“But God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8)
Christ not only freely chose to love, he chose to love fully knowing all the times you would hurt, reject, and deny him in your life. Christ as God knew every time you would sin against him. He knew every time you would feel his love yet run the other way. He knew every time you would hurt him. He knew each and every time you would have bad thoughts. He knew all. Yet, despite knowing how many times you would fail to love him and fail to let him love you, he chose to die on the cross to save you. That love is unconditional. That love is based on the decision to love regardless of how the other person treats you, regardless of what the other person does for you, and regardless of if the other person loves you. That love is completely independent of other’s actions.
For us to love as Christ loves, we must also learn to love our spouse regardless of their actions, because this love is a decision, a choice, it is freely given regardless of what the other person does. So often we hear people talk about leaving a relationship because they deserve to be treated better. While we all have immeasurable worth and deserve to be treated with respect, love, and dignity, God’s unconditional love is not based on how other’s treat us. God’s unconditional love says that we should even love our enemies. This love says that regardless of what the other person has done, regardless of how they have made you feel, you should choose to love them and be there for them. This love says that no matter how rejected, how hurt, or how disappointed you may feel you can still choose to love.
When this love seems impossible, when it feels like there is no way you can choose to love someone because of what they have done, you need to only turn to yourself and have an honest look at yourself and your relationship with Christ. Allow yourself to be humbled by all the times you have failed Christ, all the times you have hurt him, all the times you have rejected or denied him. Allow yourself to see your failures in your relationship with Christ. Then ask Christ to remind you how much he loves you anyway. Allow him to show you how much he loves you and let that love cover you and overtake you. Look to the cross and remember that although at that moment he knew of how you would treat him, he chose to love you with all he had until his dying breath. Ask God to give you that same love for your spouse, to give you all you need to love like that. Then resolve to do the same for others – to strive to love them by chose no matter what they have done. Allow your love to transcend their actions.