Tuesday, November 9, 2010

How do I love?

One of my dear, sweet, wonderful friends asked me to do a Bible Study with her a couple months back and I was so excited! Since I home-school my children, I don't get much adult interaction. Also, this friend is very knowledgeable and super sweet. I knew I could learn a lot from her.

She picked out the book Feminine Appeal: Seven Virtues of a Godly Wife and Mother and Mother by Carolyn Mahaney. I must admit, I really didn't care what book we were studying, I just really wanted some time with this friend. I mention this so you can understand where my mind and heart was when we started.

As I started to read the book it refers to the passage Titus 2:3-5. I must confess I have to look the verses up because I still have not memorized it like I should.

the older women, likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things - that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed. Titus 2:3-5 NKJV

I have read these verses before, but honestly, I never paid much attention. I know that sounds horrible, especially since it was written for me!

The first chapter talks about the 7 virtues of a Godly Wife and Mother. My friend asked me to point out which ones I thought I needed to work on and told me to ask my husband to point out what he thought I should work on. Sure, that will go over well! I chose - to be discreet (self-control ESV) and I also chose - good (kindness ESV). I know that those are two things I need to work on. I don't always think I control my tongue like I should (discreet) and I know that when I don't control my tongue that what I am saying is not always kind (good). It is a struggle with me daily. It may not always be self-control of my tongue, it is also self-control of my thoughts.

The second chapter I did not like. Why? Because it was saying exactly what I needed to read, but did not want to. Chapter 2 is "The Delight in Loving My Husband". When I started, I thought, "I love my husband just fine. I take care of the kids, the house, the bills, the laundry, the errands...." As I read further, I realized that I don't love my husband - at least not the way God wants me to love my husband. I was loving my husband with agape love, which the book describes as a self-sacrificing love, it's a love that gives to other even if nothing is given back. One of my favorite sentences in the book is "Women are fully capable of loving a man, and sacrificing for him, while believing the entire time that he is a true and unvarnished jerk." Yep, that's me. There are some times I make myself do something nice for him, just so I can prove to myself that I love him.

The book states that in Titus 2:4, the word used for love is phileo which is a tender, affectionate, passionate kind of love. I know that I do not have a "phileo" love for my husband. I am not affectionate to him. I do not make any effort to be tender to him. I am not always respectful of him. I love him the way I think he should be loved based on how he treats me. But that is wrong. God didn't say - love you husband's unless you think they don't deserve it. God commands us to love our husbands the way He wants us to love them. There is no if he does this or unless he does that. He says LOVE your husband!

So, what if you don't know how to love your husband the way God commands? What if you have lost all those tender, affectionate feelings? What if you have been hurt so bad that you think you can't love him like that ever again? Well, you are right. You can't do it. You must turn your feelings over to God. You must ask Him to show you how. You must pray that He heal your hurt. You must pray that He forgive you for your lack of love for your husband.

Lord, I pray that you will show me how to love my husband the way you command me to love him.

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