In this journey called life, I have seen many young couples purpose in their hearts to walk out their lives as one. Recently, God did an incredible work of biblical proportions to bring two young adults together from different parts of the world. I have invested a great deal in their relationship, and want to share my advice to the young lovers.

Dear Daniel and Ashley,

I have written you separately, and now I want to write you as one. You have spent a lifetime searching for what you have now found in each other: a soul mate. As you have matured, that longing to find someone who would validate your life has increased. Although God has given us our identity in Christ, He created us to have helpmates who would verify what He has already spoken.

I believe that singleness is a spiritual gift and neither one of you has it. But I want to ask you not to make emotions or feelings the basis of your love. That is where so many young couples start out wrong. Yes, love contains emotions, but they cannot form the foundation of your lives together. They are the weakest part of the human personality; so deceptive and, yet, so powerful. Your love must be grounded in two much more substantial things: the person of God and a biblical principle.

You are both mature enough to know that emotions rise and fall. I know it is hard to imagine right now, but there will be days when you won’t feel anything. After 35 years of marriage, I can tell you that those days of not feeling or experiencing the emotion of love are the days the enemy will work the hardest to take apart your relationship. Yes, there is one who wants to destroy what God puts together. That is why your love must be based on the unshakeable and eternal.

1 John 4:8 tells us that “God is love.” This means if you say, “I love Daniel,” Ashley, what you are actually saying is, “I GOD him.” Since the essence of love is God, in this case, “GOD” is a verb.

You see, I am not capable of loving my wife the way she needs to be loved. That is why I need God to pour Himself into my emptiness. The more He has of my life, the more I can love her as Christ loves the church. The love of God binds people together through the most difficult of days. When a couple learns to “God” together, their love becomes an incredible display of His life. In other words, my young friends, He must be the foundation for your love. Feelings may come and feelings may go, but God is always present.

You must also base your marriage upon a biblical principle. The one I have lived by for 35 years says, “I choose to bring the best out of my wife without expecting anything in return.” When you were small children, you used to send those notes that read “Do you like me?” Underneath were two little blocks, one marked “Yes” and the other one “No.” Underneath the blocks you wrote, “Check one.” Then, you waited with great anticipation for the note to come back with the right answer.

The sad news is that many of today’s marriages are based on that same childish view of love. The Bible says, “God so loved the world” . . . period. He didn’t say, “I will love you if you will love Me.” He loved, and then gave the most precious thing He had: His Son.

You must pledge deep in your hearts that you have chosen each other . . . period. Daniel, you must love Ashley without expecting anything in return. Ashley, you must do the same with Daniel. If you give to one another in order to receive, your love will prove to be a disappointment. Disappointments lead to a wandering heart, and a wandering heart marks the end of your relationship. I must confess that some days, walking this out isn’t easy, but you can do it if you have God at the center of your relationship. If you will begin your relationship with God as the love within you and purpose in your heart to live by the principle of giving without expecting in return, you’ll have a good start on building an exciting, fruitful relationship.

Next week, I want to help you know what Ashley’s needs are, Daniel. I also want to teach you what God’s Holy Word says about the way a man should treat a woman. If you learn and apply these principles, God will keep your marriage, and no man will be able to take it . . . apart.

Walker Moore is president of AweStar Ministries in Tulsa, P.O. Box 470265, Tulsa 74147, e-mail, phone 800/AWESTAR (293-7827.