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I could be wrong
A simple way to strengthen your marriage
Lefavi Bob
Rev. Dr. Bob LeFavi

Having spent some time trying to help couples who are struggling in their marriage, I have developed a habit of listening for much of the first few sessions. I answer questions posed to me, but I tend to not interject much.

There comes a time, however, where it is necessary to ask direct questions. Typically, my first question is something like, “John, do you love Jane?” The answer helps re-frame the conversation and brings clarity to agendas.

And here is the response that makes me cringe just a bit: “Yes, I love Jane, but…” Oh, there’s the “but.” Problem is, the “but” negates the “I love Jane.”

In love, there are no “when’s,” “if’s,” or “but’s.” Love is just there, never yielding, always present. Love, when it is true and genuine, will feel like it has no beginning, no ending; it just is. It is not a condition of the heart, a fleeting whim, changeable with our emotions.

Love becomes part of us. It changes us, the way we think, move, and talk. Love thrives in us.

To say, “I love you, but…” is saying, “I really do not love you.”

Leaving such conversations, I have often wondered if we all would have been there had there been moments when the spouses had said to each other, “I love you. I love you unequivocally, without conditions. I love you as if you were part of me. No expectations. No fear. I want nothing in return except that you allow me to love you more deeply every day. I need you, but I don’t love you because I need you; I need you because I love you.”

Have you said anything at all like that to someone lately?

Aristotle wrote, “Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.”

Mother Teresa said, “I have found the paradox, that is you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.”

And our Lord, Jesus Christ, said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, love one another.”

Have you acted like that lately? Try it, and watch what happens.

Rev. Dr. Bob LeFavi is a member of the Society of Ordained Scientists and the pastor of Bethel Lutheran Church.