Thursday, February 16, 2012

Cultivating and Celebrating Real 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 fogie, 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 what we have celebrating at our house today! 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!)

And that is a wrap for Valentine's Day 2012
I hope yours was great!


Marie said...

Bonnie, I "love" your thoughts on love!! I think that love is something that is different and varies with the stages in our lives. The Love I had for my first husband was nothing at all like the love I have for my Todd. It is something completely different. The love I have for my children is completely different than the love I have had for any of my husbands, as is the love for my grandchildren. Then there is the love I have for my friends . . . different still again, and then the deep love I have for my Saviour. OH, and lets not forget the love we have for our pets. Is it the Greek's that have different words for different kinds of love?? I can't remember! Thought provoking! xxoo

Sister Susie said...

The Old Testament (in Hebrew) has 3words for love. Agape is the Love GOD has for mankind in that He died for man's sins. Eros, and sad to say I forgot the third, but one is the love that GOD blesses when husband and wife are one flesh, the last is the love we have for our friends. We are to be as Christ asked Peter, "Peter, do you love me...then feed my sheep." John 21:15