Fifteen years ago today my husband and I first told each other "I love you". What we were thinking I'll never know, we had known each other a little less than two weeks. That we were attracted to each other was obvious, that we had a lot in common was clear, that we could love each other...possible. At the time it meant such things as, I think about you constantly, I think about spending my life with you, you have a lot of qualities I admire and you are really handsome.
I have long felt that love is not a place you fall, not something that hits you, and definitely not something that is done to you. You do not walk down the road and suddenly "fall in love". That would be describing attraction. Now attraction doesn't have to be merely physical. I was never attracted to people solely on looks, their character was always so dominant in my eyes I couldn't see handsome in an immoral person. I like attraction, it is a wonderful part of relationships, but it doesn't have near the staying power of love.
Love is a verb. That should be clear from the context anyway...in the sentence "I love you", love is obviously a verb. Grammatically and ideally, what we mean when we say "I love you" is that that we are capable of and choosing to be loving towards someone. I'm not talking about the starry eyed things...I'm thinking more of a classic definition of love: "charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily povoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things; Charity never faileth;" (1 Corinthians 13:4-8) Now that doesn't seem to connect remotely with this concept of romance that is peddled by the world. Really what is it that people want though...don't they want that kindness, understanding and patience in relationships? How would marriage change if people really loved the people they "love"?
Perhaps what we mean in those romantic relationships when we say "I love you" is "You are the person I want to love". Or perhaps we mean "I'm attracted to you and can love you". "You are the person I am going to learn how to love with " Now those phrases don"t appear in movies, and would sound rather awkward to say, but are quite a bit more honest. Perhaps there are people out there who are practiced and well versed in love, so that when they reach a marriagable age they are really ready to love. For me, I'm afraid I still have a lot to learn about love. Too often I see the man I love as heap of isn'ts. He isn't something enough, doesn't whatever as much as he should...yet no where in the definition of love is it dependent on what the object of love does or is. Our ultimate example of love, Jesus Christ, doesn't wait until we are something enough to love us. His greatest example of love, was surrounded by sleeping apostles, Judas' betrayal, cruelty of soldiers, the denial of Peter...yet he still loved.
This concept of love is humbling when all it takes for me is a wrong word on the wrong day and I get snappy.
Wouldn't it be wonderful if all the "lovers" in the world, went around actually loving people? Truely giving to them, helping them, listening, being patient, being kind and supportive. How ironic that instead we call people lovers when they are taking from each other and focusing on selfish pleasure...yet as long as they are attracted to each other it's all good.
Here's to true lovers of the world, and especially my dear husband...he happily drives a 15 passenger van, he rotates the laundry on a regualr basis, he eats burned food, he doesn't respond to my moody tirades, he humors my ever changing interests, he changes poopy diapers and the litter box, he works every day so I can stay home, he listens to me, he is patient as I struggle along in my role as homemaker, he is ever supportive in my desire to be a mother and he loves me.
I'm not exactly sure what we knew 15 years ago. In so many ways i feel like I somehow got lucky, or Heavenly Father was watching out for me in my innocence and ignorance. However it worked out...we love each other far more now.