Does love break down and decompose, or is it the one thing that remains when all else is stripped away? Currently, most research shows that roughly fifty percent of people that exchange marriage vows will no longer be doing life together within the next eight years. How does that happen? When you say, “I do” it is supposed to be happily ever after. Can you fall out of love? Well, that depends on your definition of “love.”
Again, what is love? Different people have different answers to that question. Yet, we don’t get to define the word ourselves. There is no “this is what love means to me.” We cannot deconstruct the word and force it to fit within what is comfortable or easy to us. We can’t make love a convenience. Holy Scripture states that “God is love.” That is, to understand love we must understand what God is like. Love is a lifestyle. It isn’t just an emotion, it is also an action. Love is something you do.
Then Paul comes along, and he presents, in crystal clarity, what love is. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, 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.” Paul’s writing reminds us that love places the emphasis on the person being loved, not on the one that “loves”. In other words, love isn’t about me.
Then Paul drives his point into the center of our hearts when he says, “Love never fails.” When we make love about how we feel it can fail. When love is reduced simply to an emotion it can become cold. When love is centered on getting our needs met, it can crumble. When love is equated with lust it always dies. Yet, when we really love as Christ loves, it can never be destroyed.
It is as though Paul is saying that if you love like this, then love cannot fail. If we loved as God loves, then maybe more marriages would stay together. Life is not about us. Sure, we get to enjoy all that life offers. Life and relationships offer their share of rewards. But when we make life, and how we love, about us we imprison ourselves. So many people build their own emotional and relational prisons by making themselves the sole object of love. We are freed only by loving others the way they were meant to be loved.
So how are we doing? Who is the object of our love? Is it us or our spouse? Are we loving as Paul said to love? Faith, hope, and love are all important. But the greatest of all is love. When we love our spouse as God loves, it will remain. Regardless of what comes, it will always remain. It can never be destroyed. We might lose everything else, but love, real love, can never be broken.
According to the world, we love in order to be loved. According to the Word, we love because God first loved us. Whereas the world falls in love, God’s people are established in love. The love that we possess, however, is not a fleeting whim that comes and goes with every mood and circumstance; rather, it is a love that is beyond ourselves. Our love, true love, has meaning, meaning that cannot be stripped away by any thing, any one, or any feeling. Our love cannot be shaken because it is grounded not in self but in sacrifice. – Burk Parsons
Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.