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Showing True Love to Your Spouse

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
The Truth Network Radio
February 14, 2022 5:00 am

Showing True Love to Your Spouse

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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February 14, 2022 5:00 am

Bob Lepine addresses the cultural confusion around marital love today. He outlines the major differences between AGAPE love and EROS (erotic) love, and why self-sacrifice is the only kind of love that is lasting. Bob points out why God’s love is pivotal in helping you move toward unconditional love with your spouse.

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Is it possible to love your spouse without expecting anything in return. Focus on the Family were excited about season five of the Leffingwell podcast. I'm John Fuller and I'll be joined by my friends and colleagues, Dr. Greg Smalley and his wife Aaron as we discussed practical ways, love and appreciation to your mission will find the Leffingwell podcast@focusonthefamily.com/Leffingwell that's focusonthefamily.com/Leffingwell will on this Valentine's Day addition of Focus on the Family were in a be exploring the topic of love and marriage and what that love should and could look like in the day-to-day relationship you have with your spouse, your hostess focus presidents and Dr. Jim Daly and I'm John Fuller and Jim start by reviewing some rather goofy ways to express their love for each other. These are like bad Valentine's Day card. One of these in your card that I know you're going to your the macaroni to my cheese, my Valentine least it rhymes yet about this when they say Disneyland is the happiest place on earth. Obviously they've never been in your arm. That would be like when Gino very hard yeah okay what about words cannot espresso how much you mean to me that's for the coffee lovers.

Obviously love your sharing your popcorn. You can have my hair about this darling near like a sharpie. You're super fine. I like that in the course of the last one.

Let's commit the perfect crime will steal your heart and you steal my word. Look at these online using your Valentine's Day card today and then let us know this Facebook server send us an email or something. Let us know how that worked out maybe come up with your own. That would be an encouraging idea. I listen it's obvious some people who have strange ideas about love with mentioned a few of them were going to get some help on this topic today by a well-known radio personality Bob Lapine, who is also pastor, speaker and author and that does so much to communicate the importance of love within the kingdom Bob welcome back to Focus on the Family to be here.

Jim, John, great to be with you got everybody just recognized how many years did you work with Dennis Rainey at family so I started in 1992 how we put family life today on the air in 92 and then Dennis stepped away back in 2018 and continue to work with Dave and Ann Wilson for a season, and now they have the con and they are all full speed ahead family like today and doing a great job yet and I'll just say we we have been allies and partners with you guys over the years on so many things and we really look at the partnership. What were doing together to advance the cause of Christ as it relates to marriages and families. We cheered you on you've cheered us on. So great to be here and be on focus on the we consider family like a great ally in your role.

Of course, very significant over the years.

Bob also was a member of the National religious broadcasters board. He's written a number of books really talking about one book in particular that I think really is solid. It's a biblical perspective on marriage is called love like you mean it.

The heart of a marriage that honors God and we have copies of that here at Focus on the Family, you'll find all the details in the episode notes Bob you know going back to the 60s and you cover a bit of this in the book.

I mean the whole freelove kind of thing.

The impact of that and the continual wave effect of that 60s 70s era were certainly, I think, still feeling the ramifications of that but it feels like in the last 1020 years we've moved so quickly away from the definition of marriage. What's happened while I think in the 60s. We uncoupled marriage and sexuality and said these two don't necessarily have to belong together.

You can have one without the other. That uncoupling was dilatory astute families to kids to the culture. I mean it's just had a tremendous impact on where we are today and then in the last 10 to 15 years we've said in fact what is marriage. Anyway, let's let's stop and think and I'm old enough to remember the TV show Murphy Brown where they said marriage is just any people who live together and love each other well. They were using a cheap view of love that won't sustain a marriage date they were mischaracterizing fact this is what's at the heart of of what I wrote in love like you mean it is the idea that we have a shallow and Sandy view of what love is and you try to build a marriage on that kind of sand and it's not, understand you need something tougher and deeper and the good news is, the Bible gives us that tougher deeper definition now people listening are to say well that's wonderful Bob Lapine knew that from the get go that when you when you met Marianne, I think in a cafeteria line which is great I love it like an extra script that worked at William college or how did you bump into Mary and we were in college together. Both of us were working with young life is voluntarily dressed with young life and we run a retreat weekend and we were in line for dinner and I was a freshman. This was beginning of my second semester. My freshman year. I'm standing in line and there's a another coworker a senior girl who wasn't in line with me and she said you're a freshman and I said yeah she said oh I thought you were like a junior or senior cassette.

My head is mellowing is awesome and and Marianne was a few people back. She'd overheard the conversation and so, a few minutes later she said your freshman home. I said yeah what did you think what like this and she said maybe a soft okay so is reality. So from that first little jab were that the seeds of what became our relationship.

Another thing is we started dating and we've been dating for like three weeks when I was already saying you know I love you. I had no idea the power the weight of that word.

I meant I like being around you it's better being around you them I'm not around you.

You make me feel good. So I was just saying I love you like I would say I love ice cream and I love little baby pigs you and that's what's so good about it because you learn from your own experience in those terms that are should be weighty yes and carry something you were thrown around. I was so careless with that and it threw her off because she said what are you saying to me. I told my boys as I was raising them the first time you say I love you to a young woman the next thing you say is will you marry me.

Wow. Okay so that's that's how serious this is when you say I love you, don't say it until you're ready to say next. Will you marry me. Yeah. In that regard. What was happening. I mean, you're a believer you're working for young life taking here graduating college.

By this point, but when you married Marianne, but what gave you that premise.

What why did you feels so light handed with pop songs and ROM comes. Honestly, you look at this and say we have a romantic view of love that has been shaped by pop music through an romantic comedy use in the movie so you watch the Hallmark Channel and that's where were catechized on what it means for love and marriage and that's where we get that Sandy view of of what love looks like and if that's as deep as a goat. I'm in a highly romantic view.

So if I'm having a certain feeling not to say you know man, I love you I love this. I look the Bible takes a completely different tact. In fact Paul when he writes first Corinthians 13, which was the end of the core of this book. What is real love look like he's scolding a church for a failure to love.

We read this passage at weddings and we say love is patient, love is kind and we put it in romantic terms. Paul wasn't saying that what you say what guys love is patient, it's kind it's not self-seeking, it doesn't demand its own way. Keep a record of wrongs and he's scolding these people for their lack of love of his workboots. He got put on if you're going to make our relationship be a truly loving relationship so good working to get into that over that half-hour together that you know what love actually means.

In that regard. When you think of engaged couples you encourage them in the book to read the fine print I can head to responses to that one, I get it. Secondly, there is already a lot of fear and and hesitation in family formation 2030 somethings that are worried, so I was little concerned about that, but it's wise to read the fine print. What did you mean by that.

Well, I think there are two different realities when it comes to thinking about marriage is engaged couples. You need to be aware that marriage is, in my view, a wonderful glorious it's the most magnificent. It's the deepest kind of a relationship that we can have as human beings. It's wonderful and it's the hardest relationship you will ever have those two truths are are simultaneously there, so if you go in with a Pollyanna.

All this is just can be one of going with the what the beach was soppy it's gonna make it that much better when we can say good night and stay together. Wouldn't it be nice so that if you just think this is dating is good marriage is good right that's that's the nave view. The other view is what you're talking about Jim. I think a lot of young people today who watch their parents struggle or divorce or not make it work. They look around and go who can do this. Can anybody do this. My friends can't. My parents couldn't, and they're really afraid that this is an institution that is impossible to be good at and so we have to say no you can thrive in a marriage relationship and it's gonna be hard and let's embrace that and things that are harder.

Often the best things in life. Yeah, you know Bobby you mentioned the site. I don't think necessarily the science of it. But you know that neuroscientists have looked in infatuation and loud to the best of their ability. MRI scans all that kind of thing that typically lasts a year and 1/2 to 2 years and then that evaporator is just normal you get into the routine of relationship you in the book you mention this difference were in English.

We have the one word love, but in Greek. We have arrows and agape love and there's a distinction there in your pointing to this drilling to this.

This is like Christian boot camp. You are we really have to understand this distinction that even scientists recognize in our brain science right yes okay, the Greeks had a variety of words they have the word store gave talks about family, love and family bonding. They had the word for loss which is a word for deep friendships. David and Jonathan word knit together as brothers. They had a few last Philadelphia the city of brotherly love. And then there's Eros, which we get the word erotic. It's for sexual love and sexual desire and then there is agape and the interesting thing I did notice till I was digging in and studying this and write the book.

Agape was essentially a Christian invention as a word, JI Packer said that this word was not prevalent in Greek literature outside and before the Bible came into being. This idea of self-sacrificing self-denying love, but greater love that lays down its life for his friends. It it didn't exist in the culture. The Greeks and Romans thought humility and laying down your life or somebody else was weakness not strength. And Christians come along and say this is the kind of love God has for us. He sends his son who dies for us. We should have the same kind of self emptying self-sacrificing love this agape love. It's a completely different kind of love. There's a verse I love them in first John three verse one where John says behold what manner of love the Father has given to us in the word behold means take a good hard look you've never seen anything like this before.

This is a foreign kind of love and he says this is what God has lavished on us that we should be called sons of God and then goes on to cite and this is how we love one another. This is what Christians do we look at God's love for us, it pours into us.

We spilled out into the lives of others and that is so good.

Bob reminisces Christianity 101 right here. The fact that you know that the Lord brought this word into existence around the Christian faith. That right there is exciting and very intriguing and very like God yes to say I have a different idea of what love means the difficulty Bob there's so much of our flesh, and I mean the whole thing seems to be how God can empty us as we become more like him. We become less selfish and write down the line, so this agape love that you're describing might be even easy to show it to others out there you know you could take care of somebody who has a need a neighbor who has made it sometimes becomes really difficult to show it to your spouse. I don't know how a vented button pushing all of it every so why the most important person in our life. We struggle sometimes showing the greatest love that we should show abducted couples who say will be in the middle of some intense fellowship is there is a fight going on between the husband and wife and their their loud and their angry and then the phone rings and all of us in the go hello they just switch it off so we can be nice to the person on the phone or the person at the door.

We can shut it all down, but I think this goes to the fact that the people are close to us are the ones who can can wound us most deeply. And so we often have this kind of a reaction to the wounding, but it also goes into what you're saying. The flesh wars against the spirit so Paul in Romans seven said their things I want to do that I don't do the things I do like I hate right wretched man that I am. This is our battle and so to say we want to have agape love. You don't just say will that's a nice thought.

I think I'll do that tomorrow. I know you have to strap this on every day you gotta get up every day and say I need a self emptying. I need to have this mind in me. That was in Christ Jesus who emptied himself for us.

Philippians 2 is also an area of Scripture.

I think we've got first Corinthians cover, but Philippians 2.

What is that verse and why is it significant when it comes to marriage or if this this is a lesson I learned early on when Mary and I were dating, she came to me at some point we been dating for a couple years.

She said you think about us memorizing some Bible verses together and here's what I thought I thought. Why would you memorize them. I mean if you need them there in the book as a reference MRI yeah if you say I did know were dating. So I said that's a great idea yeah that's that's wonderful.

I been thinking crazy, but then I said did you have any verses in mind.

She said I was actually thing about whole chapter.

Well I did this by God look like a chapter are you out of your who memorizes a chapter in the Bible, but I said to her how you know I didn't say much more than I'd I said did you have a chapter in mind. She said I was thinking Philippians chapter 2 and I would also like I knew what that in the Old Testament, but I was filled okay well I think she picked it out because of the boy she was dating because it's all about humility. That's what Philippians 2 is all about. So we started memorizing this together and I don't know we got all the way through when we got to verse three it kind of locked on I memorized it quickly and I didn't have to work at it. I think it was just God said you need this for the rest of your life do nothing from selfishness and I've done the work. Now the Greek word for nothing means nothing to do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility. Let each of you regard one another as more important than himself and goes on to say have this mind in error, you do not merely look out for your own interests, but also for the interest of others.

I'm convinced 90% of marriage problems I've seen in my life.

You apply that verse you say have this mind in you.

Look out for the other.

The interest of the others.

Make it your goal to please someone else be fix most of the problems in their there's a 10% factor out there right, but most of the problems we have in marriage, or because of pride and selfishness.

And we've got to attend to that we better be cultivating humility. It's really foundational to what healthy love looks like it is so true Bob. I mean you're hitting it and I think that's exactly why the you know we do a four day intensive hope restored and they have an 80% success rate, and these are a lot of them sign divorce papers so there done that.

The reason it successful is it gets to these basic principles and that's what you're going to learn their you know him rather than go and spend the time start applying what Bob's talking about would be my recommendation and I love the way that those intensive have helped so many cup over the years and the testimonies I've heard from people who have been through them and we sent people on the night. I have friends who have been absent.

We don't know how it were stuck and I said go do the hard work you you got such a history of accumulated pain and bad habits and patterns let some people help identify those and then help replace bad habits with good habits as a dog to come back to an understanding of the gospel is the foundation but that's that's what they apply and that's what's so exciting is that it in.

This is roughly 40 hours. Yes, so you can do in 40 hours what will change your life right and keep your commitment to Christ intact right with that love, for better or for worse verse you talked about her commitment to each other. Let me ask you, Bob. Another concept that you mention the book is the fact that marital love needs to be tenacious. I love that you compare that to the bulldog. I think I get that to describe what you're going after that it was a Winston Churchill quote was the one who said a bulldog's nose is slanted backwards so that he can keep breathing without letting go and and that's great you latch on and you keep breathing without letting go, it's it's that kind of tenacious bulldog love, then says I'm in this the end of the passage in first Corinthians 13 says love never fails. Never quits, never gives up it it believes all things, bears all things, hopes all things, endures all things. There is this tenacity with love that says I'm not going anywhere to couples for so many years I've said if if I told you today the car you get when you get married. This is the only car you'll ever have.

For the rest you have the problem happen. First of all, you would take better care of that car. Then you take care your car now because you go. I got to careless the only one Oliver and you would've chosen more wisely. The second thing is when it breaks you'll take it in and get it fixed. As you know in time.

Well, if we would start off by saying this marriage is the only marriage a member and have an some take better care of and when it breaks because it will go see a counselor house, your pastor, get some help get some you can fix it. Don't just most couples wait until they lost hope and they don't know where to turn, know when things get bad going to look we need a tuneup and alignment were in the ditch and we need a tow truck to toss out that is so good and I don't know what keeps people from going and if it makes total sense.

You know why there is it's a pride that is really is Bob.

I was going to jump on that bulldog analogy because in so many ways. The older I get, the more I realize the Lord simplicity with life. He shows us his love through marriage through and what he wants to do with us. He shows us humility through child rearing.

You think you're so good will have a couple kids will see how that goes to the point of that is the Lord's love is like that bulldog he's never gonna let go. In fact, Paul says that he will never let you go.

He's got you and what a great confidence we have, knowing that we are safe and secure went when a couple knows, look, I'm not going anywhere. You're not going anywhere there's a security here that we got issues and we can fix them. But I've said to couples over the years. When you pull out the DWORD and using it maybe be better if we never gotten married right. Maybe we will get a divorce, what you've done is you've threatened the entire foundation.

Now nobody feel safe in that marriage anymore because if I do something, you may be outta here, but when Marianne knows I'm not going anywhere.

Where were stuck. I'm not sure how we get out of this when I get some help, but I'm not going anywhere. You can't get rid of me and and I'm here for you. There's a safety in the security there that says okay we can get through this gene and I had that early moment second third year of our marriage, and that was I said to her that it's either to be miserable or happy, so she's happy now But there's no exit plan and that's the truth. Bottom line, it's impossible to love our spouse unconditionally. I mean, maybe in heaven and have that ability to express unconditional love because will get it from the Lord in that perfect environment, but in this life and the way we work in the way we operate with the sin nature still at war with our spirit. It's hard to be unconditionally loving toward everybody unless we have that regular supply from God, and it still good to be imperfect, even in that environment well and perhaps will get the 98% octane. Describe what you were telling us there in the book you have a there there is this ongoing war that will be present are our motives will always be mixed motives. We can say I doing this sacrificially, but there's always this little hidden. What's in it for me that's just a part of its endemic to the human condition, but couples need to understand that our love for one another needs to flow out the supply of love that we receive from God. I think a lot of times couples think okay I can love you as long as you feel my love tank then I've got love to pour back to you and we just kind of slosh our love tank blood as well.

The problem is some spills out over time and we got less and less to give to one another. We can't depend on each other as the source for the love we give to one another.

That's good. We have to depend on an outside source. And so II think of this like I think of I don't know if you ever grow up with a cistern or with a rain collector. We know but a cistern is where you fill up the water supply for the house with the rain that comes off the roof and if it's raining well than the cisterns bowling you got plenty of water. If it's a dry season. The cistern drives up the good thing about God's love is he reigns that he pours it lavishly on us so that we always have access to an endless supply of God's love for us and it's out of the overflow of God's love for us that we spill it out on the one another. So if you're saying I just don't feel love for my spouse. I would say go fill yourself up on God's love get God's perspective on your spouse because God loves your spouse, fill yourself up with God's love for you get God's perspective of his love for your spouse and then let God's love for you port and you spill out on your spouse. And now you've got a whole different love source for your marriage meant Bob, this is been so full of wisdom.

I've really enjoyed this and it's been great. I hope people have caught it is not complicated. We humble think of others.

Think of your spouse more highly than yourself and things are going to go well and that's what your book love like you mean it really addresses love the Scriptures that you have talked about. Thanks for being with us and let us encourage you to get a copy of the book. If you make a gift of any amount will send it to you is our way of saying thank you for being part of ministry. If you can afford it were into getting this information in your hands. Just let us know that you need it and you can afford to help us but we want to help you to trust others will help us do that will get the book into your hands as our way of saying thank you you donate as you can. Monthly pledge is great be a sustaining member of this ministry by making a monthly donation or a one-time pledge. Either way will send Bob's great book. Love, like you mean it, and are numbers 800 the letter a in the word for the details in the episode. And while you're at the website we have a free marriage assessment also have information about help restore the marriage intensive's that we've been so privileged to offer the folks coming up next time on Focus on the Family. Sometimes it is hard to have the relationship you'd like with your daughter just don't know what's going on inside her head. Join us as we talk with Jesse Minassian about helping your teenager get along with the family more often were seeing these teensy surprise have brokenness in our family and they don't want to repeat that the next generation and said there wondering how do I get along with my family first involvement and also highlight this friend entering is my future family Jim Daly and the entire team here. Thanks for joining us today for focus on the family.

I'm John Fuller inviting back and help you and your family thrive.

So many married couples today are struggling hurting even on the brink of divorce, and some can't afford to get home you can make a difference in their lives. Your gift of $125 could help the couple attend a hope restored marriage intensive 3 to 5 days with a Christian counselor in a distraction free environment. Building the foundation they need to stay together gift today and help give them hope: one 880 family or go to focusonthefamily.com/safe marriages


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