Friday, January 15, 2010

New Series--Relationships: What is Our Definition of Love?

I'd like to introduce a new topic which I hope to write about repeatedly: that being the huge and crazy topic of relationships. What sparked my interest in this was an experience I had yesterday, while renewing my drivers license at the DMV.

A friend of mine, who I believe is in his early 40's, stopped me as I was walking across the room to get my license picture taken. I asked him how everything was going, and he answered with a weak smile, "Well Nick...not so good". I sat down and he told me that his wife was divorcing him; that it was, without a doubt, one of the hardest things he'd experienced in his life. We couldn't chat long because I had to get my picture taken. So we shook hands, and I said I'd keep him and his family in my prayers.

I left the DMV with a lot of thoughts going through my head. About how elemental relationships are in our lives; how much we create a foundation on those in whom we invest and intrust our love; about how broken a man or woman must feel, when they learn that their spouse or significant other doesn't want their love--will not return it. More thoughts about families who've been marred by separation; children who don't understand why the two people they love, don't love each other. And the overarching question of...what can I, what can we do about this?

Now I believe in God. And as the details of that relationship are lengthy, I won't go into much detail. But here is what my God says about love, and how it should look in each of our lives...

"Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong doing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends..."

The reason I bring this up, is that I want to question how each of us views our role as a person who is responsible for loving someone.

If the quote above is the correct definition of love (which you should question, and that I believe is), we should be deathly serious about who we choose to love. The reason being, if this is the love you mean when saying "I love you", what you're really saying is, I will be patient when you frustrate me; I'll be kind when I'm angry with you; I'll not envy what you have, and what I don't; I'll not boast, putting myself above you; I won't put you down; I'll always ask your opinion in decisions, because I care; I'll be happy when we're truthful with each other, and I'll push through the times when I want to quit....because you're worth that much to me.

This love is pretty serious, huh? I wonder how many broken relationships would be changed if we though of love this way?

There are millions of people who are engaging in relationships today, who are putting their hearts on the line, because they want things to work out. And if the love we're talking about here was what we defined as "love", how much more confident and determined would people be in their relationships, and in their commitments?

You might have heard the quote above millions of times at weddings, in greeting cards, in the movie Wedding Crashers--it might be sort of cliche by now. But the reason it's referenced in all of those, is because there's a deep truth to be found in it. Don't miss this. Truth is found everywhere, and it's our job to question it, and to claim it. So test this for yourself, and see if this is really how love should be.

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