things love is not

Posted: February 7, 2015 in Uncategorized

She had finally fled from her marriage, after years of enduring savage, secret abuse at the hands of her husband – the whole spectrum, from deranged accusations of having cheated on him inside of their house while he slept, to being stricken in the back by a thrown hammer.  We who loved her had not known until she gathered the courage to leave.  Now she was working to build a whole new life, and while she did so, he was stalking her.  There was constant surveillance along with unspoken and very direct threats.  There really WAS not safe place for her.

Fearful for her life, I was worrying aloud about her to a mutual friend.  That was when I heard the comment I couldn’t process:  “He must have really loved her, if he’s trying this hard to make her stay.”


Trying to MAKE someone stay with you is not love, whether the trying is by force, threats, and intimidation, or by manipulation.  That’s not love.

We are confused, as a culture, about what love is.

Love is not an overpowering need for someone.  That is lust, or codependence. Or maybe fear of loneliness. Not love.

Love is not a rush of emotion in someone’s presence.  That is a crush.  Or lust.  Or just simply the newness of it all.

Love is not the craving to have someone need you.  That is just running from the emptiness inside, and actually cannot be fixed in a healthy and permanent way by filling it with just any old relationship.

Love is not the need to be around someone every minute.  That’s too many other things to quantify here, but it ain’t love.

Love is not the desperate need for someone to “complete” you.  Healthy people are complete in and of themselves (and with my faith background, I cannot compute that one without adding “with God.”)  If you are incomplete, what’s lacking is NOT a magical partner.

Love is not the desire to change or protect someone.  Codependence maybe.  Control problems, perhaps.  Not love.

Love is not a rush of excitement – that’s something much shallower than love.

I heard a man say once that his grandpa told him, as he looked for love, “You want to find someone you can TALK TO in bed.”  When you’re out there wandering around, single and not wanting to be, it’s easy enough to find someone who can turn you on.  But can you picture talking for hours to that person in bed?  Just…talking?  Or would you pretty quickly run out of things to say and have to “change the subject” to sex in order to avoid awkwardness?

Love is being so invested in someone that you want the best for them, even when what they want something else – you don’t just want to please them.

Love is a willingness to really SEE someone, “warts and all,” as they say, and love them just like that.  Not adding how much better they’re going to be because of your “love.”  Not blinding yourself to their shortcomings and tacky tastes and imperfections.  Just…seeing all of it, and loving them, whether nothing changes or everything does.

Love is the willingness to give up the right to be right – the right to win the point.

Love necessarily includes loving yourself enough to not tolerate being abused.  If you’re letting someone torment you, that is not love.  It’s something else.  God is not applauding you for sticking to it.  He loves you too much to want that life for you.

Love is a willingness to say hard things in gentle ways, and to shut up when popping off is the temptation, and to extend both wisdom-filled grace, and grace-filled wisdom.

Love is serving the other – not to make points, not to smooth a mood, not because you have to, but because you want to give, freely.  You want to bless.  It’s not a transaction where I do something nice for you and then hold a grudge because you don’t do the right amount of niceness in return.

At least, those are some of MY thoughts on love.

What are yours?


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