What is love? No, it’s not just an annoyingly catchy song by Haddaway. So what is it? To different people, it may be different things. A quiet evening with my husband got me wondering about this. A nice night in turned into a disagreement, as it often does when we’ve spent long periods of time together. A thought entered my mind, “maybe that’s what love is.” One second, we can’t get enough of each other and never want to be apart, but then before we can even complete that feeling, we are at each others throats and just want to be away from each other for a while. I stopped to wonder, “Is this normal in love? Maybe. Maybe that is what love is to us.” Then I began to wonder, “What is love? What does love mean? What does love mean to me?”
As I was asking myself these questions, and wondering where to start finding the answers, the first thing that came to mind was 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
“Love is patient, love is kind and it is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away.”
That says it best, but I wanted to take a bit of a deeper look, and see it really broken down. So I looked up some of the words to better understand their meanings.
- “Love” – “profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person”.
- “Love is patient“-“bearing provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like”
- “Love is kind“-“indulgent, considerate, or helpful”
- “Love is not jealous“-“charactarized by or proceeding from suspicion, fears or envious resentment; the feeling of resentment” “Love does not brag“-“speak with pride”
- “Love is not arrogant“-“making claims to superior importance or rights”
- “Love does not act unbecomingly“-“detracting from one’s appearance, character or reputation; unattractive”
- “Love does not rejoice in unrighteousness“-“wickedness”
So that is what love means. What does love mean to me? How does that apply to my life, and my marriage? “Love is patient”, but we are not. “Love is kind”, but again, we are not. “Love is not jealous”, and yet we are. My husband and I both have a short fuse, some times shorter than others. So is this “patience” that is spoken of a patience of not losing your temper, or a patience of not giving up on one another? Or is it both? Is this “kindness” one of never becoming angry, or of being able to forgive? Is this “jealousy” one only of resentment, or one that is the result of not trusting other people?
While I can read those verses, and know that my husband and I truly love each other, it also makes me wonder if we love each other properly. Do we love each other in the way that God planned for us to love? If we are not loving in the way that God intended, are we missing out on something?
1 Corinthians 13 is a chapter that I have heard and read many times throughout my lifetime, and each time it is still a reminder to me. No matter how well I know it, or how many times I’ve seen it, it always manages to make me think, and assess the part that love plays, not only in my marriage, but in my life in general. Is this the way I am loving the people in my life? Is this the type of love that is showing through to my family, my daughter, my parents, my friends? The mere fact that I am questioning this, tells me that I am not loving to my fullest capacity. Have I been jealous? Yes. Have I been impatient? Most certainly. Does this mean that I can’t change? Definitely not. It means that I have refreshed my mind, and have a clearer direction in which to follow.
The above verses are some of the most common verses, I think. I believe that even if you’ve never opened a Bible, there is a good chance that you have seen those words somewhere in your life. They are written in books, spoken on television, and printed on various types of merchandise at a multitude of different types of stores. These words are in so many places, but are they anything more than words to us? How often do you really take the time to read it when you see it? I know that I personally will often read “Love is patient…” and think “ah, I know what this says, I know this verse, I don’t need to finish it.” Really though, even as I write this blog, I couldn’t recite those verses without error.
So now I wonder, what does love mean to you?