According to C.S. Lewis, “Love is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person’s ultimate good as far as it can be obtained.” So often in life, we talk about love as emotion, instead I challenge you to see love as Lewis describes it.
Love like this says, “Let’s go to the hockey game/ homeschool convention/Comic Con/ movie/ etc… together, not necessarily because I want to. Let’s go because I know how much you will enjoy going, and I want to see you happy.” It takes the time to stop, remember to call, and to encourage, when your love is going through a difficult season of life. It is the, “I love you,” text, just because.
When you are arguing and disagreeing, this kind of love does not call names or assign blame. Instead, it seeks to disagree respectfully. It will not later air the dirty laundry of your spouse out for the world to see.
Love like this brings the assurance that I won’t stop loving you just because I am grumpy today, or because we disagree. This kind of love is a choice. It is a deliberate decision. It is an action to be lived out everyday in a 1,000 different little ways.
If you have ever been loved like this then you will know just how easy it is then to reciprocate this kind of love. The challenge comes in, when you are stuck in an un-loving cycle. You nag because he ignores you, and he ignores you because you nag. Or you shut down because she gets hostile/angry and she gets hostile/ angry because you shut down. Perhaps you act disrespectful because the other person is cold and distant and the other person is cold and distant because you are disrespectful. It is then that this kind of love can be hard to even imagine is possible.
Yet it is possible. One of you just needs to just step up and commit to change. You can not make the other person change. All you can do is change how you behave. Take small steps. If the other person never changes their behavior then that is a bridge you will need to cross when you get there but for now work on your actions.
Maybe today all you can manage is to not say anything snarky. That is alright. If that is all you can manage to do for a week go for it. Practice. Don’t beat yourself up if you slip up and do something less than loving. Just wipe yourself off and start again. It is kind of like a muscle that needs to be strengthened.
Once you feel you are successfully doing that first step, whatever that step is, move on to the next thing you think you can accomplish. Just know that you are not alone. I am here to encourage you, if you need it.
I am here to pray with you if you need it. I have been there in the early stages of changing my behavior and know how difficult it can be.
***Have you ever considered love to be an action instead of a feeling? What are some ways you could play this out in your life right now?***