How to keep love aglow in marriage (I)
At a wedding reception I attended some years ago, the chairman of the occasion, in his advice to the couple said and I quote “Love has done and completed its work in this relationship today in bringing the two of you together. What remains now is for tolerance, respect, trust, submission etc. to continue where love has ended.” He was simply saying that all love does in any marriage is to attract the two people involved together. After this, some other virtues must take over from love if the marriage must survive.
Though it’s been over ten years since I heard that statement made, yet I’ve not been able to get it off my mind. Is that statement true? Is that all love is expected to do? Just bringing two people together and disappearing into the thin air, leaving the couple to themselves to waggle their way through their entire married life? Truly, if that is all love is expected to do, then I can boldly say that love is a coward: igniting a fire it is not able to fuel; starting a work and escaping when the real work is about to begin. But thank God, love does not end on the wedding day. Love does more than just bringing two people together in holy matrimony. The two people in love must remain in love if their marriage is expected to be what marriage is designed for.
The force of love attracts two people to one another. This force, to an extent, is something that is inevitable. You “fell” in love with the lady/man you are now married to, not because you chose to do so. It just happened. It was not something you had control over. But staying or remaining in love with your spouse is something that will happen because you want it to happen. That is to say, it will take a conscious effort. That you “fell” for him/her effortlessly does not suggest that you will remain loving him/her effortlessly. It will have to take a conscious effort on your side. Husband and wife must consciously do things that will sustain their love for one another. Like you maintain your vehicle so that it will continually serve you the way you desire, your love for your spouse must be maintained. Lack of maintenance culture has ruined many marriages. The phrase “fall in love” is generally used to describe an (eventual) love that is strong, although not necessarily permanent. That is why every couple who intend to stay in love must make conscious efforts to stay in love. To stay in love, the following suggestions will be of tremendous help:
Don’t neglect your spouse
To neglect something is to fail to pay attention to that thing. And whatever we refuse to pay attention to, we lose. When a couple fails to pay attention to each other, with time they lose their feelings for one another. Attention is something everyone looks forward to from his/her spouse because it is one of the attributes of love. When you love a person, you give him/her your attention. When you love a thing, you cannot take your eyes off it. Even when you are not where it is, your mind can’t get away from it. Many men pay attention to their cars than their wives, and many women pay attention to their children than their husbands. When that is the case, you are simply revealing to your spouse that your car/children come before her/him in your order of priority. And many times, that is not what we are saying, we are only wrong in our order of priority.
To be continued next week.
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