Have you ever asked yourself, “When I tell my spouse I Love you, what am I really saying.? I’ve asked this question of myself and others. In most instances, the answer in substance sounds a lot like a popular psychology book or the climax to a Hall Mark movie after “following your heart.” I appreciate you, enjoy you and desire your company are the better answers that are proffered.
If you are a Christian and you operate from a biblical worldview, do you know that God models for us what it means to say, “I love you?” Think about it. What are you saying with those three words–I love you? If you are following God’s model, here is what you mean.
I choose you!
Think about Abraham. God comes to him as a pagan and calls him to come out from his people to a land God has chosen for him and his progeny (Genesis 12 & 17). As we follow the journey of Israel throughout the Old Testament, we find this (Deuteronomy 7:6-9)
When we turn to the New Testament from Jesus to Paul, we are repeatedly told that God chose us. Jesus said, “No one comes unto me unless the Father calls him (John 6:44). Pau says, “Just as He chose us in Him (Jesus Christ) Ephesians 1:3-4).
When I say I love you, I tell her, “ I choose her above all else and everyone.”
I am committed to you.
The promise of Genesis 3:15. as Derek Thomas observed. Leave no doubt, “No one reading the Bible can miss the connecting threads: God is doing something in the history of Israel that has its genesis in a promise given in Eden. God committed to Adam and Eve that she would bear a redeemer. God would provide a way of escape (I Corinthians 10:13). Paul tells us, “While we were sinners, Christ died for us. Jesus promised, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).
When I tell my wife, “I love you,” I tell her you can count on me. I am committed to you. I ware this ring that says to the rest of the world, “I am committed; don’t mess with me.”
I delight in you!
The Psalmist captures the sentiment of God that permeates the Scripture. “For the Lord takes delight in his people” (Psalm 149:4). The other morning at breakfast, I turned and focused on Pam. She said, “What?” I said, “I am delighting you in. You are my companion, my lover, my coworker, my co-parent, my joy….” After almost 61 years, she is the delight of my life. Of course, I frustrate her sometimes, and she me, but those are quickly covered with love.
God tells us that He loves us frequently. We do well to follow that example. A study I read sometime back, probably from John Gottman, a study that indicated it takes five positive affirmations to overcome one negative interaction. That is probably good human research, but we should already know that if we read the Scriptures.
Remember your wedding vows. Review them. Remind yourself that you chose your spouse, committed to your spouse, and as you did then, so now, delight yourself in your spouse. Remember, this was your vow to God and your vow to your spouse. Tell your spouse, I love you, multiple times daily.