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What Real Love Is

Can you say "I'm committed to you, no matter what"?
By Barbara Rainey

I remember when I first realized that Dennis was not like my father.

My dad was an all-American "Mr. Fix-it." He was vice president in charge of maintenance at a large steel plant, and at home he could do anything. He loved working around the house and the yard—making repairs, painting, tinkering on the car.

Dennis, on the other hand, had the motto that "if you can't fix something with baling wire and duct tape, you should throw it away and get a new one." He disliked working around the house, preferring to spend his spare time watching sports on television.

I remember those early days in our marriage. Dennis would be plopped in his easy chair in front of the television, and I would circle him like a vulture, trying to give him a gentle hint of how I felt he could better use his time.

Dennis and I have come a long way in our years of marriage. He's still not Mr. Fix-it, but he tries. And somewhere along the way he developed an enjoyment of gardening so he could spend time with me.

Meanwhile, I've learned an crucial lesson—the importance of loving my husband unconditionally. I need to receive Dennis as a gift from God, in spite of any weaknesses and flaws. And I need to remember that God is working in his life.

In our first month of marriage, Dennis took the initiative to make a small financial investment, and we ended up losing money. As we talked it over, and I shared my disappointment, it was obvious Dennis knew he had made a poor choice.

At that point I faced a choice of my own: Would I accept him as my husband, or would I nag him and make him feel like a further failure?

I realized that God had a plan for Dennis. He wanted to use this mistake to teach Dennis how to become dependent on Christ and be a better husband. I needed to get out of God's way and let Him work in my husband's life.

At times like this, a wife learns that love is not all feelings. This is where you honor your wedding vows and say, "I'm committed to you, no matter what."

That's what real love is. And that's what a husband needs!


Copyright © 2012 by FamilyLife.  All rights reserved.

Meet the Author: Barbara Rainey

Barbara Rainey is a wife, mother of six adult children (plus three sons-in-law and two daughters-in-law), and "Mimi" to nineteen grandchildren.

After graduating from the University of Arkansas with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history, Barbara joined the staff of Campus Crusade for Christ in 1971. She and her husband, Dennis, whom she married in 1972, are co-founders of FamilyLife, a ministry of Cru that is headquartered in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Barbara has published articles on family-related topics and is the author of Thanksgiving: A Time to Remember and When Christmas Came.  She speaks at FamilyLife's Weekend to Remember® marriage conferences and is a frequent guest on FamilyLife Today®, a nationally syndicated, daily radio program.  She and Dennis are the coauthors of several books, including Growing a Spiritually Strong Family, Starting Your Marriage Right, Moments Together for Couples, The New Building Your Mate's Self-Esteem, Parenting Today's Adolescent, Rekindling the Romance, and Moments with You. She co-authored A Mother's Legacy with her daughter, Ashley Rainey Escue and joined Dennis and their children Rebecca and Samuel on the book So You're About To Be A Teenager. Barbara has also co-authored Barbara and Susan's Guide to the Empty Nest, with close friend Susan Yates, and A Symphony in the Dark, written with her daughter, Rebecca Rainey Mutz. And Barbara has written a series focusing on character traits for families, including the titles Growing Together in Gratitude, Growing Together in Courage, Growing Together in Forgiveness, and Growing Together in Truth.

Having faithfully served alongside Dennis for more than 30 years, both in ministry and at home, Barbara has recently launched a new endeavor called Ever Thine Home™.  This new line of products, including Christ centered ornaments for Christmas, teaching tools for Lent and Easter, and beautiful additions for your home for thanksgiving and year round makes it easy to express faith at home in a way that is both biblical and beautiful.  Her heart for Ever Thine Home is based on the familiar Old Testament instruction:

"And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates." (Deuteronomy 6:9, ESV)

You can read more about Barbara's work at

Find Barbara online on:
Twitter @BarbaraRainey and Facebook



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