What is LOVE? is it a feeling or Choice
|LOVE - at first sight! |
Taking the big step in marriage is a very big step, especially if you're not certain that what you are building your marriage on is Love or just feelings. Even though I have been married for thirty-eight years, I have to admit I was not 100 percent certain without some doubt that I was in Love, or if I was just a young man experiencing an enchantment of magical emotions. Experience is the best teacher, but it would be so much easier to just learn from others and not have to go through all the bad stuff. So, at the end of the day, I can now tell you what Love really is.
The all too often used phrase "Love at first sight" has been handed down to young couples as a way of knowing they are in love. Sadly, the outcome of a relationship built on the emotional high of feeling like it was "Love at first sight" or a "passion of love" has led to an all- time high in broken dreams, broken homes and families, and destroyed lives. It's time to not only offer premarital counselling, but insisting that our young couples at least learn a few interesting styles of their Love experiences before the wedding.
Passion, they need to know, is a reaction to biology and hormones, commonly spoke of as lust. Intimacy is nothing more than an emotional side of relationship. And last but certainly not least is Commitment. Commitment is the volitional and cognitive decision to Love.
For the sanctity of marriage, we have to stop teaching our young people, and older couples that are experiencing problems in their marriage too, that you must have a feeling of excitement and fascination to know that you Love someone, it would be very wise to introduce to them what Love actually is. If a relationship is based on a feeling of any kind, even a very strong attraction that has charmed you into being addicted to that person, then that relationship will suffer many disappointments until they both acknowledge what Love really is, and a large percent of marriages end in divorce before that happens.
One famous writer (Gary Chapman) said "Love is a most confusing word". He really hit the nail on the head there. But instead of using modern dictionaries and fancy reasoning to know if you are truly in Love with your partner, it would be very wise to just turn back to the author of Love for a more reliable definition. God introduced Love and His word offers the definition of Love. Love defined by the Word of God is not a feeling, but rather a definite choice.
When a marriage is in shambles and one partner begins to ask if there is any hope now for the marriage because the excitement and feelings of Love seems to have died, the answer is YES, there is HOPE! First begin to demonstrate Love to your spouse by Loving God's way. His love is agape love. Agape love is unconditional and irrevocable. Love freely without seeking personal advantage.
Love verses Feelings
Love seems to be only a word used to either get what you want or a common ending to small talk, similar to "Amen" in the Christian's prayers. "I love you" gets easier and easier to say as the marriage relationship grows. At first, it is said with a lot of thought and consideration. Then as time speeds by the first few years, it later becomes more of a byword. Webster defines love as "a feeling of strong or constant affection for a person: attraction that includes sexual desire"(Webster). Well, there you have it, no wonder we have such a problem in marriages. Merriam Webster and most everyone else declare "love is a feeling". If love is a merely feeling, how can you ever promise to love someone forever? I remember growing up I heard someone define love as "Love was a feeling you feel when you feel you're going to feel a feeling like you've never felt before". Now that's a mouth full. It has been noted that the word "love" is used too often. One writer for an online site commented that now days "when we actually say it and mean it, it doesn't have such great meaning". Misunderstood feelings of emotions are being confused for real Love. Emotions like Passion, lust, fascination, and enchantment have taken over what real Love is supposed to be.
Love at first sight. How many times have we either said or heard it said that "it was love at first sight"? It is never love at first sight. The heart racing, palms sweating, butterflies in the stomach, an emotional high that soared higher than ever before. Really now, is it Love or is it temporary passion? Not understanding what Love is has led to a national distress of marriages across our land. Think on this, if parents teach their children that when two people feel like they have fallen in love, based on that feeling the right thing to do is get married. Those same young people grow up, feel like they have been struck by love and get married, just to later feel those feelings grow weak and cold. By the same mentality as used to get married, they think that it is right if they feel like they do not love any longer to get a divorce. The National Vital Statistics Report and U.S. Census found that West Virginia in 2010 had the fifth highest divorce rate in the Nation (Reich, 2010 Huffington Post). Mixed up feelings of misunderstood emotions has been the culprit behind the ruin of these broken hearts and destroyed homes, not to even mention the innocent and helpless children involved in the midst of them.
Loving God's way. Â "Love" defined by the Word of God is not feeling. Scriptures says that "God is love" (1 John 4:8). He demonstrated that Love by giving His Son as a ransom for all mankind. Love is a verb, an action word. Instead of a feeling that comes and goes, love is a choice that is made and then demonstrated by actions. God does not love us because we are good, or pretty, or even of any benefit to Him. He chose to LOVE us even while we were very un-lovable, even in our dirty filthy unrighteous state (Romans 5:8). Some may differ with me and say that we cannot typify the marriage with the same kind of love as used in the bible, but God did (Eph. 5:3-32). By understanding what love really is, defined by God, marriages have a chance at surviving. "Human love is insufficient, but God's love makes it possible. Early in life parents need to be informed to teach this kind of Love to their children. Children need instilled in their minds early that they are Loved because who they are, not what they do. Never should a child feel like they will not be Loved by parent or by God if they mess up or do something bad. I have actually heard some parents tell their kids that God will not like you if you misbehave. Growing up that child will likely run from God instead of running to God.
We must begin also to teach and instruct that instead of a feeling, Love is a choice. Infusing in them before the commitment is made that by choosing to Love, they are saying no matter what, I will Love you. I will not base our relationship on my feelings but rather publicly make a choice to Love no matter what. Even when I feel like I do not Love, I will continue to demonstrate Love to you. It is not based on how good you are to me or how much you give me. I will Love you unconditionally. This is not saying that one partner can mistreat the other and still expect that Love. But it is stating that Love is not based on performance or feelings.