This weekend my husband and I attended a marriage conference led by Paul David Tripp. I highly recommend reading ANY of his books, and wow, he has a LOT. His teaching is refreshing and simple and yet so profound. Plus, the guy has good style for a 66-year-old man. #justsayin

He talked about the human heart. “What controls your heart will control your behavior” and “the things you treasure will control your heart.” Us humans have heart problems and treasure problems.

I both liked and disliked his definition of the the word love.

Love is willing self-sacrifice, for the good of another, that does not demand reciprocation or that the person being loved is deserving.

Yowza. Tough stuff, right?!

So the hubs and I are going on 16 years of marriage this fall. We have a lot of undoing and learning and redoing and growing, but we’ll keep pressing onward and upward. It’s by the grace of God where we even are today.

I’m thankful to serve a God who gives us the ability to LOVE like him, to find JOY in Him, to have PEACE through Him, to learn PATIENCE, to show KINDNESS, to share His GOODNESS, to live in FAITHFULNESS, to learn the art of GENTLENESS and to discover what it means to have SELF-CONTROL.

I’ll never do any of those things above perfectly. Remember, like you, I have heart problems + I’m not talking about my own strength up there, but God’s.

It takes dependence on him to walk humbly (not perfectly) through any of those things. Daily dependence! Daily turning to God! Daily asking for the strength given ONLY by Him to love as He loves. Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s hard. His mercies are new every morning!

The fruits of the spirit can only be found through God, Christ and the Holy Spirit. Our humanness can only get us so far, especially in marriage. I know this to be true for myself as I can quickly become unloving and negative, argumentative, impatient, rude and critical, uncaring and harsh; all things that stem from selfishness.

All this to say, I am thankful for God’s grace in my marriage today. And to encourage YOU to show your spouse grace today! Give yourself grace too!

Let God teach you how to love well. I’m working on doing the same.