What is Love?
“Love is a choice of the will, not a servant to the emotions.”
Many of us are familiar with I Corinthians 13, the apostle Paul’s love chapter.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends.I Corinthians 13:4-8a
These are great tests for how I’m loving my husband, my family, friends and neighbors. And those with whom I disagree!
Do I want the best for my partner, or only those lovely things he does for me?
Do I insist on my own way, and become resentful when I don’t get it?
When my husband (or wife) is discouraged, how can I come alongside to encourage and strengthen him (her) with hope?
Where do I most need patience, kindness, goodness in my relationships?
What difference does it make if I show Christ-like love when my partner or friend doesn’t?
I’m happily ensconced in my second marriage, having lost one spouse to death. HARD? No words for it! Don’t waste your moments together!
But in both marriages to men I love(d) deeply, there were times when I didn’t like them very much. Didn’t feel particularly attracted to them. No soft, snuggly warmth. More like this worn-down barn.
So what can you or I do when that is the case?
Remember that love is a choice. And its accompanying feelings cycle. At times attraction and warm, fuzzy feelings peak and we’re crazy in love with the other person. At other times something they do, which may be quite minor, tips the scales and we want to correct them, stop them, express our anger or frustration.
Love is a choice. If we wait patiently, the cycle will again change. Godly love, the kind spoken of in I Corinthians 13, chooses to upbuild and uplift the other even when circumstances are less than ideal. 2020 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year, Russell Wilson, paraphrased his father’s instruction to him…
“To the young boy or girl who has a dream, who wants to make a difference. Remember this one thing: love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love changes things.”https://www.christianpost.com/news/russell-wilson-named-nfl-man-of-the-year-quotes-1-corinthians.html
I think of husbands who love their disabled wives, care for them, help meet their needs with understanding hearts. I read about a man who visited his wife in the Alzheimer’s Unit of a care center every day. She didn’t recognize him any more. Because of a stroke, her lip drooped on one side. Every day her husband would do his best to match the curve of her lip as he kissed her, then served her in any way he could.
I’m grateful for wives who encourage husbands who are discouraged and unsure which direction to go.
I thank God for the partners who commit to the long road of rebuilding a marriage after trust has been broken by infidelity.
And for those who, through good days and bad, support, pray for and encourage their mates.
That’s the kind of lover and friend I want to be.
My husband shows his love for me consistently and in many ways–on a cold morning he’ll start my car so it warms up before I have to leave for an appointment.
He makes breakfast every day to free me to write in the mornings.
We hug and encourage each other when one of us is discouraged, down.
We pray together for our families, friends, our nation.
And I am blessed in his love and, from what he tells me, he is in mine.
But think about the people around you who may be lonely–either married or single–but not experiencing the love and true partnership of either a spouse or a family member. What can you and I do today, this week, to reach out and extend love to someone near who may look like all is well, but inside is not?
I’m going to call my single neighbor right now.