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Everything Falls Apart: A Love Life Out of Balance

May 3, 2011

There’s nothing simple about love.

For that matter, there’s really nothing simple about marriage.

It starts out simple enough, with two people deciding to be together forever.

When a husband and wife speak their vows to one another on their wedding day, their primary focus is on the “together” part, the “to have and to hold.” That’s the stuff of romance and excitement. That’s the substance of their joy.

It’s the remainder of the vows, the “forever” (in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, as long as we both shall live) that looks past the wedding, towards the realities of actually sharing and spending your life with another person. That’s the part that recognizes that, in every life and relationship, there are trials and triumphs. It’s the part that says, while we each might grow and change, we are committed to growing and changing together.

The “forever” part is where things get complicated, where people lose their focus and resolve, only to wake up one morning and ask of their spouse, “who is this person who lives in my house?”

For the past five weeks, we’ve looked at the variety of reasons that couples, who once started out with all of the love and promise of forever, end up with a relationship in shambles, broken down and fractured. We’ve considered questions of identity, of understanding who we are in the image of God and how we were created to live in marriage. We’ve looked at our unrealistic expectations of living marriage like a partnership and considered the many ways that distractions seep in to our daily lives and keep us from ever really connecting.

The simple fact is that, when couples feel like they lose connection with one another, they tend to strike out in other directions. Soon, “who is this person who lives in my house?” turns in to, “we just fell out of love.”

These are words of justification, but I’m not even really convinced that people know what they mean when they say them.

Does, “we just fell out of love,” mean that you’re just not committed each other anymore? Do you no longer enjoy each other’s presence? Does it mean you don’t have sex anymore?

What is love, after all? And how do we fall in and/or out of it?

In order to change the way we thing about and remain committed to our marriage relationship, we have to consider the way we think and talk about love itself. We have to realize that love isn’t just one one thing, it’s multidimensional and, unless we are able to realize some vision of each dimension, then our life of love will simply fall out of balance.

For more on this, I turn the remainder of the post (with the exception of your challenge) over to a video by Rob Bell (pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church in Grand Rapids, MI).

Rob has been in the news quite a bit lately, as his new book has sparked a firestorm of debate about the doctrine of Hell. If you’ve paid any attention to that, put it out of your mind and consider the video below, a video from the NOOMA series.

Challenge

Consider the three types of love (raya-friendship love, ahavah-faithfulness love, dod-sexual love). Without discussing it with your spouse, determine which aspect of love needs strengthening in your marriage. DO NOT TELL YOUR SPOUSE WHICH ASPECT YOU’VE IDENTIFIED.

Over the next month, look for ways to pay attention to/enhance that aspect of your life together.

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