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“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”(Jn 13:34)

Sometimes towards the end of last year, my wife, Virginia and I were invited, together with some others to a Couples’ seminar. We were first unsure whether to attend, having not been to one for a couple of years, but we finally decided to give it a try. We are glad we did as new mutually beneficial relationships have been formed, but that is a story for another day.

What I have in mind as the subject of this post is something that came out in one of the sessions. We were each asked what we love about our spouses, and how it has helped keep our marriage together. Fortunately, I was not the first one to respond, because that would have been disastrous. I have found out that in such forums, people tend to pick a queue from the people who answer first to formulate responses that seem to be expected, and I was not sure what was expected.

When my turn came, I said several things among them that Virginia is God fearing, patient and caring. On her part, she said quite a number, some of which were surprising, but suffice it to say that all who spoke painted positive images of their spouses.

Thinking since the meeting on my own, I’ve felt that something did not settle very well with all those reasons for loving each other, and wondered what it is. It is just lately that I’ve thought what the reason for unease could be:

“ 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing[a] her by the washing with water through the word, (Eph 5)”

As a spouse, I think it is okay to love ones partner because of the qualities they have that are likable, but as a follower of Christ, though one may start there, one ought not to stay there. The Christian, like the Lord loves not on the basis of what the subject of the love offers, but rather on the basis of the love they have in their hearts. In a sense it is a responsive love toward God, and a proactive love towards others – offer to others what we have received from Him.

“19 We love because he first loved us. (1John 4)”

“the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.…(Rom 5:5)”

Blessed be God who gives us capacity to love one another.

Together in Him who is Love.