This year, we’ve talked a lot about love. I didn’t really mean for it to happen that way, but God has continued to bring facets of love to my attention. In dating and courtship series, we touched briefly on investing time in others outside of relationships. For a lot of people, having a relationship and getting married seems like the true start of their loves and like it should be the ultimate goal.
To play the other side a bit, let’s ask a question: What if you knew you would never marry?
It’s a scary question when we expect we will get married. Fear of the unknown is probably the most common fear for mankind. No one knows the future except Almighty God. We hope and expect a lot of things, but we can’t know for sure that we will or won’t get those things until we either get them or die.
What are we missing in being alone? An emotional and spiritual partner? A counselor in the daily decisions of life? A family? Support? These are all valid things. But we’re also missing disagreements, relational burnout, dependence on another’s perspective, submission to another…
What’s that? You still have some of those things? In both lists?!
God gives us opportunity for all of those things inside and outside of marriage. As Christians, our lives are journeys in sanctification toward Christ-likeness. Learning how to love a spouse doesn’t start when you enter a romantic relationship, and having the common supports and challenges of marriage doesn’t start then, either. It starts with loving your neighbor. And your siblings, and your parents, and your friends, and your coworkers, and your bosses, etc. Even when you don’t feel like it. Even when you’re upset (with them or someone else).
Sound hard? It’s the same when you’re married. God’s requirements for us don’t change when we go from single to married. In addition to that, are we truly loving our future spouse if we aren’t practicing love now? Not practicing romantic love, but real, constant, consistent love. Proactively loving those around us. Investing in friends, family, kids, the elderly, older believers, and coworkers.
Are you taking action to proactively love those around you? Love is work. We can’t grow in Christ and in love if we are merely spectators. Get off the couch, kick Giant Sloth to the curb, and be proactive about loving others.