I recently read an amazing post where a man confessed that he did not love his wife when he married her. And shortly after marriage he began to doubt what he once called love, was really love. The feelings that had him feeling so sure were no longer his feelings anymore. This article really inspired me and got me thinking about what we call “love.” Between the time he fell in love (first date), confessed his love (second date), proposed to her (2 months later), married her (3 months later) and started a family, his definition and understanding of love changed, (http://popchassid.com/didnt-love-wife/).
That Ain’t Love!
I believe that what we call love is just dust and chaff, that barely scratches the surface of a much deeper emotion. Love is not a warm and fuzzy feeling, love is not butterflies in our bellies, love is not stars in our eyes and a quivering in our core. When we call these things love, that means we are on a lifelong pursuit of firsts – first kisses, first touches, first time you feel someone really sees you or understands you – we become thrill seekers who may leave who we once called love for what it now takes to fill that void. Looking towards the love stories that are lasting, that are not defined merely by good times or grounded in chemistry, we see that the ingredients of lasting love differ from what is popularly deemed love.
That’s More Like It!
Classic example: the love between a mother and a child. A mother who sacrifices immensely her life for her child and invests everything into her child’s future has forged a bond of love that will last a lifetime. Her child does not give her butterflies, her child does not make her feel like she’s just reached the perfect peak of a rollercoaster, in fact at times her child no doubt infuriates her, breaks her heart, frustrates her efforts, etc., but no matter what the only constant is love. When the tables turn and the child is responsible for parent in some way or another, it is still that love that is the guiding force and the motivator, the love that demands action – not the ‘love’ that evokes fuzzy feelings.
Now this love that is unshakeable and unbreakable cannot be used to describe both a near unconditional love a mother has for a child and a relationship that is based on shared interests, physical attraction and great conversation. Surely before the latter can truly become love it must go deeper than a few fantastic feelings, because our emotions are in constant flux, and feelings are shaped by so many other factors.
If you wake up on the wrong side of the bed with a spotty face, a runny stomach, a pounding head, a short fuse and a flat tire, it may be hard to muster up the romance. On days like this it is hard to love yourself or your life, never mind another individual. If your partner then adds insult to injury by saying something annoying, doing something selfish or disregarding your feelings – whatever emotions were present the night before must surely evaporate with the morning’s dew. That is why we need to define, determine and deliver on our definition of love.
Now We’re Done Talking, We Can Start DOING.
We need to understand that love is a verb. Love is an action. Love is an action, on an action, on another action. My mother has made so many deposits into our love account that no matter what she does, how we disagree, or my own personal financial or emotional status – I am compelled to be there for her and to do for her. These acts of love are natural to me, they bring joy to me, and they are compulsory – even at times when we have argued and there are no warm and fuzzy feelings on the horizon I know that beneath whatever positive or negative emotions I have – there is a solid foundation built on love.
Similarly, LOVE is a verb. Love is acting in ways that promote the passions, pursuits, plans and pure joy of another person – not for any tangible gain. Love is acting in ways that give pleasure to another because our feelings towards them are deep and wide and worthy of expression. Love is patience, kindness, goodness, self-control, humility, and happiness in the success of another. Love is forgiveness – that even in that moment of unadulterated anger and a sense of betrayal your heart is already coming around to forgiveness because “LOVE the action” is gearing up to stretch its limbs, sweep aside hurt feelings and remain steadfast.
Forget Between ‘Man and Woman,’ How About Between *Love and Love?*
Love for friend, spouse, sibling, parent, child are not as different as the greeting cards make them out to be.
It is the separation of spouse/partner from every other relationship/bond of love that perhaps leads to the latter outlasting the former in our contemporary society.
When we chase an emotion we can never keep up with, and define that emotion as love, then we have a tendency to give up when we deem the love is gone.
I want to encourage us to look at all our loves with different eyes, to recognize that love is not a feeling but a verb – and taking that initial rush and emotion and channeling it into a series of actions that can build on the love, deepen it, grow it and groom it.
Of course different relations are formed based on different connections and attractions, but after you have categorized all your relationships into their relevant boxes, recognize that the LOVE that is alive inside of you and that is meted out to them is of one nature, a giving and doing and being nature – LOVE is a verb, its not a feeling.