I have been challenged to define love several times over the past few weeks. There’s lots of information about love out there:
- “Love is never having to say you’re sorry.”
- “Love is a many splendored thing!”
- “Love isn’t love until you give it away.”
- “Love will find a way.”
- “You can’t buy love.”
- “Love is friendship caught fire.”
- “Love is when the other person’s happiness is more important than your own.”
- “Love makes the world go round.”
- “Love is like the wind, you can’t see it but you can feel it. “
- “Love is a canvas furnished by Nature and embroidered by imagination.
and my personal favorite. . .
- “Your love completes me!”
The question that comes to my mind over and over is this: Is love an emotion or is love an action? When we are discussing love, we are usually talking about the “feelings” that are described as love. You know those tingly feelings. It’s all bubbly and exciting. The world is beautiful as long as you can be around the one that is the object of your love. We LOVE being IN-LOVE! Many relationships are based on the feelings of love. So, what happens when the feelings calm down and reality takes a toll on all the bubbly excitement? There appear to be 2 choices:
- Decide to move on since you have ‘fallen out of love’ and you are no longer happy.
- Recognize that love is an action and made the decision to show love to your partner is every way, regardless of how I feel in the moment.
How many couples have moved-in together because they were just so “in-love” only to see things fall apart since there was no real commitment to stay together? The fun ends and the exit sign lights up when it becomes too difficult to stick around.
How many marriages fail because at least one of the people involved is “not happy” and decides to look for happiness elsewhere? We hear “You deserve to be happy” or “You only live once, so be happy!”
Love is not an easy choice. I love my children. I love my husband even when he drives me nuts with some of his preferences. I love my siblings and my parents. I would give my life for any of them. That doesn’t mean that I always like them or their decisions.(And just for the record, I can say anything I want about my husband, children, siblings or other family members. But, you better not criticize or demean any of them or I WILL come after you!) I choose to love through the hard spots, through the disappointments, through the struggles. My heart breaks when I see any of the people that I love in pain. I’m concerned when the choices being made aren’t the best and I offer advise even when it’s not wanted. I stick it out because I have chosen to make love a verb.
I have friends that get really turned off and even a little offended when I use the Bible to support my points. However, there are several verses about love that anyone can put into practice, Christian or not.
‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’
‘Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.’
‘Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything.’
One of the best known and most quoted scriptures on love is found in 1 Corinthians 13. I’ve taken verses 4-7 from the Message and made them very personal by inserting my own name in place of love:
Melissa never gives up.
Melissa cares more for others than for herself.
Melissa doesn’t want what she doesn’t have.
Melissa doesn’t strut, doesn’t have a swelled head,
doesn’t force herself on others, isn’t always “me first,”
Melissa doesn’t fly off the handle, doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
doesn’t revel when others grovel, takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Melissa puts up with anything, trusts God always,
always looks for the best,
Melissa never looks back, but keeps going to the end.
Are these truth’s about my life? Not always. But, these are the ideals I want in my life. In relationships, we need to make this list personal and to work toward loving others unconditionally. And that may mean, not complaining about the person that I say I love to someone else. It means that I forgive and FORGET offenses. It means that I stop manipulating the people I love and let them grow and love in their own way. It means I have to be patient and content with my life and stop working to “keep up with the Jones”. It means that keeping the spotlight on myself isn’t really success.
What’s your definition of love? Go ahead, define it for yourself.