Love is an ideal we want in our lives. Everyone wants to be loved and cherished in some way – whatever love means. I used to think Love was just another term that could be used in the sense of preference. For example, I love chocolate. And I really do – I take that seriously. But really, human love, relational love, is different.
Sarah and Phil Kay(e) performed this poem. It’s a great poem, and it hints at this idea of what love could really be.
I think loving someone, whether in a Christian sense or in a worldly sense, is incredibly difficult. Loving someone is hard, and I have had struggles in coming to terms with what love really was. I guess I just had so many misconceptions of what love could be or what I thought love would be like. Here’s just a few things I’ve learned over the past few weeks and months.
First off, love is not the same as infatuation. I think a lot of people know this. It’s impossible to love someone the first time you meet them. It’s possible to be infatuated with him/her, but it’s different from loving that person. So love at first sight, in the literal sense, does not exist. If you’re infatuated with someone, you’ll be content – you might think about them all day, wonder what they’re up to, constantly be checking for updates. Your heart will flutter when you see them, and you’re just generally excited. That’s not love. And this phase fades, like any shiny new toy you buy then throw away.
Second, love is not what you need in life to live. We often make love our goal in life; we need to find the right person and we want to get married to the “one.” And I struggle quite a bit with this. I automatically assume that love is what will make me happy, and therefore I should pursue love and without it, I will die a miserable wretch (no, I actually don’t think like this, but just to prove a point). Love will not bring you happiness. And you can’t depend on love to make you happy. In fact, love might really mess up your life, make it more complicated, and you might dislike love at times. But it’s not love’s duty to make you happy – you need to have something else to fulfill you.
Thirdly, love does not mean that you love every aspect of this person. We think, oh I’m completely in love with this person; I see no flaw in him and I want to be with him forever. Just because you say that, it doesn’t mean you love him, just means you’re still not over this infatuation phase. Of course, you should love an underlying essence of this person, but that doesn’t mean you have to completely be all for his characteristics. And how can we be? We’re not perfect in any shape or form; there will be mistakes and flaws that we need to realize and accept. Love doesn’t mean you like everything about him; it means you accept and see the truth in him.
So really, love is not just being content with another person. It’s about seeing who they are as individuals, with flaws and all, and accepting them and choosing to be with no one else. You trust them. You wait for them. You accept them for who they are, not for who they can be or will be. And in this way, love is so challenging and difficult, but ultimately beautiful and great. Love will not solve your problems and you should not depend on love to rescue you.
And in those ways, a worldly love will never be enough. But it’s not nothing either.