National Association of Marriage Enhancement

Willful, Practical, Graceful

The following three Christian quotes beautifully teach us more about love. Explore more into what love is!

“Christian love, either towards God or towards man, is an affair of the will.” – C.S. Lewis When you pass the honeymoon and infatuation phase, the romance wears, and love begins to bear heavy unexpected burdens. That is why love is to be willful. Loving does not come very naturally to us. Love is work, sometimes with little harvest. Love is not something you fall in (and out of); love is a choice, and as in any choice, one must continue choosing. Love needs to be purposed and willed in the hearts of every spouse in order to make it work. We are humans who fail and falter. That is why we need to keep repositioning our hearts towards our goal to make it work.

“To love as Christ loves is to let our love be a practical thing, not a sentimental thing.”- Sir Charles Villiers Stanford
Obviously, of course we want your love to have sentiment! However, above sentiment love needs to be thought out and worked out practically, even when we are not feeling sentimental. Love is a practice. All the things that make up love (patience, gentleness, kindness, forgiveness, etc) have to be put into action. We are humans who don’t feel like practicing all of the difficult parts of love. Who wants to immediately forgive when they feel betrayed? It is not natural, but that is where practice makes perfect. The more you practice your love; the more it will become habit in your life—growing you into someone with loving responses. Don’t completely suck the sentiment out of love, but don’t completely rely on sentiment to love. Practice your love beyond your sentiments.

“Love is not a possession but a growth. The heart is a lamp with just enough oil to burn for an hour, and if there be no oil to put in again, its light will go out. God’s grace is the oil that fills the lamp of love.” –Henry Ward Beecher
What a powerful quote! As Christians, we must rely on God to properly respond to our spouse. If we don’t, then we will react in our own carnal (worldly) nature. Grace doesn’t come easily to us, but God gives grace freely to those who rely on Him for it. In order to keep our love alive and our lamp burning, we must lean on Him. God keeps the process of love moving much more effortlessly than what we could accomplish in our own power. Lean on God and receive grace. You will need it!

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