Picture a Romeo and a Juliet who are head over heels in love with each other. They got married, painted the city with the color red and garnished their society with the aroma of their love for each other. In due course, they became the gossip headline of oral news; they created unnumbered chapters of love stories for all who cared to notice and even those who pretended not to have noticed. Their love was audible to the deaf and visible to the blind. It was a seasoned and admirable love. In Nigerian parlance, we will say, their love for each other was “talk of the town”. That is, it headlines both gossip and organized news. I am sure an image of a loving, caring, romantic, and tantalizing love is created in your mind right now. Please keep that picture saved in your internal cloud- the brain.
Transport yourself to their reality; two, five or ten years later….. It may shock you to greet a reality which reveals this same Romeo and Juliet are either no longer in love or divorced or creating a narrative of a strained and frustrated relationship. The fundamental question I hear you ask is, “what happened?” or “how are these two narratives ever possible with the same parties?” I don’t claim to have a one-size-fits-all answer that fits all of your questions, but I will attempt to answer.
I will attempt by saying that the love that leads to the wedding is not enough to sustain the marriage. Most likely because the love that leads to the wedding is ignorant of so many things in volumes. The love that leads to the wedding may be ignorant of how your spouse responds to anger, forgiveness, and sexual temptations such as taming sexual urge and sexual appetite by deciding not to date or patronize strange women because your wife offends you or travelled out of town or is nursing your newborn baby. Also, as a wife, please learn to control your hunger for sex when your husband is away or getting entangled with the game of ‘getting back at each other.’ Foxes such as the above realities are narratives that marriage unveils. Thus, I am inviting you to practice devoted love with your spouse as a crucial praxis to sustaining love for your spouse.
Devoted love entails committing to everly love and grow together with your spouse through thick and thin- bad, good, and ugly. Devoted love invites you to intentionally and exclusively focus on building your marriage by learning to spend quality and quantity time together, refusing to cheat on your spouse (even if they may not discover), honouring your
spouse above your parents. Worthy of note is the salient truth that when you practice devoted love with your spouse, you will ardently esteem their needs above yours as you deliberately work towards fulfilling your wedding vows and commitment to each other. Thus, the practice of love that makes you esteem your spouse’s needs and requests over yours, deliberately living out your marital vows, exclusively focused on building your marriage as patterned by God is what I refer to as devoted love as it guarantees lasting marriage of bliss and endless joy.