North Santa Rosa

Living With Purpose by Matt Dobson

Valentine’s Day Edition (Part II of a two-part column)

My Grandparents kept a pillow on their sofa that read, “All Things Grow With Love”. Maybe that’s why I enjoyed going there so much. When you stepped in their house you felt accepted, you could be yourself, and there was a presence of God’s love throughout. Love was taught and love was expressed. Just the power of loving will transform you. It can make you a new person from the inside out.

The column this week is a continuation of last week’s “Valentine’s Edition”. Let’s begin by saying true love is not meant to be contained or suppressed and that’s why the phrase “Love will always find a way”, has held truth for centuries. When two people who really love discover each other, a new life can begin for both of them. Deep down in your being you know this is what God made for you—for you to love and be loved. Like the streaming melodious sounds of a classical music score, the course of love can run from companionship and courtship to the sacrament of marriage. For once there were two, now they become one.

If love led only to more love and the satisfaction of desire, then sooner or later it would exhaust itself, passion would likely suffer. Love is crowned with marriage and marriages are made strong when God is in them (Eccl. 4:9-12). It’s true that all genuine love relationships do not end with marriage. Some people don’t want it. Sometimes one does and the other doesn’t. Commitment is serious and it should be real. Vows should represent your heartfelt convictions and should be made only when you’re ready to fulfill them.

It’s a known fact that family cares and concerns sometimes over shadow the joys of matrimony. They divide the attention you yearn for from your partner. Take children for example. Children are blessings, but they can also cause trouble and worry. Sometimes children might seem like stones in your path. Children, your job(s), family, and friends can make marriage hard. But with God and because of your love for them, true love with your spouse can last a lifetime, if both are willing to work at it.

Now, even though love is a grand thing, there have been times sin and unfaithfulness have destroyed trusting relationships. Sometimes, the one who has stood before the altar of God with you and promised faithfulness, forgets these vows. The way to meet this challenge is not easy. I cannot begin to tell you what you “should” do, because I don’t know you or the circumstance. To have loved someone deeply and experience loss of trust and pain can be overwhelming. But there is someone who can help you. There is a refuge. It’s God! Seek Him and all His righteousness and He can restore your soul and your heart. A dear friend who helped me along life’s journey a few years ago told me: “As much as you may love someone and no matter how much energy you have invested in that relationship, the ultimate fulfillment in relationships is found in God.” He was right, because God knows your troubles, He knows your heart, and He knows your needs (Phil. 4:19). Run to Him and He will in no way cast you out   (John 6:37). He will place inside of your heart a new love in which to give. God can help you discover that your love is needed many times, in many places, by many people, not just romantically, but in all your relationships.

The way of love and marriage is the way of God. Despite difficulties, I believe in marriage and I believe there is such a thing as true love and soul mates. The world and its distractions will surely try to keep you from following God’s plan for your love relationships. You must neglect the world rather than one another. This seems to be the lesson from God’s Word (Rom. 12:2). The God-centered life, the life that seeks to give rather than to get, is the life which will gives success and happiness.

Finally, understand no marriage can be made totally divorce proof. There is sometimes a fine line between the things that make a marriage work and those that break it up. I share the following 10 things with all my couples during pre-marital counseling:

1) Make Christ the center of your lives (Eccl. 4:12),

2) Remain sexually and emotionally faithful (1 Cor. 7:2-5),

3) Keep no secrets from your spouse (1 Cor. 13:6),

4) Love and respect your spouse (Eph. 5:33),

5) Pray for your marriage  (I Thess. 5:17),

6) Be kind; forgive (Eph. 4:32),

7) Follow God’s instructions for money management (1 Tim. 6:10),

8) Don’t go to bed angry (Eph. 4:26-27),

9) Honor each other’s parents (Ex. 20:12),

10) Always strive to make your marriage better (Phil. 3:12).

Practicing these will help strengthen the marriage bond and promote enduring love—the kind that lasts a lifetime. And remember, as always, find a church, attend faithfully, and follow God in all your ways.

  • This weekly column is written by Matthew Dobson. A graduate of Florida State University, University of West Florida, and Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, he is Pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church in Jay, Florida. Matthew can be reached by email: He welcomes your thoughts and questions concerning faith, belief, and Christian living.
Posted by on Feb 19 2012. Filed under Living With Purpose, Local, Top News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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