Relentless Love

Whenever the Colson Center publishes something I write I provide a link to it from this blog. But more than just linking to it, I also like to write some of the "back story" here: to reveal some of my own thoughts and feelings that went into the article, which you won't get just from the article itself.

Recently the Colson Center has offered a lot of content on the subject of marriage, so I set out to write on that topic. That was an easy decision to make because I just preached a sermon (audio mp3 here) on that topic, so I had done some study already. Seemed an easy enough task.

But I've found that nothing is ever just "easy" when I really start thinking about God's words. I started my study, naturally enough, in Ephesians 5:22-33 which is probably one of the best known New Testament passages on marriage. I noticed, as I have previously, how effortlessly Paul moves between talking about the husband/wife relationship and the Christ/church relationship. In fact he doesn't really move between them as much as he blends them together. The point is, the main purpose of marriage is to reflect God's love for us.

Then I really started thinking about that. I mean really thinking.

What kind of love is God's love? It is fierce love, love that never quits. It is love that jealous of the beloved, and it tolerates no rivals. It is love that persists long after the beloved has ceased to deserve it. It is relentless love.

And this is the love my marriage is supposed to put on display for the world. Fierce, persisting, devoted. Relentless.

As I let that sink in I found my thoughts drifting to Hosea, that sad and pained prophet. God gave him the unenviable job of not only speaking his message, but living it via his marriage. God told Hosea to marry a prostitute so that we would know how God feels about our faithlessness. And to show us what relentless love looks like.

Many of us have very different circumstances from those God appointed for Hosea. But still, I started wondering how relentless my love is for my own wife. She has been the most dedicated companion I could have hoped for, and together we've faced our share of difficulties. From chronic health challenges to special needs to unfulfilled plans and desires, our path through life thus far has been different than what we thought it would be. Isn't everyone's?

But writing this article helped remind me of the larger reality of our marriage, and that perspective puts the "daily grind" of life in a different light. In the end it isn't about our plans, our pains, or our prosperity. It is about love. Not our love for one another, but God's love for us. It is about Relentless Love.


Crown of Beauty said...

When it comes to talking about marriage, I will always have great admiration for a man who loves his wife unconditionally.

I know this sounds too good to be true, but I was married to one such man.

And I know for men, it isn't easy. The marriage is often easier for the woman, but not for the man. When God says that a husband is to love his wife in the same way that Christ loves the Church, that is something out of this world where selfishness and self focus is the norm.

When dreams and plans are not happening, and many unexpected things are happening, and yet the man still loves his wife "unconditionally", looking to Jesus to complete what the wife or the marriage cannot... then it is a picture to the world of how Jesus loves the church.

There are definitely many things I do not know about you and Amy, but I thank God in my heart for one more couple in America who is willing to let their marriage be a reflection of the heart of God.

And believe me, having been married to a most selfless man for 30 years, I know what I am talking about. I know it is bad blog manners to request someone to read something one has written, but I will overlook that anyway I am sure you know my real intentions is not to draw attention to myself, but just to let you in on the kind of husband Ernie was to me. If you have a bit of time, please read
"Given Wings" at

This was the letter I wrote my husband on our 30th wedding anniversary which we celebrated while we were living in Chiang Mai Thailand. Little did I know that it was our last year together. A few months later, my husband went home to heaven. He is my greatest loss, but as people often say, my loss is heaven's gain. That thought alone has been a source of comfort during my season of grief.

I love this post you did, and I agree with everything you said. Thank you for modeling in your life the love of Jesus for His church, and above all, for walking your talk.


Aaron said...

First of all, Matt, awesome 'stache in your wedding photo! I'm glad you went with the full goat', though. :-)

I'm so grateful for your thoughts (which redirect to God's thoughts) on marriage. It has helped me help others struggling in their marriages, and also given me more passion in my own marriage. Simply thinking about God's pursuit of His people over time, culminating with His death and resurrection, and leading toward the ultimate and eternal redemption once for all... just thinking about this fills my heart will humility and overflowing joy. How great He loves! And His love, in turn, spurs me on to love others and love my wife in the same way. We truly serve an incredible God!

"What kind of love is God's love? It is fierce love, love that never quits. It is love that jealous of the beloved, and it tolerates no rivals. It is love that persists long after the beloved has ceased to deserve it. It is relentless love."

What an abomination it is to reduce marriage down to just "a relationship!"

Amy Guerino said...

Dearest Matthew,
I can see why you didn't want me looking over your shoulder last night when you were putting in the "back story" to your article. However, you should consider getting my permission as to which photos you put up here.

You do love me with a relentless love and I have truly felt it these last weeks. You have a full plate in front of you for the next month but you aren't disengaging with me or the home issues (and it is easy to do in times of added stress). I can't tell you how much that has meant to me. We struggled with this last fall when too many things piled up and I was doing the home front while you were doing the work front. You eventually saw the disconnectedness and wrote me a tender letter mid way that spoke of your desire to do life together...all of life. I keep that letter in my Face to Face book on prayer as I'm praying for you and for us this summer. I love you!

Matt Guerino said...


Your "bad blog manners" are more than forgiven! There are those who use others' blogs just to drive traffic to theirs, but then there are those who speak truthfully and honestly with their blogs and merely offer themselves to others. I think you're in the latter category which is partly why I have your blog advertised in my sidebar.

I had to wait until my lunch break to read the post you linked to so that I could give it my full attention. The letter you wrote Erie is an amazing expression of how you personally flourished in your 30 years together because of him. I am sorry I'll have to wait until eternity to shake his hand and get to know him as a brother, but he is now on my ever-growing list of people I look forward to spending eternity getting to know. Thank God, we'll have all eternity to do it.

Matt Guerino said...


Dig the 'stache bro. :) I had that ever since it was peach fuzz in Jr. High! I just went with the full goatee a year or two before coming to Harvest, and I like it better.

I really appreciate knowing how helpful the message and article have been to you, especially since you're in a position to help numerous people in a deep way.

Matt Guerino said...

My dear bride,

Two things: first off you look stunning no matter what picture is posted! Second, we don't have enough pictures of just the two of us! It's always one of us taking a picture of the other, either with or without the kids. We need more couple shots! Funny thing is I'm wearing the same shirt in two photos that were taken at completely different times and places. :)

I had forgotten that letter I wrote you, but I'm glad you reminded me of it. Your dedication to our marriage makes sacrificial love much easier to provide, and I feel like the "us-ness" is what has helped smooth out so many of the bumps on life's road these past 15 years. I wouldn't trade you for anything.

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