Love makes the world go ’round.” “All you need is love.” “Love can make you crazy . . .”
As long as any of us can remember, poems, songs, films, and orators have tried to adequately describe and express love. Movies and TV programs focus on the pursuit of love and personal fulfillment. Advertisements use this strong sentiment to sell us products. Our culture often seems to have a love-tracked mind.
Whether it’s in marriage, family, or friendships, it’s no wonder that love is such a draw and places so high on the priority list in our lives. After all, the wisest book I’ve ever read, the Bible, tells us that God Himself is love.
Few emotions in life equal the exciting adrenaline rush of a newfound romance or the sweet companionship of a friend or the faithful support of a family member. No wonder we seek love above so many other positive experiences. The normal, everyday challenges are so much easier to survive when we know we have people who are always there when we need them and support us unconditionally.
Because every love relationship involves fallible humans, challenges abound.
Unlike the personal connections portrayed on the big and small screens, the real issues between people usually can’t be resolved within thirty minutes, or a few episodes.
Sometimes circumstances and people make it almost impossible to love successfully.
The euphoria subsides after marriage, and the romantic feelings might fly out the window. We have a sharp disagreement and find ourselves being antagonistic instead of supportive. Sometimes communication quandaries occur. At other times, we may cling to unrealistic expectations. And at other times, frankly, we may not actually know how love factors into the equation. And when the going gets tough, some people just get going . . . leaving a trail of wounded hearts behind.
As a pastor and counselor, I’ve seen it over and over again.
A spouse gets bored with marriage and gives in to the temptation to see if the grass really is greener in another person’s yard. Parents and children emotionally excommunicate each other over a misunderstanding. Someone sits alone at church or stays home because he or she has lost a friend and is afraid to become vulnerable and reach out again. I’ve seen too many people give up on love too fast. Walking away from relationships doesn’t provide the hoped-for relief, bring solutions, or simplify life. Rather, it piles on more problems through the lingering resentment and finger-pointing. So, what are the answers to the challenges love brings? For starters, to last for the long haul and through the stresses and complexities of life, love must be more than something we feel. It must be something we do. We have to demonstrate it concretely in our marriage, our family, among our friends and acquaintances, and, even among our enemies.
I want to inspire you to build, rekindle, and experience the kind of love and friendship that endures after the warm fuzzy feelings have faded.
So, do you want to enjoy the best relationships possible?
Then get to work. Love isn’t wrapped up in a pronoun—in “he,” “she,” or “them.” It’s not about who other people are or how they treat us or what they do to make us value them. It begins with you, and it’s not primarily about what you say or feel. Instead, love is an action word. Love is a choice!
Adapted from Love Is a Choice: 28 Extraordinary Stories of the 5 Love Languages in Action by Gary Chapman (© 2023). Published by Moody Publishers. Used by permission.