by Rick Warren — June 9, 2021
“Our love should not be just words and talk; it must be true love, which shows itself in action.”
1 John 3:18 (GNT)
And to make these adjustments successfully, you’ll need to become unselfish. In fact, learning to be unselfish may be the greatest lesson God wants to teach you through your marriage.
Unselfishness is at the core of what the Bible teaches in 1 John 3:18: “Our love should not be just words and talk; it must be true love, which shows itself in action” (GNT).
Here are three ways we all can make unselfish, loving adjustments:
1. Think about what your spouse needs. The Bible says, “Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too” (Philippians 2:4 NLT). Unfortunately, often the longer you’re married, the less you think about your spouse’s needs. The Bible urges you to look out for everyone’s needs—but especially the needs of those in your own home.
2. Submit to each other. The Bible calls spouses to submit to each other—to give up what you really want in order to meet your spouse’s needs. Ephesians 5:21 says, “Honor Christ by submitting to each other” (TLB). Some men think their wives should do all of the adjusting in marriage. But as leaders of the home, husbands are called to lead the way in sacrificing and in making adjustments—just as Jesus did. Paul writes, “For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her” (Ephesians 5:25 NLT).
3. Make adjustments in the little things. Maybe it means arriving a little bit later or leaving a little bit earlier. Maybe it means going to bed at a different time. Maybe it means going to the restaurant or watching the movie your spouse prefers. Maybe it means listening when your spouse needs you to listen and not just when you feel like it. Real love is expressed through those small, daily decisions to adjust and meet each other’s needs.
The test of real love isn’t in what you say. It’s in how you act.
When your love is mature, you treat your mate like Jesus would. 1 John 3:16 says, “This is how we know what love is: Christ gave his life for us” (GNT).
Make the adjustments to love your spouse like Christ does. That decision will change everything.