Endless — for the time being — love

In 1981, Lionel Richie and Diana Ross released a beautiful, heart-touching song called “Endless Love.” This song has been sung at many weddings and dances for almost 40 years. In their personal lives, endless love hasn’t happened yet for either Lionel or Diana. Lionel Richie married his college sweetheart. After one child and 10 years of marriage he began an ongoing affair with another lady which eventually ended his marriage. He married the lady he had an affair with and they had two children together and that marriage ended after eight years. Diana Ross has five children with three different men. She was married to two of them. Marriage No. 1 was for six years and marriage No. 2 was 14 years.

Is endless love a reality or a myth? Is it possible for people who fall in love to stay in love and stay together for good? And not just stay together, but to actually stay in love? I would answer that it is possible, but not probable.

Staying in love is more difficult today than ever before. Our culture has a really low threshold of relational pain. Many people in our society have been hurt in the past. They live with ongoing emotional and relational pain, so they have a very low threshold for additional pain. Our culture teaches us the solution to pain is to move on, and to move on quickly. We see that in our commitment to our jobs, our churches, our activities, etc. The day seems to be gone where “I do” means I am going to keep doing whether I feel like it or not, whether I like it or not, whether she or he likes it or not.    

We worship happiness in our culture. If you aren’t happy, change something externally. Change jobs, change spouses, change phone providers, change something for goodness sakes because you deserve to be happy. The message you and I get every day is if you are not happy in a relationship, it’s because you are with the wrong person. You chose poorly. So, don’t be miserable, do a re-boot. If you keep looking, you will eventually find your soul-mate. We worship options in our society; keep your options open. Let’s be honest, isn’t that why so many people live together before marriage (to keep their options open for as long as possible)?

I personally don’t know anyone who has been married more than 20 years who at points in their marriage didn’t wonder if they had the right person. But, they made a key decision. They decided that the person they were with was the right person and what they had to work on was being the right person.  

In John 13:34 Jesus gives us a command that is the foundation for every healthy relationship: A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.    

This new command is unprecedented and extraordinary. Love must be a action verb, not a noun or an adjective. Love isn’t like a bed or a car that we jump or fall in and out of. Don’t take your cue primarily from culture, your parents or your pastor. Jesus said take your cue from me. Jesus loved intentionally not accidentally; sacrificially not selfishly.

God bless you.

Hauser is founding and senior pastor, Prairie Heights of Fargo Moorhead. Email jon@prairieheights.com.