Thursday, February 10, 2011

A Valentine Thought About Love

You know how the Eskimos have 200 words for snow, right? I wish we had that in the English language for love. Love is such an over used word with so many meanings it is hard to know what it really means anymore. Most of the times when we say "I love that"...what we really mean is we like it very much. If it were just a simple matter of semantics it would be OK, but I think we are all prone to confuse the meaning a lot too, especially in relationships of the heart. Love is a lot more than the pleasure we get from something, the great taste of Italian food or how one feels in a pretty dress or after reading a great novel or watching a wonderful movie. It is more than a beautiful home or a fancy car or how something makes us feel.

It seem most young men and young women come into the marriage relationship focusing on very different things. Let's say the young woman has been conditioned to look for her knight in shining armor and seriously I wouldn't even speculate on what the young man is focusing on..(nope, not goin' there! LOL!) I know there are the exceptions and this is an over-simplification, but it is just to point out that our differences can set us up for some disappointments.

Our expectations spring out of what we focus on and I think the first few years are fraught with short sightedness and sorting all of that out. The ones that survive get stronger, the ones that don't become a statistic. I will say I think that the couples of today that we know personally have a great foundation in Christ and I think they do a lot better.

As for us, we were in love, we didn't have a testimony of the Savior then, we dated four years and got married. Honestly, I don't think I ever thought about what life would be like beyond the babies, the cute little house with the white picket fence and living happily ever after. I never once thought about what I would do with my life after the kids were gone. Hello! I don't think I thought about life over 50 period. Those were old people and that was the farthest thing from my mind. I am not even sure I thought they had a life! Youth is all about the here and now.

One of the old sayings we heard from our day was.."You can't live on love because you can't eat the babies!" Whaaa...? Honestly, we were so clueless back then. In those days kids just didn't get a lot of counsel about being a grown up. At least not from our families anyway.

A lot of what we learned from our parents came from old sayings; adages with a little something to mull over or worse, things that made little sense at all. Not that helpful, after all we already knew we weren't going to eat our babies! Anyone over 30 was an old foogy, and definitely had no clue about what being young and in love and cool was about. At 21, 30 seemed like an eternity away.

The Climb!
So you learn, line upon line, precept upon precept about what love is and what it isn't. It isn't about all happiness and bliss because what smooths the rough edges off that incredible diamond we call marriage is work, and adversity and becoming, and accepting the things you cannot change and getting over yourself. It is becoming we from me. It is not easy. Love is a verb. It is not something you feel or get from someone, that is something else. Love is something you give.

I believe that just about any two people can make it work once that concept takes hold. What did the Savior say? "As I have loved you, Love one another." We don't see the Savior sitting back waiting for us to love Him, or pouting or getting mad or getting even, if we don't reciprocate His love. He simply loves us. Not because of who we are but because of who He is. And if someone moves away and a distance is felt in the relationship; it is us, not Him. His love is steadfast, certain, unconditional.

Even as imperfect humans we can draw close to that kind of love if we do something. We can't stand back and wait for our spouse to be the magnanimous one. It has to be us that steps out and loves. Looking out to each other ~ not inward to all our own little needs and wants.

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." Could that not be a clue on how marriage and family is supposed to be? Could it not be thought of in these terms...Greater love hath no man than he that lay down his selfishness for his spouse, who actually is his family?

Anyway, these are thoughts I have been having lately about marriage and love and as I have tried to focus more on these things my love has blossomed more and more towards my very best friend and husband. As I try to follow Jesus Christ...a funny thing happens. My husband becomes more and more perfect in my eyes. When Christ works in our lives, miracles happen.

Once we were two floundering kids in love, trying to make sense of it all and we are now beginning to really get it. And I wouldn't give up this journey; this labor of love, for anything in the world. The bigger the price the more valuable the gift.

I don't know what this type of love should be called in the new version of the English language with 200 words for Love. But it is sure different than the way I love other people, or places, or things. It is that special love that you have to cultivate with just your one eternal companion. And that is what we are celebrating at our house on Monday! And a dozen red roses and a few little chocolates and mushy cards made it all the more fun! So for all of you that were wondering if the over 50 (ahem) 60 set does that sort of thing....we do!

Love is Not a Feeling. is a Verb!
It is about Cultivation of the (Heart!)


laura.elizabeth said...

I know you didn't get much counsel from YOUR parents about marriage and love but I feel like you and dad taught me everything. I feel so grateful that you figured it out on your own and taught me what it means to work at a relationship and give it my all. It has made all the difference for me (that and marrying such an easy-going, wonderful guy)! I am glad to know that love is a verb and that the greatest joy in love is giving it to others and watching it change their lives!

Julie Harward said...

Thats all true...and it is centered on Christ...the author and example of the greatest love ever! ;D

Nellie's Cozy place said...

Hi Again,
What a great post and again I could not agree with you more!
You could not pay me enough money to go back to those early years, even tho there were many good things about them,I like and love where we are today!! with age comes wisdom....
and a much deeper love and appreciation!! Halleleujah!! amen!! lol
Hope you have just the Bestest
Valentines Day Ever!! lol
Love ya girlie, Nellie

Deanna said...

your post touched me deeply. I understand what you mean when you say that in following Jesus Christ, your husband becomes more perfect in your eyes. I feel that. I know what you mean by that. Ten years ago, would Marshall and I be sitting together reading Ensign? I love what he is now. What he means to me and how he is understanding how I have fallen in ♥ with learning about LDS. I love you for being you....for bringing so much support and constant friendship to me.

By the way, isn't your Laura so beautiful? :D

♥ is a verb!

Sister Susie said...

My first thought when "love" is discussed is when Jesus asked Peter, "Peter, do you Love Me?" His response was, "LORD, You know I love you." Christ had to ask him several times and then told Peter, "If you Love Me, feed My Sheep." There are many "meanings" of love. The love you have for a friend; love for a husband/wife, and love you have for GOD. The last is the first and most important. GOD tells us we must love Him before anyone or anything else. In doing so, His blessings are innumerable with the love we will have for our friends and husband/wife.

Thank you, Bonnie for feeding His Sheep with you blog!

Love and hugs,