Love is the Glue that Holds Marriages Together
Marriage is a matter of love. Weddings ooze, and quiver and gush with it. But is love merely an emotion? Is love merely something that we feel? Such a manner of defining it flies in the face of the wedding ceremony, for in the wedding ceremony couples pledge to each other a love that transcends circumstances, and feelings. A love characterized by a constancy of care throughout life, for better or worse, richer or poor, sickness or health. This love cannot then be merely a feeling. To express this, in the English language the same word, “love” is both a noun and a verb. While it is something we have it must also be something that we do. If that which we feel is not communicated in a manner that convinces the one we love that they are loved, love will not live between us in our relationship. There can be not greater investment to a marriage relationship than to deepen our understanding of and hone our expression of love. We need to discover not only what it love but how best to express love to our mate so that each feels honored, cherished, treasured, precious despite all of the pressures life sends our way.
Loving Weddings do not Ensure Loving Marriages
At the wedding ceremony this seems a given–love is what we aspire to at weddings, that’s what the whole celebration is about, that’s what the honeymoon launches. But the pressures of marriage, the challenges of family responsibilities, the inevitable adjustments required for peaceable living together tend to tear at the seams of love. Couples who lack a thorough understanding of love may lack the depth necessary to the life-time love needed by marriage. It is hoped that the following will deepen this understanding and enrich your relationship, wedding and marriage.
What is Love… really?
Questions about Love
Is this really love?
How can I know for sure?
What is love anyway?
Is the feeling I have when I am with this person clear evidence that I am in love?
How can I know that this love feeling will last?
What is love, really?
I think that there are a lot of components that contribute to answer questions such as these.
Love has Chemistry
Chemistry, while important, only starts the ball rolling. There is an attraction that is often difficult to quantify or even to understand what prompts it–but there it is. Without it friendship is all you might ever have, but with it true romance can blossom.
Romantic Love must Mature
This feeling, however, is not the only love that will keep a marriage fresh and alive through the years. For this, romantic love must mature into love that exceeds feelings. This is more a matter of maturity and character than infatuation.
For this the question becomes less a matter of, “Am I in love?” and more a matter of, “Am I or are we loving?”
Love is a Noun and a Verb
Too often, in our society, we look for love that is a noun-love; that is, something we feel or have. For love to pass the test of time, however, it must be a verb. Rather than being in love or having love we must be loving in our attitudes and action toward another.
The word “love” is at one and the same time a noun and a verb. It may be something you feel, but it is always something you do. The feeling should issue in actions consistent with the caring, or love is not communicated and received.
Mature love–what is it?
Mature love goes even one step further. Mature love is not love that is connected with feelings, but rather based on a genuine selfless commitment to the one who is loved. This is the essence of marriage vows. You do not promise a feeling, for feelings often have a life of their own. In marriage you pledge your love to your mate for better or for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, for the rest of your lives. To make the sweetness of your marriage last you must discipline yourself to nurture your relationship by communicating love clearly and consistently so your mate feels securely treasured in that love.
Love must be Given Away
“Love in the heart is not there to stay;
Love is not love unless we give it away.”
And as you give it away by your manner of life toward others, love grows and sweetens.
Love is like a hole in the ground–the more you take from it the bigger it gets. You can never exhaust it. It grows with exercise.
Our Expression of Love can get Messed Up
The kind of love necessary to marriage transcends feelings. To be communicated we must learn how to express love so that others important to us, especially our mate, gets the message. Love must connect to behavior. Love is more a matter of being loving than of being in love. More a matter of the verb “love” than of the noun “love”.
The Love Chapter
This connection is very clear in the “love chapter” in the Bible, especially if it is spread into a checklist of behaviors–a collection of actions that love should make habitual. Some of these may not be natural behaviours for us and some are more difficult than others. Selflessness is not easy yet it is the essence of love.
We all need our love tuned to a higher standard than our society understands or promotes. To assist you in this, use the Check List of Love to determine whether or not you are communicating genuine love.