I am excited about this weekend – Missoula will be hosting a marriage seminar by Paul David Tripp entitled Redeeming the Realities of Marriage. Ticket are available at the Garden of Readn or online through http://thecityforummt.wordpress.com/
Dr. Tripp’s book – What Did You Expect? – is the best book on marriage I have ever read. It gets to the heart of the real issues in marriage better than anything else.
To whet your appetite for the conference, let me share with you some of Dr. Tripp’s thoughts on what love is. He defines love as “willing self-sacrifice for the good of another that does not require reciprocation or that the person being loved is deserving.” That definition is a powerful one. It also begs the question – what does that kind of love look like in marriage?
Here are some of the ways Dr. Tripp shares in his book:
1. Love is being willing to have your life complicated by the needs and struggles of your husband or wife without impatience or anger.
2. Love is actively fighting the temptation to be critical and judgmental toward your spouse, while looking for ways to encourage and praise.
3. Love is the daily commitment to resist the needless moments of conflict that come from pointing out and responding to minor offenses.
4. Love is being lovingly honest and humbly approachable in times of misunderstanding, and being more committed to unity and love than you are to winning, accusing, or being right.
5. Love is a daily commitment to admit your sin, weakness and failure and to resist the temptation to offer an excuse or shift the blame.
6. Love means being willing, when confronted by your spouse, to examine your heart rather than rising to your defense or shifting the focus.
7. Love is a daily commitment to grow in love so that the love you offer to your husband or wife is increasingly selfless, mature and patient.
8. Love is being unwilling to do what is wrong when you have been wronged but to look for concrete and specific ways to overcome evil with good.
9. Love is being a good student of your spouse, looking for his or her physical, emotional, and spiritual needs so that in some way you can remove the burden, support him or her as they carry it, or encourage them along the way.
10 Love means being willing to invest the time necessary to discuss, examine and understand the problems that you face as a couple, staying on task until the problem is removed or you have agreed upon a strategy of response.
11. Love is always being willing to ask for forgiveness and always being committed to grant forgiveness when it is requested.
12. Love is recognizing the high value of trust in a marriage and being faithful to your promise and true to your word.
13. Love is speaking kindly and gently, even in moments of disagreement, refusing to attack your spouse’s character or assault his or her intelligence.
14. Love is being unwilling to flatter, lie, manipulate, or deceive in any way in order to co-opt your spouse into giving you what you want or doing something your way.
15. Love is being unwilling to ask your spouse to be the source of your identity, meaning and purpose, or inner sense of well-being, while refusing to be the source of his or hers.
16. Love is the willingness to have less free time, less sleep, and a busier schedule in order to be faithful to what God has called you to be and to do as a husband or a wife.
17. Love is a commitment to say no to selfish instincts and to do everything that is within your ability to promote real unity, functional understanding and active love in your marriage.
18. Love is staying faithful to your commitment to treat your spouse with appreciation, respect and grace, even in moments when he or she doesn’t seem to deserve it or is unwilling to reciprocate.
19. Love is the willingness to make regular and costly sacrifices for the sake of your marriage without asking anything in return or using your sacrifices to place your spouse in your debt.
20. Love is being unwilling to make any personal decision or choice that would harm your marriage, hurt your husband or wife, or weaken the bond of trust between you.
21. Love is refusing to be self-focused or demanding but instead looking for specific ways to serve, support and encourage, even when you are busy or tired.
22. Love is daily admitting to yourself, your spouse, and God that you are not able to love this way without God’s protecting, providing, forgiving, rescuing and delivering grace.
There is a lot of stuff there, but when I read them over, there are a quite few that hit me personally. I am sure that is true of you as well. Let’s seek God together, asking for His strength to love our spouses as God intended us to love them.