Love is different than I imagined.
True, fairy tales and “happily ever after” largely evaporated from my perception of what love was a long time ago.
But when someone caught my interest at 28, I found I did not have a grasp on what love really was.
I only knew what it was not at first.
Love wasn’t the feelings of giddiness or the butterflies I felt the first time we held hands.
It wasn’t the desire that came when we kissed, or even the insatiable need to be near each other so much so that we ached whenever we were apart.
That was only infatuation and attraction.
Slowly, I’ve been learning that love is quieter.
It is fiercer and stronger than the fluff of infatuation. Love is more unyielding and relentless.
It is less selfish than infatuation. Instead, love purifies and refines.
Love exists in a thousand small choices made every day to put someone else’s needs or desires above your own. It’s the continual leaning in when you want to pull back.
Love does the hard, painful work rather than checking out.
It shows up in millions of apologies and extensions of forgiveness. Love reveals itself in our responses when we are angry or frustrated.
Love is less like what I saw on TV screens and more like friendship–a deep, intimate bond forged in the fires of close living, sexual intimacy and the daily choice to die to oneself.
Love is good, so good! But not the “everything feels warm and fuzzy” good. It is the type of good that speaks up when it needs to, that humbles itself, and that works through the pain for the true, highest good of your spouse.
Not what we see on TV screens and hear in pop songs. Not the egocentric, consumer mindset of “getting my needs met.” Not the entitled, “I deserve A or B from you.”
Thank God we don’t have to muster up this type of love on our own. God Himself gives it to us. (John 15:1-17)