Have you ever had one of those moments? The one where you knew immediately that what you said had been totally misunderstood? (And maybe for good reason.) When my wife and I lived in Arizona, I had one of those moments. It was well intentioned and to my credit I really did mean it, but the way I said it was totally not the way I meant it to come out of my mouth. (And to my wife’s credit, there was good reason for the misunderstanding).
So, there we were in bed one night, and my wife asked, “Why do you love me?” (At this point the alarm bells go off in my head…WARNING!…ANSWER CAREFULLY!…THINK!) Here’s what I said (again, not what I meant this to sound like) – “Because I have to.” Yes, I know. (Insert title again here.)
Okay, so now you’re wondering (I hope) about what I meant. And it totally has to do with what I said. Here’s what I meant, and if you understand what I’m saying and can explain it to my wife, please call. I’m not sure she’s over it yet. 🙂
When I married my wife, I meant what I said, and I said what I meant. I chose to love her 100%. (Not sure why I digressed into Dr. Seuss speak just then). I made a covenant with my wife, and I chose to love her unconditionally no matter what. So, now it doesn’t matter whether I want to love my wife or not. On that day, I made a choice, and I will do everything I can to live by that choice. So, in essence, I don’t have a choice anymore NOT to love my wife. I have to. Because I made a covenant with my wife to do just that.
Agape is the Greek word for God’s love for us – unconditional love. Love is part of God’s character. It’s so much a part of God’s character that he can’t NOT love us. It’s impossible. In essence, He has to love us. God made a choice from the beginning of creation to love what He made (and he called us VERY good). He made a choice to love us no matter what, and because He made that choice, He demonstrated the ultimate act of love in His son, Jesus Christ. Even while we were still in the midst of our sin. (Romans 5:8)
While I am in no way comparing myself to God, the concept is the same. When we choose to love someone the way that God loved us, we are choosing to love beyond emotion, desire, and frustration and choosing a love that isn’t based on emotion but based on a choice, agape love.
So the next time your spouse asks you, “Why do you love me?” Tell them, “Because I have to.” And let me know how it works out for you. (I’ll even let you sleep on my couch for a night or two. Just don’t tell my wife.)