by Edward Ridenour
Love, love, love, love, love! Did I say it enough? This is one of the most overemphasized and misused word ever proclaimed, especially when it is applied to relationships of people. I won't attempt to itemize all of the different scenarios where this word is applied. I'll trust that you can think of plenty on your own. I would, though, like to address the application of this word when it is used in the context of marriage.
Let me get right to the point - the making of marriage has nothing to do with love. Love does not make two people married. According to the law of His Word, God, who marries couples, does not marry them based on love. Neither can two people, according to God's Word, who are married dissolve that marriage by getting a divorce, because they, supposedly, no longer love the other or one another. There are many who think this to be the case, but they don't understand God and His design of marriage revealed in His Word.
Let me use some Scriptural examples to confirm that love isn't the factor that causes marriage to be, or the lacking of it that justifies dissolving a marriage. Some Scriptures come to mind that get right to the point: 1) To men, the Apostle Paul admonished and commanded (KJV), "Husbands, love [agape] your wives...So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies" (Ephesians 5:25-28). Paul commanded this to be done, because "For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh" (Ephesians 5:31). 2) To women, he commanded that the aged women were to teach the younger women "to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children" (Titus 2:4).
Love plays an important role in marriage, but not the kind of love eminent of our culture, which is a self-satisfying love. If our cultural love is the underlying foundation that makes marriage the binding factor to enter into it or the absence of love to dissolve it, why, then, did the Apostle Paul command love to be exercised toward their spouse, which is not before, but after marriage? He commanded it, because the design of marriage is of a higher purpose and calling than the, "so called," love factor. Christian theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer once said, "It is not your love that sustains the marriage, but from now on, the marriage that sustains your love."
To every Christian, heterosexual marriage is the mirror of our relationship (marriage) to the Lord. His love toward us even when we were unlovable exemplifies this premise. Also, think of this. Since you've become a Christian, have you been the perfect one to love? If not, should Christ's love for you diminish and He, then, divorce you, so His love can be satisfied? Or does His love work with you to gain greater love from you through your marriage to Him?
Let me ask this question... If love is the factor for marrying, then, how is it that so many fall out of love and get divorced? Isn't love, love? Can true love stop loving? Or is it that people who say they love actually have no idea what love truly is? As long as they are satisfied, their love will continue, otherwise...
Homosexual's want to marry, because they say they love one another like heterosexuals do (of course with God this is impossible; it can only happen through the state issuing a marriage document). Heterosexual's want to marry, because they say they love one another, yet, look at the infidelity and divorce rate.
Trust me, I am human. I want to cater to my love as well as anyone, but love that is catered to is emotion, lust, or self-love. Love that labors and is sacrificial is true marital love in its best form, and is "agape" (Godlike). When a man and a woman come together and make a marriage, their underlying principle for making that marriage should not be for their own self-satisfaction, but to serve one another and God in that union, exemplify His love, and build His Kingdom. This is true love.