I think most great marriages are based upon principled acts of love. What does that mean? Real love is a verb, which means to love others takes effort. Principled acts of love can actually grow deeper and richer with the age of the marriage, especially if the marriage has been led under the wisdom of God. A principled act of love is all about choosing to love the person you married and doing it with wisdom.
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Romans 12:9, 10 NIV
Some people have this preconceived idea that love is something that makes you feel all giddy and euphoric inside. In reality, how many couples after having been married five or ten years still share that euphoric feeling with each other? So in retrospect when that preconceived or learned idea gets squashed out in left field, which will happen, people tend to think they are not “in love” with their spouse anymore. And the next thing you know they are looking for a new partner. But if love is a choice, which I believe it is, and we choose to do those things that are loving it will make us feel more loving too.
What happens to couples in marriage who believe love should feel a certain way? Society has taught that
to love or to feel love is to have a strong desire for someone. But that desire is most likely lust and not love. If couples do not have the wisdom to understand how to love the way Christ has shown us to love, than marriage will undoubtedly be heading for trouble. Principled acts of love are what keep marriage alive! It is what brings romance and intimacy into the marriage.
People do not fall out of love. This is a big misnomer. The problem is that couples never learned to love properly in the first place, they loved superficially and when the desire vanished they believed they were no longer in love with the person they married. They based their marriage upon feelings rather than action. The dating process and having several or more dating partners before marriage causes couples to lose sight of the principled acts of love that are so very important for marriage to run smoothly.
But God commands a husband to love his wife. What for? Why does God command a man to love his wife? I believe that God commanded that a husband love his wife for two simple reasons. One very important reason is that the husband is the head over his wife as Christ is the head over the Church. If Christ is not head over a Church than that Church is not of Jesus Christ, it is of some other origin.
What did Christ do for His Church – for His people? He sacrificed Himself. He gave His life up for our life! This is an awesome and great principled act of love that God has given us on what love is and how to submit to that love. It is our example for marriage, and that is why God takes marriage so seriously.
The second reason, I believe, is so a wife will WANT to submit to her husband. If a husband won’t love his wife properly than she will have a difficult time submitting to his headship, won’t she?
And the metaphor is if we do not love Jesus Christ with all of our heart and soul, we too will have a hard time submitting to His will for our life. If that were the case, then what do we really have left? Nothing.
And of course, both husband and wife are to submit to each other, just as both should love each other through principled acts of love. Ephesians 5:21 NIV