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Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

"Undergirding Marital Love"

February 1, 2005

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These three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13

In Irving Stone’s historical novel about Mary Todd, “Love is Eternal,” the future Mrs. Lincoln confides to her cousin Ann that she might marry a Springfield, Illinois, lawyer because he has a promising political future and might someday be president. Her cousin replied, “Surely you wouldn’t marry a man for just that!” The cousin explained that she would marry her beau only for love, adding, “What else is marriage?” Mary’s brief comment to that was that marriage is “a way of life.”

Love is the essential ingredient. A popular song has it that love and marriage go together like a horse and carriage. Much depends on what is meant by love. It has to be more than infatuation. Mutual caring and concern are part of it. It has to manifest itself in all good virtues: patience, compassion, ability to forgive, thoughtfulness, a sharing of joys and sorrows. Self-fulfillment? Yes, but not at the cost of sacrificial love.

The strongest anchor for the ship of marriage on a stormy sea is faith in Jesus Christ. You can compare faith and the love flowing from it to anything else that gives stability: ballast in a ship, the rock foundation of a house, the girders of a bridge. The Bible has a great deal to say about the love of Christ as sustaining our love to Him and to one another. Saint Paul bids husbands to love their wives as Christ loved His bride, the church, and gave Himself up for her. Of course, the same goes for wives in relation to Christ and their husbands.

Each of the young women quoted above spoke a part of the truth. To marry a man primarily because of his position, present or future, puts personal ambition ahead of love. To speak of love as the only prerequisite for marrying someone is likewise insufficient. Marriage does have its practical side; it becomes a way of life for those who enter it.

Saint Paul says of Christian love: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking” (1 Corinthians 13:4-5). That kind of love is needed to undergird marriage.

PRAYER: O Lord Jesus, strengthen my love toward others, that it may become more and more like Your love. Amen.

(Devotions from "With Jesus Every Day" copyright 1997, CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. Permission is granted for one-time emailing of this link to a friend. For information on other devotional material, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit CPH at

Today's Bible Readings: Genesis 36-38    Matthew 21:1-22

Change Their World. Change Yours. This changes everything.

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