Nouns without verbs lose their meaning. Love without action is just a word. How can we best act out love in our marriages and lives?
A recent unexpected conversation taught me three timeless truths about love, family, and marriage. They’ve dramatically helped me, and I hope they do the same for you.
New friend, timeless wisdom
A few weeks ago, I had the joy of meeting Jon Weece. He was introduced to me by a dear friend and colleague, Chad Cannon, who spoke very highly of him. Jon just wrote a book titled “Jesus Prom“; the title alone piqued my curiosity.
What in the world could this book be about? I started picturing scenes from the 90s teen movie, “She’s All That” where Freddie Prinze Jr. scuffles about repairing the high school prom drama he instigated.
I figured there had to be more to the book so I asked Chad if I could interview Jon; he introduced us. Jon and I spoke on the phone for an hour. He would never say this or demand this sort of recognition, but it was a great honor to have the time with him that I did. Jon is truly a servant of Jesus, and a brother I’m thankful to know.
Here’s what I learned from Jon, which speaks to his heart and foreshadows what he presents in Jesus Prom:
3 Timeless Truths about Love, Family, & Marriage
1: Without the verbs of love, the noun marriage loses it’s meaning
Without verbs – or actions – the noun like marriage carries very little meaning. What is marriage without love? And what is love without action behind it? Without action, love is just word and marriage is just a contract.
Here are some good verbs to have in your marriage? Let’s start with these: serving, forgiving, caring, sharing, giving, sacrificing, honoring, and respecting.
Christ showed us these actions as he was the expression of God’s love; and when we emulate Christ, we honor God. This is the ultimate purpose of marriage: to honor and glorify God.
That said, beware. Over time, if we’re not careful, we begin to replace verbs that matter with verbs that don’t matter as much. Serving each other, and serving others through our marriage is one way we can stave off this verb hijacking.
Indeed, service is an irreplaceable component of Christian love. Look at Mark 10:45, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
2: Service is the best way to love in and through your marriage
As we practice the verbs of marriage–namely, service–we’ll inevitably be refilled and refueled with love. Service has a way of multiplying Christ-like love.
Jon noted, “We see this attitude of service in Christ through Philippians 2:4-7 where it reads, ‘[Christ] did not consider equality with God something to be grasped.’ He took the form of a servant. In most relationships we grasp for equality or the upper hand. Take equality off the table. That’s serving your spouse.”
He added, “There’s something about serving other people that helps us serve our spouse. Make a radical commitment to serve others like Christ, and it will have a radical impact on your marriage.”
But what if my marriage is falling apart?
I specifically asked Jon what advice he’d give for spouses who are fighting for their marriages and feel like they’re losing. Does this ideal work for struggling marriages too?
As a pastor who’s walked through hard times with many married couples, he added some timely wisdom, “Start by serving your spouse. If you have a spouse who is disengaged, serve them. Look at the foot-washing example of Jesus – he didn’t exclude Judas (betrayal was there.. but Jesus still did it). This is your model as a spouse.”
Jon added, “Don’t focus on anyone else, just serve your spouse with the love of Christ.”
3: The importance of rhythms in marriage & family
Rhythms help intentionally build closeness with your spouse and your family. As Selena and I have realized, we build closeness in two primary ways: 1) through intimacy (emotional, physical, and and spiritual), and 2) through partnering in the good fight – a.k.a. serving God.
Jon lives an understandably busy life (as a pastor of a large church – 14k members), but they still reserve 3-4 evenings a week for sit-down dinners together, where, as Jon puts it, they’re “putting feet under the same table“. This creates an intentional pattern for closeness in their household. Every week, 3-4 dinners together at least, few exceptions.
Aside from family dinners, Jon and Allison reserve Friday nights as the special night they open their home to anyone and everyone God puts in their path throughout the week. For instance, as they interact with people and the Holy Spirit leads, they’ll invite them into their home. As Jon would say, “it creates a culture of service and hospitality in the family, and provides a venue for loving others through service.”
“We have Saturday and Sunday together as a family. But Friday is time to open up our home to others.”
Jon and his family also have rhythms for vacation. Each year, they alternate vacations and mission trips to establish a rhythm of sabbath and service. Jon says, “You need time away where you’re unplugged, and you also need time where you’re uncomfortable. We set aside money every year for a good vacation, then missions, then vacation. That way, the kids get a healthy diet of having a good time and getting their hands dirty.”
More about Jesus Prom and Jon Weece
Everything I’ve covered here came from my conversation with Jon, and many of the ideas stem from his work in his new book Jesus Prom. For that reason, I definitely encourage you to pick it up – today if possible, since there’s a promotion that ends tomorrow.
About Jesus Prom
Jesus loves people. Wouldn’t it make sense that those who claim to love Jesus would love the same people Jesus loves?
Nouns need verbs, a requirement that’s more than just a grammatical truth; it’s a spiritual truth. The noun Christian and the noun church require action verbs to fulfill their purpose. That’s why Jesus invites Christians and churches everywhere to perform the greatest action of all: loving people.
Jesus Prom is an extravagant party that celebrates the very people Jesus died to love. You will laugh and cry as you move through the pages of this book, and by the end of it, you’ll want to join the dance.
You can purchase Jesus Prom here. There’s actually some free stuff you’ll get if you purchase before November 15, 2014 (Audio book, images, study guide, etc).
Jon Weece is married to Allison, and they have two children, Ava and Silas. For the past fourteen years he has been the ‘Lead Follower’ at Southland Christian Church—a community of fourteen thousand Jesus followers in Central Kentucky who love people in extravagant ways. Prior to moving to Lexington, Jon lived in Haiti for four years.