True confession: I’m a sap when it comes to love stories, and I admit I love a happily ever after ending.
Falling in love can be magnificent.
It can awaken our senses to beauty. Suddenly, we notice the twittering of birds, the colors in the sky, the quiet creaking of trees, or the quirky sense of humor of that difficult coworker.
Falling in love stirs desire in us. It draws us like a magnet toward another person and intoxicates us at the thought that he or she could be drawn toward us.
Falling in love stokes courage in us—to walk across the room, to ask a question, to say out loud what’s in our hearts, to risk looking the fool.
And to be clear, falling in love isn’t just about courtship and marriage. We can experience a version of it in friendships, church fellowships, and parenting, too.
But the good of falling in love becomes a threat when we fall in love with falling in love. And I’m afraid we have. In fact, falling in love is often upheld as the goal of love, the way love is supposed to be, the reference point for a “good” marriage or relationship.
Turn on the radio and you’ll hear it or watch an evening of television and you’ll see it.
In reality, falling in love is only a sliver of love, only a chapter in what otherwise could become an epic tale.
Those who keep trying to get back to the original feelings they had when they first fell in love end up hopping from relationship to relationship, blaming their own lack of intimacy on others’ lack of “depth,” settling for the false intimacy of pornography or one night stands, or settling into relational routines with their spouse that demand little if any real relating.
In the end, the obsession with falling in love means pursuing one’s own personal pleasure over pursuing the good of another. And, to put it plainly, that’s anything but love.
Love in Scripture, the love that Jesus reveals to us, includes the magic of falling in love and so much more. Sometimes love means being wounded and remaining faithful or blessing when you have reason to curse.
Love means doing the hard work of knowing another intimately and taking the risks of being known. Love is both a gift and a service, a delight and a sacrifice. Maturing in love means learning to seek the other person’s well-being for their sake, not so they can do something for you. It means seeking to become more whole not for personal gain, but so you can become a better gift.
When this kind of love is freely given, it creates a place to be truly naked (in the fullest sense of the word), without shame.
Christ demonstrated this kind of love toward us on the Cross. It didn’t feel good, it didn’t look good, but it was good. It was love.
I’d love to hear from you. Beyond falling in love, what are some other pictures that convey what love is? What does love look like? Or what are some other descriptors of love.
Growing in love,