The True Meaning of True Love
Oh, Valentine's Day. Here you come again! Like it or not, people, it is THE day to celebrate love. I guess everyone's definition of love may be a little different. There are books written about the different love languages; there are reality television shows where people compete and fight for "true love"; there are whole businesses built on the idea of matching people up with their one, true love.
But there is really only one, true love. It's the kind of love that God has for each of us. Agape love--love that is unconditional, love that transcends all time and all circumstances, love that is unwavering and unapologetic. We are born with an innate need for love, and it is because God created us that way. It is because God IS love.
Knowing that the above paragraph is true, how does that change how we approach love amongst ourselves? I read a cute story one time about a teenage daughter who was in love with a boy at her school. Her father, reasonably disgusted by this, did something pretty wise. He broke out the Bible. He turned to a chapter in 1 Corinthians and suggested that she insert this boys name everywhere it says the word "love." The chapter goes in part like this: "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protect, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." The teenager daughter decided her crush wasn't as wonderful as she had thought at first!
I like that approach. We can say we love our spouses, but marriage is hard. Shoot, being single is hard! There is just so much to deal with today that as a society we have never had to face. So, I would challenge you to do like the father in that little story, with one major exception: insert YOUR name into those Bible verses. It is easy to look at your spouse or significant other and see all the ways they fall short, but when was the last time you held that mirror up to yourself? I hate to admit that I recently had to do that. Marriage is not easy, and no marriage is perfect (no matter what they may post on Facebook, haha!). And sometimes, it is easy to get caught up in what your spouse is doing wrong. I am lucky to have some very special people in my life who uplift and pray for me and for my marriage. And even more thankful that they can call me out on what I am doing wrong! It's amazing what can happen when you quit focusing on what they are doing wrong and start focusing on loving the best you can, on bettering the way you do things, no matter what they are or aren't doing--unconditional, transcending circumstances. It is NOT easy, but it does change things. And it brings glory to God who designed that kind of love! That's what it's all about anyway.
May your Valentine's day be special and full of love--for yourself, for others, and most of all, for God!
God bless, Allison Key, MD