13 Characteristics Of God's Love In Christian Marriages
Inspirational Marriage Sermon Preached At House Of Praise Home Church Kuils River
I’ve been preaching many marriage sermons, but more than a month ago the Lord dropped something into my heart and I’m going to share it for the first time this morning. The words He dropped in my heart was “Fight For Your Marriage!”
Whenever we travel around the world, we find Christians divorcing their spouses. Now twenty years ago you’d never hear of that. Today it’ like “normal”, but it is not normal!
God hates divorce and we need to fight for our marriages – especially Christian leaders. Even if you have grounds for divorce, the Bible says that God hates it! We need to fight for our marriages. It is so important, because when Christian marriages are in a mess, the community will be in a mess… and the whole world eventually.
We are delaying the second coming of the Lord. I’d like you to turn with me to:
1 Corinthians 13:4
We usually refer to it as the “Love Chapter”. For weeks I’ve been meditating on four verses. Some guys read the whole Bible in a year.
Let’s read: ”Love is patient.”
Now there are different kinds of love. There are the brotherly love and the friendship love. But the love that Paul is referring to here, is ”agape love”. In other words: God’s love.
Agape love is patient. In marriage sermons we need to hear this!
(scripture reading continued…)
- ”Love is kind, it does not envy; it does not boast.
- It is not proud.
- It is not rude.
- It is not self-seeking.
- It is not easily angered.
- It keeps no record of wrong.
- Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth!
- It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always persevered.
- Love never fails.”
Now just by peering into these four verses this morning, you will be able to determine if your life is a reflection of God’s love, or agape love. God wants you to exhibit this love towards your wife and your husband.
Paul uses the word “agape” to describe the highest level of love in this world. You don’t get a higher level of love than agape, because this is the way God loves. It is a divine love that gives and gives and gives…
- even if it is not responded to
- even if it is not acknowledged
- even if we are not thanked
It just GIVES!
So this morning I want to share thirteen (don’t worry – I can share it in thirty minutes!) characteristics of God’s love that should be displayed in our marriages.
You know, for the first twenty years of our marriage, I did not preach any marriage sermons, because I felt unqualified. The last twenty years, I feel qualified. (laughter…) I just wouldn’t preach any marriage sermons! I felt that I did not have this kind of love to preach marriage sermons.
I’m now being very honest with you, and I’m still working on my marriage. Every morning I get up and I think “What can I do to please my wife?” Once a week we date. We don’t date the way we used to date – ok… it’s different now! But once a week we take the day off and we either go walk on the beach. Bernie (pastor at House of Praise Home Church Kuils River) just showed us some smart spots along the Stellenbosch vineyards, so we’re vineyard-crazy at this moment!
So at least once a week, we date and sometimes twice a week! I just counseled a pastor and his wife and I said, “man you have to date once a week”, and she said, “Pastor, we’re twenty-five years married and we never date. Whenever we go out, the whole family goes out with us.” – Now that’s not a date! It should just be between the two of you alone.
By the way: there’s no such thing as “boys-night-out” or “girls-night-out”. I know what guys do when it comes to boys-night-out… but let’s get back into the Word of God. I just want the Word to speak to us this morning.
First Characteristic – Marriage Sermons -
“Love practices patience”
The Bible says: “Love is patient.” The Greek word here is like a candle that has a very long wick. You know, it burns and burns and burns. That’s the Greek meaning of the word and better translated, it says “Love patiently and passionately bears with others as long as patience is needed.” In other words:
- Love does not throw in the towel.
- Love does not quit.
It is patient. Sometimes we hear a couple say, or the man or husband says “I’m sick and tired of waiting and believing. If my husband does do not come around soon, I’m finished with this relationship.” Well, God’s love never gives up!
Many men today say, “Well my wife – she’s overbearing.” But remember when you were dating your wife, you used to tell your friends “Oh, I admire my wife, you know, she is so… straight forward!” Now all of a sudden she’s “overbearing” or… “My husband – he’s so strong, he makes decisions” and now you say “He’s a bully”?
It happens, church.
Second Characteristic – Marriage Sermons –
The Bible says “Love is kind”. The word kind here means to be adaptable or compliant to the needs of others. The interpretation: Love does not demand others to be like itself. Rather it is so focused on the needs of my wife that it bends over backwards to become what she needs me to be.
We need to ask this question here this morning: Do I become what my spouse need me to be, or do I demand that my spouse be like me?
You see, your wife cannot be like you! Your husband cannot be like you! The reason why people get divorced today, one word – we got compatible.
I say this morning that according to the Word of God, the reason why we should get married, is because we are not compatible.
The Bible says as iron shapes iron, so we shape one another. In that way we complement one another and we complete one another. Now my wife has the tendency to forgive the devil… but God has used that in her to make me a better person. In that way we complement and complete one another.
If people tell me, “Oh - we’re so alike -“ to me that’s boring, isn’t it? We are different. We are so different! We’re like the difference between black and white. I believe that’s why our marriage is so successful. Next year we will be celebrating fifty years of marriage.
I’m so excited about marriage! Marriage is an adventure. Two people, becoming one, living their life together, planning and working towards goals in life and man, just enjoying themselves!
Third Characteristic – Marriage Sermons –
“Love practice unselfishness”
The Bible says “it is not envious.” “It is not selfish.”
The word “envia” is the Greek word “Zallos” which portrays a person who is so consumed with his own desires and plans. You know people like that? I did it my way…
This is a person who wants his own way and he is willing to sacrifice everything and anything and anyone to get his own way.
Love is unselfish. It is not about you, it is not about being ambitious and self-centered. Paul is saying here that love is not ambitious, self-centered or so consumed with itself that he never thinks of the needs and desires that others possess. I’ve seen men – they just buy things for themselves. It’s about time that we say “You take care of yourself and I will support you!” I know what my wife likes. Three things. Whenever we travel, I see that she buys it for herself: 1) Bags 2) Perfume 3) Jewelry. But number one: BAGS!
Fourth Characteristic – Marriage Sermons –
“Love practices Humility”
It says here in the Bible “Love does not boast, is not proud.” In Greek it means a lot of “self-talk”. You see, it’s not about you, it’s about us.
It’s we, not about me
When two people get married, they become a unit, they become one. Communication is a two way thing. It’s listening to your wife, listening to your husband. I know some couples, they love to talk, but it’s two way. I often tell couples that they need to learn the art of conversation. We need to learn to talk about everything!
Sometimes the husband comes home, and it’s just “Hozit, allright?” or “Hi how are you, ok?” … kicks his shoes off and sit in front of the TV and they never have a conversation.
Agape love focuses on the accomplishment of your wife. Many times we say “I’m going to accomplish this/that in life”. Find out what her strengths are! Encourage her, even if it means going to university or finishing twelfth grade, to become what she needs to become. If we’re not going to do it as husbands, nobody else is going to do it. In order to build them up, we need to make them feel really valuable and secure.
There are two words that I always use in a marriage counseling session:
1) Men love to be admired. When he comes home at night, he needs to feel like superman! He needs to hear things like “I’m so proud of you!” or “You’re the breadwinner and I so appreciate you!” or “Without you, life will be so dull!”
2) Women love affection. They need touch, they need to be hugged, they need that squeeze. Sometimes I notice when people are twenty years married, and the husband wants to hug his wife, she says “Don’t act foolish, the kids are watching us.” No, our kids need to see that! It is important!
Fifth Characteristic – Marriage Sermons –
“Love practices politeness”
Love is not rude – a person who is tactless or thoughtless; someone who is inconsiderate of others. Did you ever hear people say “He acts ugly”? Now love is not rude!
Sixth Characteristic – Marriage Sermons –
“Love practice the other person’s interest”
It’s about your husband’s interest. It’s about your wife’s interest. It says in the Word of God “It is not self-seeking.” Love is seeking the interest of my wife, its seeking the interest of my husband.
It does not manipulate or control. I have often seen that wives like to cry when they don’t get their own way. That is a very suble way of manipulation!
It is not self-seeking!
This word “seek” was also used to depict a person who is so upset about not getting what he wanted, that he turns to the court system to sue or to demand what he is trying to obtain. It is self-seeking and he’ll go to any means to get what he wants even if it meant going to the court system. That’s the original meaning, and sometimes we want our own way to the extent of our spouse – even twisting the facts. This is also a severe form of manipulation in your marriage.
Another translation says “Love does not manipulate situations or scheme and devise methods that will twist situations to its own advantage.”
Couples, you’ve heard many marriage sermons, but you know - we just need to be transparent. Just be yourself. Don’t try and buy a new Mercedes because Mr. Jones next door has got a new Mercedes! In the process we scheme, we twist the facts and we do everything in our power, because we want it. I want it!
Seventh Characteristic – Marriage Sermons-
“Love practice conflict resolution”
The Bible says “It is not easily angered.” You see, many times we don’t get our way and we become so angry that we storm out of the house. We need to resolve conflict. I remember – I was married a couple of weeks and… (my mother was very proud of the fact that my dad never lifted his hands) … she said to me: if you feel there’s an argument coming on, take a long walk; stay away a whole hour and buy a packet of cigarettes. Now those days I used to smoke other stuff as well…. So I thought – this was “cool” advice!
There was only one thing the matter – when I returned, the problem was still there. In communication we call that isolation: when you walk away from a problem. You never walk away from a problem.
It’s quite possible to tell my wife I’m very angry without me kicking the dog. I can let her know how I feel, without pulling out my hair.
This is now one of my marriage sermons where young married couples or couples who are planning to get married, must listen: this is excellent pre-marriage counseling and advice:
Learn how to resolve conflict at an early stage.
Because five years later, it will become normal. Twenty years later you will have bottled everything up, and then you explode! Sometimes we do this – we provoke our spouses until they had enough and the result is a big fight!
The same Greek word for anger is the word vinegar. This means your relationship can turn sour.
Eighth Characteristic – Marriage Sermons –
“Love practice forgiveness”
It says in the Bible “It keeps no records of wrongs.” All of a sudden ten years after the marriage something pops out! It’s always about a previous boyfriend. Love keeps no record of wrong! This word “keeps” is an accounting term. It means to count or to reckon. It literally meant to credit to someone’s account. It’s like a bookkeeper who keeps record of every wrong being done to him.
In marriage: don’t do it! It is going to destroy your marriage. Love does not keep records of wrongs. In Psalm 103 the Bible says that God forgave us and we are to remember this.
If we think of our ex president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela – this man could’ve been so bitter, but he chose to forgive! The result? The whole country is blessed. Right now, while he was in hospital, the whole world was praying for him.
There is power in forgiveness. We have to sometimes make a choice to forgive. Love does not deliberately keeps records of wrongs or past mistakes.
Ninth Characteristic – Marriage Sermons –
“Love practice compassion”
It says in verse six “Love does not rejoice in iniquity. Whenever your husband of wife sin, people rejoice. Love rejoices in the truth. There must be compassion. Do not rejoice in the mistakes of your spouse. We all are going to make mistakes; everyone of us… Have you ever secretly rejoiced when you heard that your spouse got into some kind of trouble?
Men need to listen carefully now: because of the male ego, we tend to feel that we must be everything, we need to know everything… we don’t! I don’t know everything! That is why God gave you a wife. That is why God gave you a husband – to make you a better person.
We need to learn to respond rather than to retaliate. Many times we just want to retaliate. We’re just waiting for a word… and then… we snap! Rather say “You know, my baby, I made a mistake. I Love You!” Refuse the situation.
You know when we retaliate; we say things we shouldn’t be saying.
Tenth Characteristic – Marriage Sermons –
(And I am now speaking to all the men.)
“Love practice headship”
“Love always protects” it says in verse seven. The word “protect” in the Greek literally means to cover - as a roof covers a house. That’s how we protect our wives. In Ephesians chapter 5, it says “wives, submit to your husbands.” How? As the church submits to Christ. Who is the church? We are! So here’s the key: The wife submits as a Christian. Is that difficult? No, it’s not difficult. But in verse 26 it says to the husbands “Love your wives the same way as Christ Loves the church.”
Now which is the greater responsibility?
- To submit as a Christian? Or
- To love the way God loves?
… HEAVY! …
In that same chapter the Bible says “The wife submits to the husband as the head of the home.” Now we’ll have to define “headship”. What does it mean to be the head? Simple – it means that I protect and provide.
Many times we tell women who is in an abusive situation “You know my sister – you made your bed; you made a vow before God…” No, the fact is: he (the husband) made a covenant with God when he got married, to protect and to provide.
Husbands, protect your wives from the storms of life, rather than expose their flaws to the view of others. As husbands we conceal, we cover, we protect our wives.
We need to serve our wives cheerfully! Every morning my wife gets breakfast. And coffee. It took me a couple of years to get where I am, but practice makes perfect.
Eleventh Characteristic – Marriage Sermons –
“Love practice trust”
It says “Love always trusts.” It means to put our faith in our spouse. Many husbands don’t trust their wives. Many wives don’t trust their husbands.
Love believes the best in every situation. This doesn’t mean that agape love ignores problems or challenges – no! We’ll always have problems. There’ll always be conflict. There’ll always be challenges. It just makes a choice to see beyond the problems and conflicts. To strain forward to see the highest potential that resides in your spouse. There’s potential in your wife! There’s potential in your husband! We need to see it and God has placed the two of us together to bring it out.
Twelfth Characteristic – Marriage Sermons –
“Love practice hope”
It says “always hopes” and hope is the expectation of good things. You always need to expect the best in your wife and in your husband. Always expect the best.
Thirteenth Characteristic – Marriage Sermons –
“Love practice endurance”
It says “love always (not sometimes…) perseveres.”
Now I want to close off by saying to couples and those who are going to get married: Never quit! Never throw in the towel! Don’t do it. Fight for your marriage. Whatever happens, fight for your marriage! I’m here to stay. I’m looking forward to my 50th wedding anniversary next year. I’m trusting God to go on a 21 day cruise around the world. Listen: marriage is cool man! It’s an adventure. Don’t quit!
In verse eight it says “Love never fails.” Everything else will fail, but God’s love will never fail.
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