There are so many ideas floating around about love. Singers, painters, and writers through out the ages have tried to describe somehow what exactly love is, yet have failed to show its fullness.
What is love?
Is love a feeling you get when you see a pretty girl in your class?
Is love an overwhelming rush of blood in an intimate moment?
Is love jumping in front of a bullet for someone?
Is love being attracted to someone?
Is love sacrifice?
Is love some of these?
Is love all of these?
Over there years I have heard a lot about this topic. There are so many different beliefs, opinions, fears, and biases it's hard to distinguish what the truth is about...love. You would think the most spoken about topic in the history of the world would be the most understood. It is almost the opposite... Some, at the age of 13, say with absolute certainty that they will never be loved for reasons that seem ridiculous. Others end up saying they found their true love multiple different times during their life. So what is really true about love?
As a christian...I believe what the Bible says about love.
"Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things." - I Corinthians 13:4-7 (NKJV)
Being in a serious relationship myself, I agree with this scripture, especially because my own of experience. I can personally say that every one of the characteristics of true love listed above is a requirement in a healthy relationship.
Love Suffers Long and is Kind
There have been many times in my relationship where it just gets tiring. You have a headache, you had a bad day, and you don't really know how to comfort someone you love. This is when it is really important to stay in the game. Its easy to love someone when everything is going well, but when you are on your last string, your true love comes out. It is in those circumstances that our deepest love is seen and our kindness is the most heartfelt.
Love Does not Envy
When you are with the one you love, you end up seeing all the opportunities, talents, and possessions that they have, and it's easy to think, "They have everything going for them, I don't see what they have to complain about." This can start a process of jealousy and self pity. No matter who you are and what kind of relationship you are in, it is necessary to be content with your own standing. If you go down that road of envy it will lead to backbiting, subversive competition, and bitterness. It is so important to focus on improving yourself and loving the other person, even if certain things may seem better for them.
Love is not Puffed Up
Over time in relationship a deadly process creeps in....the process of gloating and tearing down one another. Everyone at some point in time has bragged so much over something that they just knew they had hurt their friend's feelings...our job is not to corrode away someones being, our job is to help, support and encourage. It is so easy to make biting remarks about superiority and in the process we only end up distancing the relationship and straining the love. Love was never meant to be a competition. Love was meant to be a partnership. As men and women we MUST focus on humility and building each other up no matter how much it may seem against everything we feel at the moment.
Love Does not Seek its Own
When you just enter a relationship with someone, you are ALL about them: buying roses, taking them out to eat, hugging them all the time, calling them, and serving them in any way you can. If any of you have been with someone for a long time, you know that this does not come so easily as time progresses. When you have seen the best and worst of someone for 10 years, it is not so easy to serve them and love them. As time goes on, your focus slowly changes from them, right back to yourself. I've been there myself and let me tell you guys, it is a miserable place to be. If we TRULY love the other person our goal must be to serve them and help them, even if it means sacrificing our time, money, and pride.
Love Endures All Things
We have all been in public and seen a elderly couple feebly holding hands It is hard to see those kind of people and not respect their love that has lasted the the corrosion of time. You can only wonder how many fights, tears, and pain they must have gone through, yet you look at them and their love remains strong as if they had just fallen in love 6 months ago. The key to a loving, long relationship is patience and endurance. When we love someone it is a requirement of us to overlook problems with the other person and just endure hardship. Disagreements, fights, and contention should never interfere with the deep love that connects the two.
No matter who we are, if we match ourselves up with these characteristics of true love, we fall short. I myself work every day of my life trying to love my girl better in every way, and it is a battle. But it is so worth it. Love is not about looks. Love is not about feelings, because they come and go. Love is about sacrifice, perseverance, service, and a burning flame of passion that never grows dim. No matter who you are, where you are from, or what you believe, love for others is one thing that will hold us together and direct us to a higher goal.