Rendering the Affection Due in Marriage

Paul, in the midst of a discussion on spiritual gifts from the Holy Spirit, pens a beautiful section on agape love in I Corinthians 13. Love excels even the greatest of spiritual gifts. Right actions are worthless unless coupled with a proper attitude of humble, selfless love.

And then, in verses 4-8, Paul records the best possible description of what love is and what it is not:

"Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails."

When marriages fail it is because one or both parties involved are not demonstrating genuine love. Either the husband or the wife (or both) is not seeking what is in the best interest of their mate. A marriage where both parties are practicing agape love simply will not fail, even in the midst of difficult days.

True love isn't restricted merely to the marriage bond, of course. Agape love should flow freely in all of our relationships. But, the marriage bond is unique in that there are extra responsibilities that must be considered. The goal for couples is not to simply stay married but to thrive in all aspects of wedded bliss. As Paul wrote earlier in I Corinthians 7:3 - "Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband." How are you doing at rendering the affection to your mate that he or she deserves?

I came across some great tips from John Gottman recently on how to keep the romance in marriage alive and well. Most strong marriages do many or most of these things naturally, but there is always room for improvement and reflection.

If many of these are lacking in your marriage, your relationship could be in real danger. At the very least, if many items on this list seem foreign to you, you are not cultivating the best marriage possible for you and your spouse. Don't be satisfied with surviving; aim to thrive and give your mate the affection they deserve!