Enduring Love

Enduring Love is something that couples desire to experience in their relationship, particularly in marriage. Enduring love signifies a love that is continuing, long-lasting, or permanent. A love of this quality requires more than emotion and sentimentality. Enduring love requires long-term commitment. For many people, commitment is scary.

I proposed to Renita, more than 26 years ago, during my senior year at Purdue University. To this very day, I can vividly remember walking down East State Street in West Lafayette, Indiana, heading back to my apartment from class when the reality of my wedding vows hit me:

I, Roosevelt, take you, Renita, for my lawful wedded wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, until death do us part.

That phrase, “until death do us part” screamed in my mind “This is PERMANENT!” I was terrified.

Later, I confided in my Pastor, who was performing our pre-marital counseling, that I didn’t think I could go through with getting married. He said, “I can see that Renita is a ‘fighter’. When the going gets tough, she’ll fight to protect and preserve your marriage.”

Since that day, Renita and I have made three important decisions to help foster enduring love in our marriage:

1. To make God and his Word foundational to our marriage.

The scripture reading on our wedding day was from 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. Verse 7 reads, “Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”

2. To find a church family that could support us in our commitment to one another.

We both realized that at times we would need to draw on the wisdom and experience of others who had great marriages. Proverbs 11:14 says, “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.”

3. To never talk about or consider divorce as an option.

God’s intention was that marriage would last for a life time. Jesus said in Matthew 19: 6, “Since [husband] and [wife] are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together.”

The sense of infatuation that a couple feels when love is new is a wonderful experience and it seems to happen naturally, but it doesn’t last long. Enduring love, on the other hand, doesn’t happen naturally. It requires more than emotions, it takes willful commitment.