This past weekend, Valentine’s Day came and went. It is the most romantic holiday of the year: chocolates, flowers, cards, romantic dinners…everything that our culture deems representative of love.
But here’s the question. Does love really mean chocolate, flowers, hearts, and the flurry of wonderful feelings that come around this time of year?
And here’s another question. Why do so many couples today get divorced?
Love: It Feels Good and It’s About Me
The problem with the culture today is that everyone’s view of what love is has been skewed by the media. Movies and TV shows idealize love and romance as something “perfect”, something that feels good all of the time, something in which the other person gives you everything you could ever ask for.
Everyone expects love to be constant butterflies, happiness, and a feeling of euphoria, and when that feeling disappears, the immediate assumption is that “I guess I don’t love them anymore”.
Everyone expects someone who loves them to be perfect, act perfect, and always treat them perfectly. So when they mess up, the immediate assumption is that “I guess they don’t love me anymore”.
And we wonder why so many marriages end so unhappily.
True Love Is Not a Feeling
True love is not only a feeling. Yes, love is a way you feel toward someone. But true love means loving someone even when they don’t deserve it, even when you don’t feel anything but annoyance toward them.
Let’s look at 1 Corinthians 13.
Love is patient and kind;
Even when someone you love is annoying you, you treat them with kindness and patience.
love does not envy or boast;
Your focus is on their successes, their achievements, and you rejoice with them rather than being jealous of them.
it is not arrogant or rude.
You treat the one you love with politeness and respect even when you think they do not deserve it.
It does not insist on its own way;
You put the needs of the other person first.
it is not irritable or resentful;
Kindness always takes first priority in your interactions with them.
it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.
You always want to help them strive to do right in their life.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.
You put up with all of the little annoyances and forgive the big grievances; you will never give up on them, no matter what.
This is the beautiful example of love that is set out for us in the life of Jesus and in God’s love for us. It is the wonderful love that we are to strive for in all of our relationships every day.
Love can feel wonderful; it can mean chocolate and roses and happily-ever-afters. But true love doesn’t just stick around during the wonderful times. True love fights through every obstacle, every mistake, and works hard to keep a relationship alive.
We may not be in serious romantic relationships yet, but as teens we should be practicing this kind of life-giving, groundbreaking love with our families, friends, and everyone around us, so that one day we will be ready to give this kind of selfless love to our husband or wife.
This may seem overwhelming or even impossible, but it doesn’t have to be! With prayer, God is changing each of us into this kind of selfless, loving person that can change the world.
♥ love, grace ♥