“You have left the love you had in the beginning. So remember where you were before you fell. Change your hearts and do what you did at first.” (Revelation 2:4-5 NCV)
At first glance you may not think the book of Revelation — with its images of beasts, lambs, and angels — has anything to do with romance and the kind of affection needed to sustain a growing marriage.
But it does.
In Revelation 2:4-5, Jesus uses an analogy from romantic love to describe the relationship of a church that had gone astray. Jesus said to the church of Laodicea: “You have left the love you had in the beginning. So remember where you were before you fell. Change your hearts and do what you did at first”
He tells us to do four things that are important when recapturing our marriage: remember, return, repent, and repeat.
- Remember. Think about what you did in your first days together that made you fall in love in the first place. Think about the happy days. Stop thinking about all the problems you have now, and remember how your love began.
- Return. Return your focus to God. Your focus is likely on everything but God. It’s likely on your problems, your pressures, your stresses, and your career. But if you want to return to your first love, you need to turn your attention back to God.
- Repent. Choose to change how you think and act. Love isn’t a feeling, but it creates feelings — sometimes enormous feelings. But love is a choice. It’s a commitment to put someone else’s best interest over your own. Anything other than that isn’t love. God couldn’t command it if it were a feeling. Yet God commands us over and over in his Word to choose to love others (including our spouses). When you make a choice to love your spouse as Jesus would when you haven’t been doing so, that’s called repentance.
- Do what you did at first. Do what you did when you first fell in love. Feelings always follow actions. It’s easier to act your way into a feeling than to feel your way into an action. If you wait to feel affectionate and romantic, the devil will make sure you never feel it. So you choose to act in a loving way, and the feelings will come back.
The kind of affection that leads to a lasting relationship tends to seep out of marriages. It’s almost inevitable at some point. But how will you deal with it when it does?
The practice of “remember, return, repent, and repeat” should be continual in any marriage.