Is love supposed to act tough; or is love supposed to be tough enough to endure impossible situations?
Lest, after reading yesterday’s post, you think that I have already made up my mind, and strongly disagree with the principle of tough love in marriage, today and tomorrow I will present the other side of the issue. I have pondered and prayed about this. I don’t want to mislead anyone. I do not want to harden anyone’s heart toward their spouse or dash their hopes of a rescued marriage.
I wondered: are there Biblical examples of tough love? Looking for Biblical precedent is a hobby of mine. I love to scour the Old Testament to see if there’s a similar circumstance to the one I am facing. Nine times out of ten, there is. Faithful God leads by example. Sometimes through the example of his earlier children, and sometimes through His very person.
Consider the cross. Love has never accomplished a more excruciating feat. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only son, that who ever believes in Him might have everlasting life.” John 3:16
Because a perfect blood sacrifice was the only way to pay the cost of forgiveness from sin, God willingly made that sacrifice Himself. In the name of Love, God slaughtered His only Son. Could the price have been any higher, or the pain any more insufferable? Could love have been any tougher?
Consider the prodigal son. A young, belligerent son scorned his generous father. With a callous shrug, he demanded his inheritance, virtually spit in his father’s face and walked out the door. How long did it take the mutinous boy to squander his money and end up dining on pig slop? What did the father endure in that time? One thing is for sure, he loved his son.
When the broken, humiliated rogue stumbled up the road toward his father’s home, he only hoped to be accepted as a servant. But tough love, love that withstood abandonment and rejection ran to meet him. Strong love.
Is tough love appropriate in marriage? At least in this context it is. It must be. Love must be strong enough to bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, endure all things. 1 Corinthians 13:7