Has your love ever been tested?
I remember, years ago, a mentor of mine saying that no two people should ever get married without first having an intense fight. Luckily, my then fiance (now wife) and I had that covered. About an hour after I asked her to marry me, we were standing in the street having a shouting match on a cold winter night. Classy, right? I know but we worked through it, and here we are still married after almost 25 years.
One of the mistakes we make when considering love (for a spouse, our children, or anyone else we claim to love) is that we assume that fond feelings must be attached. We might be endeared to a person and tell them that we love them. Love and endearment really aren’t the same thing.
I remember a guy walking up to me, after a particularly lively and emotional time of church worship, saying, “I love you man. I’m committed to you.” I hardly ever heard from him after that.
A very good friend of mine, who was married for decades, told me he was leaving his wife because he wasn’t enjoying himself anymore and there was a younger woman who made him feel special.
Here’s the thing I’ve learned about love. If you’re not willing to put the work into it, if you’re not willing to stick with someone when things get tough, if you’re not willing to commit when you’re not getting anything out of it, then it’s not love.
Maybe it’s like, maybe it’s fond feelings, maybe it’s fun. But it’s not love.
The thing with love (real love) is that it’s willing to work through the ugly, willing to go long periods of time performing acts of love without feelings, and even willing to pray, believe, and be kind when the other person is pushing you away.
I have an autistic son that is currently going through a phase where he flies into a rage for seemingly very small things. When he has one of these episodes, he says hurtful things, yells, and shakes his fist. My gut response is to say something cutting and walk away. I’m tired.
Every time, I have to make the a deliberate decision to love.
I have to intentionally speak with love, not fight fire with fire (which I sometimes fail at), and renew my commitment to walk with him through this season of his life. It’s hard but love is hard. Anyone who tells you differently is trying to sell you something.
Before I wrap this up, I want to ask you, who do you need to love stronger?
Have you checked out of one of your most important relationships? Do you find yourself judging people that really need love? Are you distancing yourself from someone who’s difficult to love?
Love stronger. Push through. Keep loving.
I recently wrote a short e-book called The Love Stronger Manifesto and I want to give you a copy. Just click here to download it. My prayer is that you’ll read it and accept the challenge to love yourself and others in a way that can change the world.
Love can heal broken people, can transform your life, and can make a difference in our families and communities.
We just need to love stronger.