April 1, 1991 Issue
by Jimmie C. Smith

These are words I never want to hear directed toward me by my spouse, my children, or my brethren. I would hope that my tongue would be severed from my mouth before I utter such words. Yet we are hearing these words repeated without shame and with a great degree of obstinacy by stiff-necked and uncircumcised of heart brethren. Love is not an option!

It is not an option concerning our enemies, much less our mates and brethren, (Matt 5:43-44). Bro. James Orten in his book, "Marriage in a Chaotic World," correctly points out that Jesus was not demanding or legislating "emotions" but "behavior," and that intimate conversation will produce emotional involvement. Feelings can be the result of behaviors as well as the producer of them.

The Lord told the church at Ephesus in Rev 2:4 who had left their first love to "repent and do the first works." Obviously the works have enormous effects on our emotions. Brother Orten also ably dealt with the myth of "romantic love."

Brother K.G. Wilks told me when I was a newlywed that he could assure me that over the years I would find out that the size and physical features of our mates have little or nothing to do with their appeal to us. As proof I offer the following contrast.

Two weeks ago in a Dear Abby column in our local paper, a lady wrote that she was married to a good-looking, terrific man with a terrific build, caring person who didn't drink or chase women, was hard working and in fact, fairly wealthy. But she just didn't feel like she loved him, although she cares deeply for him. She had friends who would love to have her dream house, her husband, her car and extra spending money. She wanted advice whether she should stay with him just because it's such a good arrangement, or should she leave him to find someone who gives her that "in love" feeling she is missing.

Contrast that with an article that appeared several years ago in Pulpit Helps. Patricia Hershey went to the home of Katrine, a new girl at church whose parents had recently migrated to the U.S. The mother was a warm, friendly person, even her house exuded hospitality. But what impressed her most, though, was her constant reference to her husband. Whenever there was a lull in the conversation the kids would insert, "Is it almost time for Papa?" The school kids came home, did their chores and the oldest daughter headed for the kitchen and said, "I'm going to start some of Papa's favorite muffins for supper." The lady arose to leave when Katrine pleaded with her to stay and see Papa. Ms. Hershey was so curious that she had to stay at the persuasion also of the wife of the home. Her shock of meeting Lawrence was almost too much. Instead of a well-dressed man of brilliant speech, a small man, twisting his mustache nervously and talking brokenly in the accent of his native tongue, acknowledged the friend of his "I eetle Katrina."

Loving our mate is not optional I repeat! The love of husbands for their wives are compared to Christ's love for His Bride Eph 5:22-33. Col 3:19 "Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them." 1 Pet 3:7 "Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered."

Titus 2:4 'That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children." Anything that can be taught can be learned. If you once loved your mate, you can learn to love them again. It matters not what some have been taught about divorce. I personally know two who were raised in good families of the No Cause persuasion who in short, short time decided that they didn't love their husband and secured a divorce saying "I know I can never remarry." But they did!!! Divorce is not all right in such cases, even if you "never plan to remarry." Eccl 5:4-5 "When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools; pay that which thou has vowed. Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay."

I can think of no more solemn a vow than; "Do you take this man to be thy lawful and wedded husband; to live together in the holy estate of matrimony? To have and to hold; to love, honour and obey; for better or for worse; forsaking all others keep yourself unto him only; fulfilling you duties and obligations as a wife, so long as you both shall live?"

When one divorces his mate for anything less than adultery, he commits criminal action against a much higher law. He destroys a Divine Institution, the home. Matt 19:6 "Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder." The only recourse for such action is to remain single or to be remarried to one's mate (1 Cor 7:10-11). The Lord knew some would divorce their mate because they "didn't love them anymore." He said, "Don't Do It," but I have legislation for you even in your stubbornness. "Stay single or remarry your companion." There is an emotional security unsurpassed in the knowledge, "I am Loved!" Yes, "I Love You!" May my actions show it!

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