As Christians, we know that it is not the works we do which makes God love us. God is love. God already loves us and loves us unconditionally. It is through this love that we do good works. It is because we are loved that we love others and try to keep his commandments (at least, most of the time). We sometimes fail – but God’s love doesn’t.
But we don’t seem to take this same concept into our own human relationships. While I will use spouse for simplicity in this post, what I write here is relevant for any relationship – our love for our parents, our children, our friends, our significant other.
We try to love our spouse unconditionally. We expect our spouse to love us the same way. Unfortunately, while we may believe we do have that unconditional love, we just sit in that understanding without doing anything. We get selfish. We are selfish.
He loves me. I don’t have to try, so I’m not going to try. I’m not going to show him the love he deserves. I’m going to keep acting how I do. He’s always going to love me anyway.
This isn’t what love is about.
Just as we show love because of, and through, the love God already has for us; so should we be doing for our spouse. Yes, be comforted in the fact that you are loved unconditionally. Be comforted in knowing that you can screw up, you can get into fights, you can be imperfect. But through that love you are to, in return, love.
Today’s Lenten sacrifice:
Let go of expecting love and feeling you don’t have to do anything in return.
Do some extra chores, out of the love you have for and because of the love you receive from, your spouse. Take yourself out of your own little world for and because of that love you share. Be present and mindful of their feelings. Go the extra distance.
You aren’t doing these things to get love. You’re doing them because you already have that love. You should want to do these things. You should want to move out of your own selfishness because you are receiving selfless love in return.
Just as we love because God loves us, so should we love because our spouse loves us.
May we all learn from the love of God, and bring that knowledge and understanding into our own relationships, to strengthen and preserve them. May we all learn to remind the person who loves us that they too are loved – not because of what they do, but because of genuine, mutual, unconditional love.