“My children, our love should not be just words and talk; it must be true love, which shows itself in action.” – 1 John 3:18 (GNT).
Fiddler on the Roof is a musical that debuted in 1964. It is a story about Tevye, his wife Golde and their 5 daughters. There is a scene where the husband asks his wife if she loves him. She is shocked that he would even ask such a thing, and replies that for 25 years of marriage she has cared for him, took care of the house, made his bed, cooked his food, and reared their kids. And then says, if that isn’t love, then what is? This playful interaction between husband and wife illustrates a basic building black of true love; that love is an action verb.
When we first fall in love we usually say things like, “I love you” or “I want to be with you.” The early focus in marriage is on the “I” part of the equation. But staying in love requires taking the actions necessary to meet the needs of our spouse. Falling in love is only the beginning. It’s the first step in an amazing journey where two people become one. But the extreme feelings of intimacy first felt will eventually start to diminish unless we do the things necessary to constantly kindle the flames. Love is more doing than feeling.
Most married couples begin their marriage with lots of loving words and actions. Over time life gets busy and the words stop. Worse yet, our actions no longer match the words. We may be thinking all the right things. But love has limited value until it is expressed and demonstrated. Those positive feelings for your spouse must find their way out through your mouth.
Show your spouse not only in what you say, but also in what you do. It reminds me of a note a man wrote to his girlfriend some decades ago before most people had cars. “I would wade through barbed wire for you,” he gushed. “I would climb a sheer mountain wall just to be where you are. I would walk through fire just for the privilege of gazing into your eyes. P.S. I’ll see you tomorrow night if it doesn’t rain.” The air came out of that balloon quickly. His words and lofty intentions mean little without action.
The love you give your spouse is not just in what you choose to think. It’s not even in what you feel about him or her. He’s all about the action. Love is a verb.
- In John 13:34, Jesus identifies love as a verb, not a noun. What are some concrete differences between feeling love and showing love through your actions?
- What steps can you take this week to proactively love someone rather than reacting to what someone else does or does not do for you?