A sole mate is someone who walks out with us (the “sole” of a shoe!) the biblical command to seek first the kingdom of God. This is all about © The most accurate definition of true love is found in John 15:13: “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”

This love isn’t based on feelings; it’s based on sacrifice. The Bible calls men to act like martyrs toward their wives, laying down their own lives on their wives’ behalf (Eph. 5:25). Titus says older women need to train younger women how to love their husbands (Titus 2:4). Need I point out, men and women, that these aresevere verses, to an extreme? Martyrdom on behalf of your wife? Being “trained” — actively studying and learning — how to love your husband? This is heavy stuff. Guys, you may feel infatuated now, but in agreeing to become a husband of one wife, you are agreeing to put her needs above your own for the rest of your life — regardless of what happens. Are you ready for that? And women, as soon as you say “I do,” you are committing before God and the community of faith to expend your best efforts helping, loving, and supporting this man. Infatuation fills your eyes with what you’re getting, but let the Bible fill your mind with what you’re committing to give.

These passages alone are enough to tell us that within marriage, love is not an emotion; it’s a policy and a commitment that we choose to keep in the harshest of circumstances. It’s something that can be learned and that we can grow in. Biblical love is not based on the worthiness of the person being loved — none of us deserves Christ’s sacrifice — but on the worthiness of the One who calls us to love: “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19).

Christian life is a journey toward love, growing in love, expanding in our ability to love, surrendering our hearts to love, increasingly becoming a person who is motivated by love. A “sole mate” appreciates that marriage is a partnership committed to the task of walking out the biblical mandate to always put love first. It’s not marked by the couple who displays the most emotion, with the biggest smiles on their faces, who can’t keep their hands off each other; but rather, the women or men who, through the duties and sacrifice of marriage, have trained themselves to love with God’s love. They walk out the gospel on a daily basis, forgiving, serving, and putting others first in the most ordinary issues of life in such a way that they see themselves in training for godliness. Such a couple will grow together, as surely as merely sentimental couples will grow apart.

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A biblical sole mate who walks in this truth, who daily travels God’s journey of sacrificial love, and who willingly goes “into training” for godliness is a far more stable foundation upon which to build a lifelong partnership than the thought of the philosopher Plato. “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13 NIV 2011). This may not sound like the most exciting or emotional love, but it is certainly the truest love. And it is the only kind of love that lasts.

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Adapted from the Sacred Search by Gary Thomas.
Copyright © 2013 Gary Thomas, Published by David C.
Cook, used with permission. All rights reserved.