In my early morning Facebook perusing I ran across the following gem from Kris Vallotton:
“Don’t marry the person you fall in love with. A fall is an accident, not an act of your will. If you fall once, chances are, you will fall again for someone else. A great marriage is never an accident; it’s a covenantal choice that two people make with each other for life. It’s only in the soil of this garden that true love can take root in the hearts of its companions. If you do fall in love you better make a covenant to grow in love because what began as an accident needs to be done on purpose.”
Over the past 6 months ago, I have gotten into countless conversations about love and what it looks like with others, particularly that which is romantic in nature. These conversations are dotted with literary reference and scripture, theory and experience. The thing I hold onto is this – love is not this knock off, Wal-Mart True Value brand ladden crap that we see and clamor for, particularly those of us in younger generations.
Now this is where I will likely be accused of being very black-and-white and I’m ok wiith that. Some things require interpretation through a grey lens and others do not. I’m not saying love is simple, in fact, I think its one of the most beautifully complex things in the world. Nor do I think love is objective. However, I do think that love adopts a universal framework.
A vintage American Heritage dictionary entry suggests that love is “a deep, tender, ineffable feeling of affection and solicitude toward a person, such as that arising from kinship, recognition of attractive qualities, or a sense of underlying oneness.”
I appreciate the 1 Corinthians 13 breakdown. Love is patient, kind, is not selfish, honest to the point of rejoicing with the truth, forgiving, celebratory instead of envious, it is not proud or haughty but adopts a position of humility. It is longsuffering, has faith in things, is hopeful and enduring. THEN John 3:16 (aka the worlds most famous scripture) shows me that love is giving, sacrificial and intentional. That sort of love is life giving and eternal; it does not fade.
A few years back, I fused these things together and came up with the following: Love is a deep, eternal feeling of affection that is based on some commonality or relationship and is demonstrated through service and the selfless giving of ourselves and what we cherish to others.
I think that love is much more than emotion, it is a living, active thing and scriptural interpretation lends to me saying its a person because God is love (1 John 4:8).
Love is not accidental; it is highly intentional and incredibly decisive.
Love is not something you “fall” into, it is something that takes root and grows stronger with care.
Love knows that when service is no longer possible, it may be time to transition out instead of letting a relationship suffer the effects of atrophy.
Love is active, it is not simply fancy or enamoring. When you love someone you invest in a them and consider their needs as if they were your own.
Whether it be wiping the snotty nose of your child;
Or listening to the same story for the 100th time because your grandmother wants to talk and has forgotten the 99 times you’ve heard this tale;
It may even be seen in you biting your tongue and not saying that terribly snarky thing to your partner that would win the argument but break their spirit.
Because love is patient.
It is kind.
It is all the decisions to actively care for another deeply woven together like the threads of a fine tapestry.
Love does not just come together by happenstance, it is something you put in work for.