If you want to safeguard your marriage against the storms and struggles of life, if you want a deeper bond and a richer friendship, you need the third secret to a lasting love: persevering love. It’s the kind of love that triumphs over trials and grows stronger when you are most vulnerable.
Persevering love doesn’t just hang on through calamity by its fingernails; it hangs in there and thrives. It’s the kind of love described by the apostle Paul: “Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance” (1 Corinthians 13:7). Persevering love bonds husbands and wives into lifelong friends.
Persevering Love Requires Total Commitment
From what we have witnessed and experienced, the starting point for persevering love is an all-out commitment to each other. It’s the tough stance that says, “Our marriage is bigger than any issue. No matter who or what is arrayed against us, we will stand together. Neither of us will ever go through a trial alone.”
Persevering love doesn’t say, “I’ll stick with you because I have to—because I promised to” but, “I will hang in there with you because I care for you more than anything in the world.”
Have you committed yourself 100 percent to endure together whatever life may throw at you? How are you demonstrating that commitment in the face of life’s problems and pressures?
Persevering Love Requires Unconditional Acceptance
The unconditional acceptance of persevering love says, “No matter how good or bad you look, no matter how much money you earn or lose, no matter how smart or feebleminded you are, I will still love you.” That’s the stuff of our wedding vows—for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health. Persevering love chooses to continue loving even when life dumps on us a world of reasons to fall out of love.
Persevering Love Requires Deep Trust
Persevering love is the product of deep trust between husband and wife. Trust says, “I will depend on you to guard and protect my heart and my life, to fight beside me always.” You may need to trust a lot of people to pull you through a crisis. But more than anyone else on earth, husbands and wives should rely on each other.
King Solomon wrote, “If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But people who are alone when they fall are in real trouble” (Ecclesiastes 4:10). The wise king continued, “A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:12). Although these verses do not refer specifically to the marriage relationship, they do reveal that a trust-based relationship, especially one that is “triple-braided”—such as husband, wife, and God—is tough to beat. When you face pressures, allow them to bond you together and build your friendship instead of pull you apart.
Facing trials requires a depth of trust that doesn’t grow overnight. This is why the trust of persevering love grows richer over time, as you each prove yourselves trustworthy to the other. It may be true that trust begins to build during courtship, and your commitment to trust may be inherent in your wedding vows. But complete trust is established over time and under the pressure of daily life.
Persevering Love Requires Endurance
Every kind of trial—emotional burdens, financial difficulties, spiritual questions, physical pain, relational stresses—presents a new opportunity for a husband and wife to persevere. Commitment helps you stay connected to each other through trials; perseverance is the determination to outlast the problems, to help each other get to the other side. Think of the intimacy and friendship that can develop in your relationship when you are committed to persevering through every trial.
Persevering Love Requires Abiding Faith
If marital love is to endure life’s pressures, it needs to be grounded in a sincere, abiding faith in the God who designed marriage. Any of us can stubbornly pursue a lifestyle that our culture deems important and live independently of God. Sometimes a severe trial moves us to let God have his way with us and to see what truly matters in life. We often don’t really appreciate the important role faith plays in our marriage until a crisis forces us to throw ourselves on God’s mercy.
Faith is such a vital facet of the marriage relationship and such a source of strength for building a lasting love.
Persevering Love Requires Diligent Preparation
Anyone who lives near a hurricane zone knows that the time for action is long before the storm hits. Once the wind is wailing, the surf is boiling, and the rain is coming at you sideways, it’s time to head for cover and hunker down. It’s too late to board up the windows, buy drinking water and batteries, and add flood coverage to your homeowner’s policy. The time to prepare for a hurricane is during the calm between the storms.
When it comes to marriage, all of us live in a hurricane zone. And since the pressures, crises, and tragedies of life seldom blow in with advance warning, it is during the calm stretches of life that we must get ready for them. Persevering love is founded on the devotion and friendship a husband and wife build before the storm strikes.
If you and your spouse find yourselves in one of those lulls between storms, rejoice! And while you are rejoicing, take the opportunity to prepare for stormy weather ahead. Now is the time to shore up your marriage. Work on a Bible study together. Take a second honeymoon—or third, or fourth. Read some good books on marriage enrichment and discuss them together. Attend a Christian marriage conference. Seek out a biblically based Christian counselor, and ask him or her for pointers on how to deepen your friendship.
The more you invest in your marriage between the storms, the better prepared you will be to endure the storms together—and even come through them stronger.
*For more about how to unlock the biblical secrets to a marriage that stays vibrant and strong for a lifetime check out our book 6 Secrets to a Lasting Love in our online bookstore!