upon God in His great and abundant mercies to seize our hearts with a selfless passion like His. Can there be a greater decision than to take our greatest joy in imitating God's love in this desperate world?! Definitely not.

When we love, let it be known there is no room for lust.
But equally so, if we lust, then there is no love.

7) What do I do when my wife doesn’t think I loved her?

Many marriages are not good. Mistrust has built up. When steps of unconditional love are first taken, the wife may be a little skeptical of your motives - probably with good reason.

Don't be defensive and especially don't be offended. Just continue to quietly love. Love unconditionally. Love forever. Love is going to be what rules your mind and thoughts from now on. But you can be sure, as a Christian, God is always willing to help you. Sacrifice might be required. Be willing to give and even to die in your love for your wife. This unconditional love is the heartbeat of a great marriage.

8) Can my love hold out?

Lust and fear comtrasted to love and faithThere is a fear which seems more earnest but similarly devilish. Some husbands demand to know “Can this kind of love can last if I don’t get any encouragement back from my wife?” This person wants to have this kind of love but is not sure that he has all that he needs to properly carry it out.

This question is good because it reminds us that our wife is not the source of love. She might make our experience of loving her more exciting and enthralling, but once she becomes the source or strength of our love, then know for sure it is short-lived.

People will always disappoint us. We must not make decisions according to how they respond to us. We must make the right decisions about how to act according to the truth of God’s Word. Perhaps the real question is whether or not we can be sure of sufficient wisdom, strength and love from God to meet the needs of the kinds of people we are expected to love. Read on to learn how to tap this source of enduring love.

True love and faith grow together. One cannot love unless one has great trust in God's design of marriage. He has to believe that God will somehow use that love to accomplish His greater purposes even if it doesn't seem apparent at the moment of crisis. Lust and fear also grow together. Fear will cause a man to forget about his commitment to his wife and usually in self-pity focus on himself. Usually this has sexual ramifications.

These questions only leave one question: where can we find such love to move and inspire us? See the next session!

This Building a Great Marriage is a long series. Print or download a pdf edition which makes it easier to read. Or listen to audios, videos and other great books from our BFF store.

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Read more exciting and practical articles on marriage. Just click on a link or graphic below.
Developing Love in Your Marriage
Renewing Affections between Husband and Wife
God's Sexual Design for Our Lives and Marriages
Helping Solve Marital Problems
Goal and Design of Marriage: Intimacy
Strengthening Godly Marriages: The Marriage Navigator