Ask yourself, “Am I willing to invest the necessary energy to come to a new relationship with my mate, one less crippled by unreal expectations, one more shaped by who we really are? Can I change?” Maturing love finds a new level of intimacy because the couple is more comfortable with the balance of strength and weakness they find in their spouse and themselves.
Marital love is subject to the marriage vows and the Word of God. Rather than making marital love a complex thing, husbands can break it down to this simple formula: I love her because (1) She is my wife, and (2) God said Husbands love your wives.
A wife may ask it this way: Why should I love him? Because he is my husband, we have pledged our lives to each other, we are bound together by God’s Word and by our vows, he is the father of our child, we are accountable for our life together before God and men.
Ideally, love will be expressed through both our feelings and will. But sometimes a conflict arises between the two. In such instances, which one will take the lead?
For example, when feeling tempted into an extra-marital relationship (affair/adultery), it becomes the will that leads, not the feeling. One must respond to temptation like this: “I will express my love to my wife by faithfulness when tempted.”
The Book of Proverbs provides strong warnings against the long-term dangers of marital infidelity:
Proverbs 6:26 For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread: and the adultress will hunt for the precious life.
32 But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul.
33 A wound and dishonour shall he get; and his reproach shall not be wiped away.
For men, one way to handle the flirtations and temptation of a beautiful woman is to think about her this way:
Proverbs 11:22 As a jewel of gold in a swine’s snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion.
That verse explains that the woman who flirts with you husband may be highly attractive, but she is just a dressed up hog if she is flirting with a married man. And you cannot blame her if you fall. You are not innocent.
Proverbs 6:29 So he that goeth in to his neighbour’s wife; whosoever toucheth her shall not be innocent.
We should practice enforcing our will by saying “I love you” every day, despite changing feelings caused by moods, health, disagreement, problems of the day. Do this by an act of your will as an act of faith. Your words then need to be followed by works. God will honor your faith as you look for the flow of “felt” love to come from God.