For every newlywed or new parent, the question must be asked, is love enough? If I love my spouse enough, can we make it last a lifetime? If we love each other enough, we won’t fight or get sick of each other, right? If I simply love my child, that will be enough to raise him, won’t it? Will he turn out okay?
But the truth is, after years and years of working in counseling, raising five children of my own, and being married to a wonderful who is very different from me I can tell you love is not enough. By itself, love wears thin. We are free to think, if I love my child enough, everything will turn out okay, but nothing is further from the truth. If you just love your child, you’ll end up with a little monster on your hands. Love and discipline are inseparable. If you love and discipline your child, then you’ve got a much better shot at raising your child right.
As for love in marriage, I can say that love is not two young lovers entwined in each other’s arms, gazing moonstruck at the lake on a summer night. If you simply love your spouse in this way, it’s not enough for the long haul. All the experts agree that the moony-eyed love—the honeymoon effect—lasts about two years. So what do you do between then and 48 years later, when you get your picture in the newspaper for your fiftieth anniversary and you both look wrinkled up like raisins?
I’ll say this: in both marriage and in child rearing you must choose to love. You must be faithful to love. It’s easy to love when the person is lovable. But the blessing is in loving the person even when he or she isn’t lovable. It happens in both marriage and in child rearing. There will be times when your spouse or child will be difficult or almost impossible to love. They’ll butt heads with you and drive you up walls and maybe even hurt you. But if you commit to love your spouse and children, no matter what they do, then you won’t be broken by any hardship. You’ll keep divorce at bay and you’ll rear a family that isn’t split and divided. So this year, remember to make the decision to love. As Proverbs 3:3 says, “Don’t let love and faithfulness ever leave you.”