I had hoped to publish this post before Valentine’s Day but such is life’s many distractions, not the least of which was my computer going down for the count. But my sweet Valentine of a husband bought me a new computer (and the obligatory box of chocolates). So here I am once again – better late than never (I hope).
I must confess to being one of those textbook “hopeless romantics”. Yup, I swallowed the Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Snow White stories hook, line and sinker. Unfortunately, I was also one of those people who were “looking for love in all the wrong places”. Difficult teenage years left me searching desperately for a knight in shining armour and when I thought I had found one, I grabbed hold of him with both of my little Cinderella hands.
I was only 18 and my idea of being in love was that your heart should race and pound, palms should sweat, head should spin, stomach should do flip-flops and knees should go weak. (Actually, that doesn’t really sound like much fun, does it?) In short, I thought that true love was based on touch-feely F-E-E-L-I-N-G-S (whoa-whoa-whoa feelings). But what happens when the knight in shining armour falls off his horse and Prince Charming turns into a frog? (Note to my male readers – I am writing from my female perspective, but I am very aware that men can marry Sleeping Beauty only to wake up to a Cruella DeVille – so bear with me guys.)
I didn’t take me long to learn that fairy-tale marriages are just that – a fairy tale. The often harsh reality of relationships and marriages bears little resemblance to the “happily ever after”. Oh I still had feelings, but they weren’t the warm and fuzzy kind! So what do you do when the heart racing and pounding, head spinning, stomach flopping feelings come, not from sweet feelings of love, but rather from bitter feelings of anger, frustration and disappointment? As a Christian woman and wife, feeling this way left me really struggling with feelings of self-condemnation, guilt and uncertainty.
I believe that our culture, being greatly influenced by movies, TV, art and literature, has played a huge part in having a negative affect in the way we view relationships, love and marriage. When we look at popular culture, we are encouraged to do whatever makes us feel good at the time. Unfortunately, “feelings” are more changeable than the weather; they’re up one minute and down the next.
So what happens to love when we base our love on our “feelings”? That kind of love changes when our feelings change. Maybe you have said or heard the following: “I don’t feel in love with you anymore” or “You don’t make me feel the way you used to”. When we base our love on feelings alone, it can be here today and gone tomorrow. That kind of love is also a selfish love based on what your partner can give you. So what happens when that partner is no longer able to give you what you want? Is it Adios Amigo?
I have learned the hard way, that love, true love, love the way that God wants us to love, should not, and in fact , can not be based on feelings alone. True love is a choice. True love is a mind-set. True love chooses and determines to love despite circumstances and feelings.
Rather than obtain our ideas of love from popular culture, we should be looking unto The One whose very being is Love – God.
1Jn_4:8 The one who does not love has not known God. For God is love.
The word “love” in that scripture is translated from the Greek word agape which comes from the root word agapao which means “to love in a moral sense”. God loves us because He is righteous. He loves us because it is the right thing to do, not because He “feels” like it. And the miracle of that kind of love is that God loves us even when we don’t deserve to be loved!
Eph 2:4,5 But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love with which He loved us (even when we were dead in sins) has made us alive together with Christ (by grace you are saved), …
In His Word, God gives us a very clear description of exactly what is true love:
1Co 13:4-7 Love is never tired of waiting; love is kind; love has no envy; love has no high opinion of itself, love has no pride; Love’s ways are ever fair, it takes no thought for itself; it is not quickly made angry, it takes no account of evil; It takes no pleasure in wrongdoing, but has joy in what is true; Love has the power of undergoing all things, having faith in all things, hoping all things. (BBE)
1Co 13:8… LOVE NEVER FAILS. (MKJV)
William Shakespeare echoed God’s words when he wrote Sonnet 116:
|Let me not to the marriage of true minds||Let me not declare any reasons why two|
|Admit impediments. Love is not love||True-minded people should not be married. Love is not love|
|Which alters when it alteration finds,||Which changes when it finds a change in circumstances,|
|Or bends with the remover to remove:||Or bends from its firm stand even when a lover is unfaithful:|
|O no! it is an ever-fixed mark||Oh no! it is a lighthouse|
|That looks on tempests and is never shaken;||That sees storms but it never shaken;|
|It is the star to every wandering bark,||Love is the guiding north star to every lost ship,|
|Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.||Whose value cannot be calculated, although its altitude can be measured.|
|Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks||Love is not at the mercy of Time, though physical beauty|
|Within his bending sickle’s compass come:||Comes within the compass of his sickle.|
|Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,||Love does not alter with hours and weeks,|
|But bears it out even to the edge of doom.||But, rather, it endures until the last day of life.|
|If this be error and upon me proved,||If I am proved wrong about these thoughts on love|
|I never writ, nor no man ever loved.||Then I recant all that I have written, and no man has ever [truly] loved.|
(Notice how I included a modern translation found at http://www.shakespeare-online.com/sonnets/116detail.html for all those readers whose eyeballs cross when they read Shakespeare! lol)
So stop reading Harlequin Romance novels and watching daytime soap operas to get your idea of love and romance. Look instead to the source of all love – God.
1Jn_4:7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God, and everyone who loves has been born of God, and knows God.
Love in Christ
PS: God has blessed me with a wonderful husband. I have finally found my Prince Charming, my knight in shining armour and I am living “Happily Ever After”! 🙂