Monday, May 15, 2017

What's Love Got to Do With It?

I have been thinking for the past few days about love. I always thought I understood what love is. This powerful word that we say so easily and so easily claim. I thought that I understood love, but recently I have questioned: what does love actually look like? What is love in action? What happens when I quit just saying the word and I start living a life of selfless love?

When I was single, I would try to gain the affections of some or another guy. My desire was not that they would let me love them, but that if I worked hard enough then they would love me back. It was a selfish desire, not a selfless one.

And the trend of my singleness, I believe, is common. We so easily get easily swayed into a selfish love without even realizing it. We do things to please the other person, hoping that it will in turn make them love us more. We serve our husband or wife in the name of love, but we are actually hoping to get something in return. It masks itself as true love, but really the motivation is for someone to love us back. 

This isn't necessarily a bad desire, that desire to be loved. It is innate in us. We all want to feel loved and we should all be loved. It is a desire, though, that is truthfully only fulfilled by accepting and relying fully upon God's love for us.

God's perfect love.

His love for us that is entirely selfless. He died for us while we spat at Him and hated Him. He created us, imperfect beings, and still loves us no matter how many times we reject Him, ignore Him, and scream at Him. God's perfect love is the only love that will satisfy that insatiable need in our souls to be loved.

But oh how quickly we ask our spouse to bear the burden of perfect love.

My husband will never make me feel perfectly loved, though he gets incredibly close. His love for me will always be imperfect, and if I am seeking to turn him into the perfect husband with a perfect love for me, I will always be disappointed. The love my soul seeks is never going to come from him. It can only come from my Savior.

That's another hard thing. When we have the earthly love of a husband or wife it is so easy to set God aside and convince ourselves that everything we ever needed should come from that person.

But that is not love. And that is not a fair thing to expect.

So how, then, do I love my husband well? What does that mean?

For me it means, changing my motivation. I should not love him for the love he can give me in return. I must love him because marriage is to be a portrait of God's love for us. I must love him without the motivation of what I will get in return. Because marriage isn't about what C can do for me, it is what I can do for him. It is loving him with a selfless love, asking nothing in return, giving forgiveness in abundance, and living in the peace that we can never fully fulfill each other but that we serve a God who can. And if we are both living that way, then the love that we feel will be incredible.

We all want to be loved, yes, but what if we stopped seeking that acceptance and started giving love first to everyone else around us? What a world that would be, where we would all chose to take care of each other first because we have been given the greatest love from our Father.

We love because HE first loved us. 

Gosh it is hard to do. It is hard to be selfless. It is hard to give up the habit of seeking love instead of serving it on a nice big joyful platter. My husband is incredible at the selfless love thing and I am a work in progress. But how nice to know that God never gives up on us. How nice that we can continue to learn and grow forever and ever.

Love. What does it mean to you? 

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