Sometimes the emotions burn along with the choice to love, but not always.
Loving is so much harder when the emotions aren't there to back it up. But I think when we love anyway, it becomes much more real, or mature, and many times the feelings follow the action.
In a recent Hearts-to-Go enewsletter (to get this free resource delivered to your e-box once a month go here and submit your e-mail address!), Jill Savage talked about this concept. It reflected a lot of what I've been learning, so I asked if I could share it with you.
Immature love is a noun. A thing we long for. A feeling. An expectation of what someone will do for us.
Mature love is a verb. An action we take. A decision. A choice to do something for someone else.
Unfortunately too many of us have yet to mature in our love, and our relationships bear the scars of that fact. But it's never too late to grow up. If we want our love to last a lifetime, we can't afford to keep believing that love is a noun. The feeling of love is short-lived. We have to transition to understanding that long-lasting love is really a verb.
But what does this English lesson of nouns and verbs have to do with real relationships? How do we take this concept and apply it to real life? Maybe these scenarios can help paint the picture.
Love as a noun spent all last week wondering what your spouse was going to do for you for Valentine's Day. Love as a verb spent all last week preparing your expression of love for your spouse.
Love as a noun feels despair when you no longer feel "in love" with the person you are married to. Love as a verb understands the ebb and flow of feelings. It focuses more on expressing love than feeling love.
Love as a noun demands its own way. Love as a verb works to understand differences and is open to new ways of doing things.
Love as a noun finds faults in others. Love as a verb gives grace and forgiveness.
Love as a noun expects others to serve them. Love as a verb serves freely.
Love as a noun expects to always feel warm and fuzzy and "in love." Love as a verb realizes that often we have to choose to love even when we don't feel like it.
Over the last few months I have been realizing that I am lousy at love. I've chosen to focus on love as a noun with my husband and kids more times than I'd care to recount by reacting to them with immaturity and selfishness instead of acting out love as a verb.
I am a work in progress.
I'm so thankful for my Savior who patiently teaches me these lessons. He shows me how to love through his example and encourages that I can love better because He first loved me.
May your Valentine's Day be filled with that kind of love today!
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, 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. Love never fails."
1 Corinthians 13:4-8a