This Valentine’s Day Don’t Settle
By David Outten, Production Editor
According to Hollywood, people fall in love.
They also fall out of love in huge numbers.
When “love” is understood to be a warm feeling about a member of the opposite sex, there’s the very real problem of feelings growing cold. When love is a profound commitment to treat someone a specific way, however, the feelings of love grow stronger over the years.
Falling in love is fun. There’s much to be said in favor of it. It’s better than your favorite team winning the Super Bowl or the World Series. However, the thrill of such victories, while very exciting, is very brief. You’re left with fond memories but the excitement fades quickly. Falling in love gives thrills for months and perhaps even years, but all too often you wind up with some fond memories spoiled by some horrible ones. Falling out of love can be emotionally brutal. Divorce is ugly and emotionally painful.
Love that doesn’t fade isn’t based on feelings. It’s based on action. You love. You decide to do something and you do it. So what do you decide to do?
The most famous, and greatest, definition of love in history can be found in a letter from the Apostle Paul to the church in Corinth. A portion of the letter (Chapter 13:4-7 of First Corinthians), is known as the love chapter. In it, Paul writes:
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
Imagine making a commitment to treat someone this way for the rest of your life (whether you “feel” like it or not)?
When you’re in the car waiting on your wife to check the stove, check the doors, find her purse, go to the bathroom again, and do eight other things she thought of at the last minute, can you be patient, or do you get irritable?
When you’ve made a nice dinner, and you can’t get your husband (or your children) to come eat it with you, do you get irritable, or can you remain composed?
When your wife or husband blows up the family budget Christmas shopping, can you be kind?
Imagine waking up every morning, looking at Paul’s definition of love and saying, “God, help me love my spouse that way today.”
Who is going to fall out of love with a spouse who loves like Paul advises us to love?
Who doesn’t like someone to be patient with them, kind to them, courteous, gentle, forgiving, understanding, helpful and, above all, faithful. If this is how you’re treated, even when you don’t deserve it, how can you not love back?
When people fall in love, they often do many of these things. They’re excited about doing them. It’s when you stop doing these things that you fall out of love.
It’s nice to hear on frequent occasions the pronouncement, “I love you.” It’s even nicer to live in a home where someone treats you with the kind of true love Paul describes.
When love is seen as a commitment to live as Paul describes, feelings of love grow deeper and deeper. The Hollywood version of love starts and ends with feelings. While the feelings are good, so is the behavior. When the behavior changes, the feelings fade, or reverse. How sad to think some of the most despised people on earth are former spouses – people who once “fell in love.”
This Valentine’s Day try committing to a month of love as Paul defines it. Don’t settle for simply giving someone a nice card or taking them out to dinner and a romantic movie. Try a “love month.”
Start each day asking God for help:
1) God, help me be more patient today.
2) How can I be more kind today?
3) Am I jealous of anything I should stop being jealous of?
4) Father God, help me to be more humble and less prideful.
5) How can I be more courteous and less rude?
6) Lord, help me find things I can do to please the one I love and not demand things from them.
7) Lord, protect me from being irritable.
8) God, help me forgive what I should forgive.
9) Help me to be happy about the good things we have and to express joy.
10) Help me to be more positive and less negative.
11) Help me to be faithful, regardless of circumstances.
12) Even if something looks bad, help me to be hopeful.
Imagine how someone you love would feel if you did that for a month, a year, or a lifetime? Imagine how the world would see you if Paul’s description of true love became your lifestyle, your character?
What a difference that would make!