“When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to be well?” —John 5:6
I remember that day in the coffee shop like it was yesterday. I sat across from a new friend in ministry who was suffering through divisions in her marriage. Tucked into the depths of my purse sat a gift I brought for her. A gift that would, if she were willing, completely change her life.
I took out the meticulously wrapped package and cautiously asked her the question; Do you want your marriage to be well? She looked back at me for a few moments; pensive. It seemed she wanted to give her most genuine answer and she was figuring out for herself what that answer would be. “Yes, she carefully answered. I want my marriage to be well.”
I shared with her a lesson that I learned myself in my young marriage. Love is a choice, not a feeling. If you want your marriage to be well, you must choose to love. There are moments and seasons in a marriage that you will not want this to be the solution because choosing to love is hard work.
Sliding the gift onto the table that separated us, I encouraged her to open it. Inside was a book called ‘The Love Dare’. She looked back at me, confused. I shared more. Between the covers of this book was a months worth of challenges. Each new day the author gives you a task to complete for your husband…some easy, some incredibly difficult and sacrificial. Each task honouring your marriage vows to one another and further developing a habit to choose love.
Somewhere along the way, she simply stopped choosing. She didn’t mean to stop choosing. Life had thrown difficult circumstances at her from many directions and she was tired and weary; unaware that she had stopped. For accountability and support I offered to do the challenges alongside her with my husband. What a blessing for me!
The way the Lord used this book to restore my friend’s marriage is amazing. I love to see them together today, weathering life’s storms with arms linked, choosing to love no matter what circumstances they face. Fully understanding that the act of choosing to love often surpasses our natural instincts and requires careful intention. Knowing that oftentimes this choice to love will not be easy, but will be worth it.
Is your marriage struggling this christmas season? Do you want your marriage to be well? Don’t place the survival of your marriage on the hope that feelings of love will come back on their own— make the choice to love instead. Choose to sacrifice. Choose to serve. You’ll be blessed and your spouse will be too. Oh, and did I mention choosing to love is also contagious? When you choose love, you spread love as well! (John 13:34-35 says “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”)
Praying you experience love in a supernatural way this christmas.
Mandy is the founder of the ministry blog We are His daughters and thoroughly enjoys writing and providing leadership to this ministry. Mandy is an imperfect work in progress! She loves the Lord with her whole heart and counts it her biggest privilege to serve Him in ministry however He leads. Born and raised in Halifax, Nova Scotia, she now resides in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia with her family. She has been married to her handsome husband Nathan for 13 years and together they have served in ministry for the entirety of their marriage. Nathan & Mandy have four beautiful children; Benjamin; Sophia; Spencer & Grayson. Mandy is passionate about singing, worship leading and music. She loves reading, writing, taking pictures, studying the bible and sipping peppermint mocha’s at Starbucks while chatting with a friend! She strives to be tidier, more organized (yes, she is a little compulsive!), a little more Martha Stewart-esque, and a little less ‘unglued’. Most of all she seeks to be holier and to love God through serving her family and her community.