I will tell you, in all honesty, that I cannot love my husband in my own strength. It’s not possible. I tried to for a many years and would do fine for a while, but inevitably I would run out of steam. Resentment would seep back in and these feelings and thoughts that had to with how little I perceived to be getting back. That's the self creeping in, because to out love our spouses requires unconditional love that's centered in Christ, not us.
First, I had to ask God to help me love my husband the way He loves him. To put a love in my heart for my spouse that far exceeds what I am capable of. God answered that prayer and keeps answering it faithfully, but it truly starts in my love for God. The more we love God—the more we live for Him—the more we are able to love others unconditionally.
Take a look at Matthew 22:37-39:
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’"
You've probably heard this Scripture a lot but let's take a closer look at it. First, and foremost, we're told to love God with everything we've got. THEN, we are to love others. Maybe, like me, you thought the part about loving God came first, well, because God wants to be first in our lives. You would be right, but I also think it's because that second part just isn't going to happen unless we get the first part down.
Jesus boiled down the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible, to two commands. Love God first, then love others. And in that order. As I've said before, God never seems to have only one reason for anything He says and does. He is the most efficient being there is! He doesn't just tell us to make Him first in our lives, He's also telling us that in order to be able to love others like this, we have to love Him first.
Loving God first opens the door for God to love others through us. That is how we love sacrificially.
And out loving our spouse, or anyone for that matter, means loving sacrificially. The only way to love sacrificially is through Christ. We just can't do it our own.
So, that's where we start, right there in your heart. Ask God to help you love Him more than anything else in your life, including yourself and your spouse. Then ask Him to out love your spouse through you.
Then watch what happens. You will be amazed.
Praying and believing,