What does it take for love in marriage to last a lifetime? As California's Saddleback Church held a "Marriage Renewal Weekend" during the worship service on Sunday, Pastor Tom Holladay answered this question, sharing four qualifications for enduring love.
1 Peter 1:22 says, "You must keep on loving with all your heart," Pastor Holladay told the congregation.
Four decisions are needed for that, he said. And those who are single should look out for these decisions or indicators when they look for a life partner, he added.
One, listen with all your heart, he shared. Open your ears to listen to your spouse so you know what she or he is going through in life, he said.
The pastor quoted James 1:19, "Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry."
We need to actively find ways to listen; it won't happen by itself, Holladay said, encouraging spouses to have a "built-in time for listening" to each other.
But it isn't as easy as it sounds, he acknowledged. Men and women are wired differently, and they'll have their own ways of saying what they want to say. "Listening is hearing the other person the way they want to say," he underlined.
The second decision is that we forgive with all your heart, Pastor Holladay said.
Acceptance and forgiveness are two different things, he cautioned. If someone is not perfect and is different, we need to accept them as they are, and not "forgive," he explained.
Acceptance is, of course, needed, he said, quoting Romans 15:7, "Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God."
Married life is a challenge; it's not easy, he added. In marriage, you're living together for life, and one of the challenges is acceptance. "And even greater challenge is forgiveness," he said.
Forgiveness is needed when someone wrongs or hurts you, he explained, quoting, Ephesians 4:32, "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you."
"In marriage, one sinner is marrying another sinner. Of course, some of those sins are going to hurt each other in our lives together… Marriage is a union of two great forgivers," he added.