If someone asked me to define the phrase, “a labor of love”, I would say it means hard work you do because you enjoy it not because you will receive praise or any compensation for it.
For me marriage is a labor of love. It takes hard work as well as continuous effort but I do it because I enjoy a happy marriage and the key to that for me other than God’s presence in our marriage is ensuring my husband’s happiness. I can not imagine what it would be like if I did not make any efforts to make him happy. It is not something I have to do but it is something I enjoy doing. For instance, I know my husband enjoys taking lunch to work rather than having to buy it. So it only makes sense for me to cook so that he has something to take to work. Do I always enjoy the act of cooking? No. But I enjoy providing him with lunch to take. See how that works?
Do you do what it takes to make your spouse happy? Do you put in the work? Envision what it would be like in a marriage if you focus on making your wife/husband happy and they focus on making you happy. It would be amazing. I am not saying your marriage will be perfect. Of course conflicts will still arise, no marriage is without them (if you do not know how to effectively resolve conflicts get some ideas here). But putting in the work and effort is a great start to having a more positive marriage.
Now the second part of this phrase is putting in the work not to receive praise for it. I do not expect my husband to go to work everyday sit at the table with his friends and smack and lick his lips after every bite talking about how good it is that his wife cooked for him. That would be ridiculous. The efforts we put in should not be done for praises. However, appreciation is always welcomed and should be expressed.
What are things you do as a labor of love? What do you enjoy doing for your spouse? Do you do it just for praise? Take time to reflect on the questions and ponder over your answers. If necessary make some changes and you may just be pleasantly surprised by the results.