The world uses the word love a lot, but tends to fall into certain destructive patterns in their pursuit of it. One kind of love is conditional on the front end—“I will love you if . . .” Another is conditional after the fact—“I love you because . . .” I will love you in the future if you perform adequately, or I love you because of your past accomplishments. In these scenarios, the love is conditioned in some way on the behavior of the beloved.
This is not how God loved us. “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). As C.S. Lewis put it, “He loved us not because we were loveable, but because He is Love.” Considered from another angle, the right kind of love brings the loveliness. The kind of love that we are called to model within a Christian marriage is love that bestows loveliness.
On an earthly level, it is not sinful to respond to loveliness in the other, but that is not what we should want down at the bedrock foundation. We live in a sinful world, and every marriage is a wedding of two sinners. This means that we must have a firm understanding of the meaning of grace. Grace initiates in love, and grace forgives in love.
Seth, this is what you are called to do. Love your wife as Christ loved the church. Brooke, you have a similar high calling, and must respect the man that God has given to you.