This guest post by author and friend Rhonda Stoppe is longer than most we share here… but worth every second you take to read it. My husband and I counseled couples before marriage, as Rhonda and Steve do. The insights she shares aren’t just for young lovers or newlyweds. This stuff is pure gold for any stage of relationship health. I know you’ll want to click share on this one! Check it out and post a comment to win her new book If My Husband Would Change, I’d be Happy.
GROOVY KIND’a LOVE
By Rhonda Stoppe
Anyone can fall in love. It’s staying in love that we long for.
Groovy Kind’a Love is “our song”. Last week my husband and I celebrated our 34th anniversary!
Over the years we have worked to keep our love sweet and “groovy” as an old song poetically defined it. I can honestly say our love is deeper and more passionate today than ever! How is this possible?
I am so glad you asked!
In over 30 years of ministry my husband, Steve and I have had the privilege of taking numerous couples through 6 weeks of pre-marital counseling. My favorite week is called “Staying in Love”. This is the nuts-and-bolts of how to live the happily-ever-after life we all hope for.
Here are some basics you can apply to your marriage:
–IT’S ALL IN YOUR MIND. Falling in love occurs because we choose to think about all of the wonderful characteristics and attributes of our love. Once we marry, and “seal the deal” so-to-speak, it’s human nature to take for granted the love of the one we had worked so hard to win over.
The KEY to staying in love is making a DELIBERATE choice to think on what is “good, right, and excellent” about your spouse (see Philippians 4:8-9).
This means you MUST take control of those crazy thoughts that assign wrong motives to your spouses’ actions, and CHOOSE to believe the BEST about them (see 2 Corinthians 10:5; 1 Corinthians 13:7).
-FORGIVE. Does forgiveness characterize your relationship? You MUST decide you are going to be one who forgives. I know, I know, you want to say, “you don’t know what you are asking me to forgive”. But I am telling you, if you do not regularly practice forgiveness in your relationship, a root of bitterness will sprout in your heart that the Bible says will defile many-namely your children (Hebrews 12:15)!
Have you ever been out with people who have a root of bitterness toward one another? It’s excruciating to spend time with them, isn’t it?
Jesus says, “Out of the abundance of your mouth your heart speaks” if you are harboring bitterness, I guarantee it will spill out in your conversation (Matthew 12:34). If your relationship wreaks of bitterness, your children – and others – will not be drawn to you but will actually learn to avoid or endure you. (Ouch, that comment hurts, huh?)
-LOVE. Above all CHOOSE TO LOVE. Husbands are to love their wives and live with them according to knowledge (1 Peter 3:7). Ladies, they will never figure out what’s going on in that head of yours. Let’s be honest-often we aren’t even sure of why we are feeling what we feel.
If you do not mercifully and kindly help your husband to understand what speaks love to you, he is never going to figure it out! So, no more of this, If you loved me you’d understand me cop out.
What speaks love to your husband? The way you speak love to your husband is to respect him. What does that mean? It means:
- you don’t talk to him like you are his mother.
- you choose to speak to him in a way that honors him (you know, the way you talked to him when you were trying to win him as your love).
- put on Love:
And above all these put on love,
which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
Above all, keep loving one another EARNESTLY,
since love covers a multitude of sins (See Colossians 3:14; 1 Peter 4:8).
-YOUR MARRIAGE IS A LIGHT. Jesus said, By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another (John13:35).
Your genuine love for each other will be a light that tells your children – and a watching world, knowing the Savior makes a difference in your life. Letting this light shine does not happen by accident. In fact, if you rely on your feelings you will certainly miss the opportunity to shine Christ’s light.
When life is hard, when you are hormonal, when the bills pile up, and the kids are sick…this is when the light of your love shines the brightest! Jesus said, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven (Matthew 5:16).
Won’t you determine to STAY IN LOVE?
Your children will be most secure when they know their parents are in love.
Thirty-four years ago Steve Stoppe and I determined to be one of those couples who would fall more in love with each other each passing year. For us, having a “groovy-kind-of-love” means to love each other with the Love the Lord has put in our hearts through our relationship with Christ. And this is the same resource God gives to anyone who would surrender to Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
The watching world is longing to believe in HAPPILY-EVER-AFTER.
Your love gives them hope!
For insights to a NO REGRETS MARRIAGE read Rhonda Stoppe’s new book:
IF MY HUSBAND WOULD CHANGE I’D BE HAPPY-And Other Myths Wives Believe (Harvest House 2015)