L. O. V. E.

November 11, 2015

L is for the way you look at me
O is for the only one I see
V is very, very extraordinary
E is even more than anyone that you adore can

Love is all that I can give to you
Love is more than just a game for two
Two in love can make it
Take my heart and please don’t break it
Love was made for me and you

This song was made popular by Nat King Cole in 1965, and remains a standard for all genre of love songs to this day. What is it about this song that speaks to the heart? Sure, it’s got a quick, catchy tune. It’s comprised of sweet, kitschy lyrics that are just slightly cheesy. But, I think what really makes it catch on is the breakdown of the words…and that final ending line “Take my heart and please don’t break it…Love was made for me and you.”

We all want someone to love, and dare I say it, we definitely want someone to love us in return. Hopefully you have some sort of familial or friendly love in your life, but here I’m speaking of the sort that you only have for one other significant person in your life – that true love we all seek.

As I’m not married, I can’t speak to those who are in love, who have chosen to love,  and continue to choose to love their significant other. But I can speak from the single side of love. I can speak from the side that sees friends getting married, and sadly, some of those same friends get divorced. I speak from the side that watches closely to see what connections humans make and how the couples who last truly make love last.

As humans, we are hard-wired for affection. We see this in the Bible in Genesis 2:18 “And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. ” And we also see this in the scientific academic world shown in multiple ways, but most commonly through Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. At its original basic level, psychologist Abraham Maslow defined the human needs or motivations in five levels as shown below.

1. Physiological  (basic physical survival needs)

2. Safety  (security, law, order – mental survival needs)

3. Belongingness and Love  (work group, family, affection, relationship needs)

4. Esteem (self-esteem, achievement, mastery, independence, prestige – responsibility needs)

5. Self-Actualization (realising personal potential, self-fulfillment, seeking personal growth and peak experience needs)

I’m focusing on number three here Belongingness & Love, as it pertains closest to our topic. We all have food to eat and shelter over our heads (I pray you do), and we are grateful for those things. And I pray, we all have a relationship with Jesus that is where we find our true source of belonging and all the love we can need – yet, we crave an intimate relationship with someone who is on this earthly world. Someone who was created just specifically for us. Someone we can confide in, dream with and build a life with. Someone we can serve the Kingdom with – and ultimately, share a calling as a couple.

We see this desire manifest in the hundreds of dating apps and websites available. We see this desire in the shelves and rows of books dedicated to relationships, marriage, love and divorce in any bookstore you choose to walk into, secular or Christian, or the online bookseller whose page you frequent. Pop culture is full of references to true love – Hollywood is full of the notion of love and it’s lasting power.

The question is: how to make true love last?

First, we have to define the word love itself.

In my observation of people and also my research on the topic, I’ve come to realize that the secular description and definition of love is vastly different from that of the church – and rightfully so! Is not our understanding of love much deeper and broader due to the fact that we have a Savior who loves us so much more than any earthly love could ever compare or surpass? And so, we define love in the church as based off of John 4:16 “And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.” And as such, we also use the definition found in I Corinthians 13: 1-13. “Love believes all things, hope all things…” In the description we find in I Corinthians 13, we realize that if God is love, then God is all of those attributes of love that are worded so perfectly in that passage. So now we know that true love is defined by God, and is given attributes of patience, long suffering, kindness, etc.

Love Feet

Love is a Choice, Not a Feeling

The first conclusion I came to in this study of people is that true love lasts because true love is a choice, not a feeling. “Love is a choice, lust is a feeling. Somewhere we’ve learned to live by our feelings instead of by our convictions… (Rich Wilkerson Jr., It’s Complicated).” The love that lasts in people’s lives is the love based on both people being 100% committed to choosing to love the other person – it doesn’t work if one person refuses to offer any portion of themselves in the relationship and the other gives 110% – this is not the way to make love last.

“The only way love can last a lifetime is if it’s unconditional. The truth is this: love is not determined by the one being loved but rather by the one choosing to love.”
Stephen Kendrick, The Love Dare      

As single people, it’s easy to think that once the one comes along, we will be complete. The truth is that “Marriage doesn’t complete you, it complements you. Marriage doesn’t solve your problems, it magnifies them (Rich Wilkerson Jr., It’s Complicated).” And yeah, the guy saying that IS married, so I think we can take his word on it! We often think as singles that love will come along and everything will be rosy – not so true! What we should be doing is caring enough about being whole for the one our hearts will eventually belong to, and cultivate all the things we want to bring and have in a relationship now. Do you want to be the good at negotiating and not being offended in your relationship? Practice with your friends and family – if you don’t, you can’t expect to magically be good at it when “the one” comes along. Are you dating? Treat that person with respect, just as you would your future spouse, after all, if you’re dating them, they might be!

Most of all, fill your heart with the love of God by spending time with Jesus. True love lasts because there is a lasting relationship with Jesus. ((Jesus + Me) + (Jesus + You)) = Lasting Love

Trying to love without Jesus is not the way to make love last.

Have any advice? Disagree or agree? We’d love to hear it in the comments! Tell us what love means to you!

L is for the way you look at me : With a heart that loves, not eyes that lust

O is for the only one I see: God will show me the “only one” I should see

V is very, very extraordinary: What we have is special because it’s founded in God

E is even more than anyone that you adore can: Jesus first, me second.