I LOVE February. Not only is this my birthday month (just in case you were wondering, presents are always welcome) it is my wedding anniversary and of course, Valentine's Day. Toss in Presidents' Day and its a full month of WINNING.
February being the month of LOVE and all...I have been thinking how different what we think love is supposed to be, compared to what it really is.
So what is love? (Do NOT sing the song. Please. Even in your head. It is totally stuck in mine.)
Most people would say it is a feeling. That is is an emotion. And that is true in part, but it doesn't capture the full picture of the concept. Love is a decision. It is a choice. It is an action. And how you act it out is usually dependent on how YOU feel loved yourself. More on that tomorrow.
If you have ever been to a wedding, you have probably heard this verse:
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
Love doesn't strut,
Doesn't have a swelled head,
Doesn't force itself on others,
Isn't always "me first,"
Doesn't fly off the handle,
Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn't revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 MSG
You may not have heard this version--this is The Message translation, a kind of plain-speak version of the Bible--but you get the picture. Reading this passage, you can see there is a contrast between the kind of love that most people expect, and the kind of love that was intended by the Creator.
The truth is that we forget, or we never knew this definition of love to begin with. We get mixed up about the kind of love we see in movies and popular books, and we start thinking more about how people are showing US love, more than we think about how WE SHOW love to others.
Especially in those moments when we find them unloveable.
And we have to admit it, sometimes WE are unloveable.
And because we tend to associate love with the head-over-heels feeling of falling in love...the butterflies in your stomach and the excitement--that feeling can be hard to recapture. The butterflies go away after a while, but something even better grows in their place.
My husband and I just celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary last week. And by celebrate, I mean we drove our kids back and forth to all of their activities and cooked dinner and washed dishes and read stories and tucked them in bed and then we collapsed ourselves. We'll get a proper celebration going very soon. Like a delicious dinner (that I don't have to cook), some fun and conversation, and (fingers crossed) early bedtime. And a sleep-in the next day. #reallytired
That is not exactly wild romance, I know.
We have had some major (ugly) roller-coaster ups and downs in our marriage, but eighteen years and four kids later, we are more in love than ever. And that is something to celebrate.
How can you love better over time? I have some ideas for you!
Check the blog tomorrow for my best marriage advice.
xo, Ann Marie