Do You Love Me? (Emphasis Added)

In reading the biblical passage when Jesus asks Simon Peter three times, “Do you love me?” (John 21:15-19), it brought to mind this question: where was the emphasis on the sentence? Did Jesus emphasize the same word for all three times, or were there different meanings each time He asked the question? How would you answer that question from your spouse depending on the emphasis?

Do you love me? Of course your spouse is loved by others. First and foremost, God has always loved your spouse, even before you came along. And then there may be parents, kids, other family members and friends who love your spouse. But does your spouse really feel that you love them?

Do you love me? Of course you love your spouse. You got married didn’t you? But sometimes we mistake our emotions for true love. Sure, we feel love, we fall in love, but deep long lasting love requires more than the emotions. It requires work and sacrifice. The emotions are what bring you together and they are the icing on the cake, but you must develop the deeper part or there is no cake under the icing. Does your spouse know that you really love them?

Do you love me? Of course you love your spouse. If you didn’t, you would have pledged your devotion to another. But one of things that is a BIG issue with remarriage, is that we bring along baggage, this includes the EX. Remarriages have to deal with the fact that there was another person. In order to survive and thrive, there can be no question that what you feel for your spouse, you do not feel for anyone else. You must make sure that your spouse is without any doubt that you love them.

Read 4 comments

  1. I so identify with Kyle. Marrying someone from a different religion even though they’re both Christian makes a difference too. I miss worshiping together. That spiritual connection I thought I had before. I do not have that with my current new husband. I identify with the feeling of the whitewashed tombs, doing and saying into being all that others expect me to be. It is draining my soul making me depressed and not being the person I was even five years ago. Marrying because I was loved, not because I necessarily love. No one advised me of that danger. All I got I was “I’m so glad you have someone who loves you for real this time.” I don’t remember anyone ever asking if I loved him back.

    • It is very difficult when you marry for reasons other than the right ones. One of the many reasons that we have divorce in our past is due to that very thing. Our success in our marriage today comes from the decisions we make to make God the priority. We wholeheartedly believe (and have experienced), that when you build up your relationship with God, He will work mightily in your life and your marriage. Thank you for sharing with us Melissa. We pray that God will heal your soul and help you be what He wants you to be.

  2. But what about those that “don’t” love their spouse. When you say, “Of course you love your spouse, you married them.”, it presupposes that we did. I know this sounds ridiculous, but for me (and I’m sure others), we married because once the ball started rolling, it was difficult to stop. And this difficulty goes to “hurting the other person”, “disappointing friends and family”, the belief that though I don’t feel the emotional tie, the “I can’t live without her” feeling, it will come later. For many of us in the Christian community, we have been told (as you did also) that love requires sacrifice and hard work. I disagree. I don’t work at loving my daughters. I get frustrated at time, but I always love them. In fact, I asked my middle daughter one day over the phone while she is finishing up at University, “Sweetie, do you ever have any doubts that I love you?”. To this she replied, “Not at all dad. Even when I was going through a rough spot in high school, and we didn’t get along all that great, I always knew you loved me.” I think that the marriage relationship is essentially the same. Work and sacrifice is not work and sacrifice for someone you love. It is merely another way to express your love — and you love doing it. Because the object of your affection and devotion receives so much from it. I, too, bought into the idea that the emotions would wear off. I just wish that I had know that the emotions would never “wear on”. For those of us who, from the first day, knew that the decision was wrong, but went through it anyway because we believed that “love is a choice”, and that if you didn’t love someone, it was your issue and not theirs, realize sooner or later that their relationship is devastatingly painful. I was reticent at my marriage and within the first week knew that I had made a very bad decision. Bus I was indoctrinated to believe that once the vows were spoken, I had little recourse but to live with my decision. Over the past 28 years, I have read the books, listened to the Sunday School Teachers, done acts of service and all it did was make my wife feel good. Though it is more blessed to give than to receive, it did not enhance my feelings of passion or devotion for my wife in any way. She just came to see it as her “entitlement”. I don’t blame her for this, but it’s just the way it is. I am her emotional rock and stimulator. When she is lonely, she calls me. When she needs something fixed, she calls me. When she needs a shoulder to cry one, there I am. But when I needed a lover, she wanted to be satisfied. When I wanted someone that I could see as beautiful, she gained weight. When I wanted someone to encourage me, she had no words to speak. When my father died, I was left with no one. No brothers, sisters, or mother — she died years before. Even then, one of the worst times in my life, completely broken, all she could do is look at me. I didn’t know if it was disappointment because I was so shattered, or just a disconnection emotionally. All I knew was that I had to pick myself up by myself and move forward. 15 years of really trying and now another 13 years of just giving up has only made me older and wiser. I still long for a passionate, happy, and satisfying relationship, but I knew long ago that it will never happen with this woman. On the bright side, most of my Christian leaders tell me words to the effect, “Stick it out…you have to!” I guess I’m through venting my spleen. Every night I talk with God about this and every morning after my devotions, I broach the subject again. Last night I told Him, “I have a lot of work to do yet, but once I finish my responsibilities to the girls, if you choose to leave me in the relationship I now have, I’m ready for you to call me home. And I would appreciate you doing so, and the first opportunity. Nevertheless, it’s your decision. Of course, if you could help me figure out a way to cope and experience some of the abundant life Jesus talked about, I would much prefer that.” One thing I know for sure, a marriage without an emotional/passionate connection is like a Pharisee — a white washed tomb full of dead man’s bones.

    • There is so much that we do not know about your individual circumstances that we would be forced to assume things which may or may not be true when answering you. Therefore, we prayerfully considered how to best respond to you and we feel that this is what God wants us to say.

      We speak from our experiences with painful marriages, and the trials and successes that have come from those marriages and ultimately into our remarriage. We are truly sorry that your marriage is not all that you want it to be. We understand the pain of living in a bad (or even worse, complacent) marriage. Unfortunately, we chose (or had thrust upon us) divorce as the answer. In most cases, it is not.

      Ultimately, your abundant life, the love and satisfaction that you desire from your life, your relationships, and particularly your marriage, have to come through God alone. Many of us make the mistake of relying on someone else, particularly ourselves, to fulfill what only God can. When we do that, we place unrealistic expectations upon ourselves and those close to us. The work in our marriage relationship, or any relationship for that matter, comes from the fact that we must surrender ourselves completely to God.

      There are a few things that we have learned from our experiences that may be of benefit to you. The first thing is that you keep working on your relationship with God. You will not be able to change the people around you, but you can allow God to mold and shape you into the person He wants you to be. You may find that God working in you, will effect change within your spouse as well. Secondly, we have benefited from working on our marriage together doing such things as attending marriage seminars, doing bible studies together and worshiping together. These things we do, not because our marriage is bad but because it is good and these things make it better.

      Don’t give up, because we believe and have experienced God’s healing and restoration of relationships that appeared to have no hope. We can say with unequivocal certainty that God is the answer to your problems.

      Kyle, thank you for honoring us with the opportunity to come along beside you and your marriage and for giving God the opportunity to speak to you through our blog. We will keep you in our prayers because, after everything, that is the very best that we can offer to you.

Leave a Reply