According to the US Census Bureau and the American Psychological Association, 40 to 50 percent of all marriages end in divorce. The reason most given is—irreconcilable differences. This means whatever the problems that this life brought to them, they could not find a way to solve them together. The overwhelming majority say openly: “The love was just gone.” Whatever the reasons for their decision to file for divorce; each of them experienced “Love’s great fall!”
I am a 36 year counselor/social worker and have worked with many struggling families. All marriages will struggle at some point and time. To what degree I am competent to offer guidance, I know this much is true—If love is seemingly gone in any marital union, unity left long before the “love” did. Being unified in the love for our God and seeking to glorify Him in all things is what God desires from us. He wishes to grow couples together, each seeking to make the other just like Christ.
This can only be done by the power of God’s mercy, by His grace, and by His unconditional love. We, on the other hand, are conditional beings by nature. We tend to make our love for one-another conditional. The lack of unity, the lack of this one primary guiding focus to glorify God in all things, leaves both parties in a marriage vulnerable when life happens.
How do those who one day “fell in love” and made a decision to unite as one together; then regain that love and unity when the love seems gone?
Any house built, to withstand the storms of life, must be built upon the Chief Cornerstone who alone gives life and who is Love. But, even those who start out building well, can find their house being damaged by the storms of life when they come. Even in godly homes, they can take their toll on the unity of minds, bodies, and spirits. Pride gets in the way, self-rule always battles to regain its power, and Satan is loosed on the Earth in all of his power.
I believe the biblical institution of marriage/family is the second most important institution on Satan’s list to attack after Christ’s church; for, when society’s families are broken down, so is society! Marriage is a mirror image of how Christ loves His bride, the Church. It is how a child is to be trained up in the way he should go. Many have called it the “Domestic Church”, for without strong Christ-like marriages the Church is weak.
Most marriage counseling focuses on self-improvement, fulfilling the partner’s needs, improving communication, and trying to resolve conflicts. These are worldly things. We must remember all our battles are fought in a spiritual realm, so the weapons we must use to fight them victoriously “are not weapons of this world” 2 Corinthians 10:4-5.
When any couple find themselves in the middle of love’s great fall; recapturing the love must begin again with the unity of seeking the love of God together. Both must ask themselves the all important question—What is love’s true motive? A good place to start in evaluating any of love’s true motives, is by using 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 as an self-examination tool.
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.
Idolatry is always the cause for our spiritual failures. Idolatry is giving divine honor and importance to any created thing above God (Romans 1:21-28.) It is easy to start doing things for self. Even doing it for your spouse is idolatry. God’s glory must be our reason/motive; and, to allow Him to conform us into the image of His Son (sanctification).
When anyone is in the middle of “Love’s great fall”, it is sure that the love of God in our hearts has been lost somehow. When everything else fails in a marriage and in order to glorify God in a marriage, three things must remain, or must be recaptured. If these are lost, any marriage will very soon be in serious trouble.
— 1 Corinthians 13:13
“And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
It is important also to once again see the importance of massive amounts of prayer time together. Prayer must not be overlooked, undervalued, or ignored. The old saying is true—“The family that prays together, stays together!” It is also true that—a family that worships together, stays together! Going to the Throne of Grace together results in finding God together. Family worship time is the glue that holds a family together seeking Christ together as one.
Here is some help in self-evaluating the faith, hope, and love in any marriage:
–Faith: Is the family worshiping at home together, praying together, and studying God’s Word together? Has dependence upon God slowly been eroded and replaced by living independently from His grace, more, and more depending on human strength? Is the family growing in their trust of God together?
–Hope: Has the hope in Christ’s coming been squeezed out by the cares and desires of this world? Satan loves to use the the many trials a family will face to cause them to lose their hope. Has happiness come to be determined by worldly outcomes instead of looking to the future happiness found in Christ’s coming. Finances, for example, often are allowed to determine our happiness.
–Love: Has works/labors, all that we do, slowly stopped being tempered with the love of God? Has the love of God been replaced by the love of self? Is our love being perfected in Christ Jesus? Has the sanctification process stopped? Neither faith nor hope, which are so needed for this life, can be had without the love of God ruling hearts and the marriage.
Be proactive! Take a look at the faith, hope, and love in your marriage and your joint prayer life.
Do you see any signs your marriage might be headed for “Love’s great fall”?
Poem “Love’s Great Fall”