Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Love, love, love ... marriage

Love is incredible.  It picks us up and sweeps us away downstream.  It is difficult to explain, but there's hardly anything more overwhelming or more enjoyable.

Part of the difficulty in talking about it intelligently is our limited language.  Love is everything, at least it is in English.
Love (Attraction): there's this passionate physical connection between two lovers that makes no sense at all but is extraordinarily powerful.  Lots of feelings.  That's love perhaps, but in Greek it's érōs, meaning desire or physical attraction. It doesn't include actually knowing each other, by the way, and it can quickly happen all on its own if you're not careful.

Love (Affection): then there's the enjoyment of their company, the shared thinking, the pleasure of doing things together, the ever deepening walk side-by-side. That's philía, or the relational bonding over time. It can be truly deep and broad.

Love (Love); the last and greatest.  By choice, our self-first thinking gets left behind, and our life purpose lifts up the good of another for first consideration.  That's agápē, chosen unconditional love, and it's durable. 

These should be understood within the context of normal thinking and loving ourselves in a healthy way.  That's kind of like a wrapper around the others and brings balance.

Healthy children are self-centered and relational. Teens and preteens find themselves in a wildly fluctuating upheaval regarding what's important. Their whole world can change in a moment.  (chart, right) 

As we mature a bit, our hope is for a healthy heart, a balance in our thinking and decision making.  Or we can continue to operate on just feelings and circumstances.  Many do.

  • We can implode when things get hard; go off to pout (or divorce) like we did when we were toddlers.  
  • We can soar in the good moments and crash in the bad ones like we did as teenagers, falling in and out of love in a moment, controlled by our feelings. 
  • Or we can grow up, be courageous and thoughtfully willing to sacrifice a bit for the sake of another, the one we've chosen to love above ourselves.
Love, love, love ..., and marriage.  
A good marriage follows clear thinking and wise choices. You can have a healthy marriage, but it isn't automatic.  Like so many things in life, it's yours if you're willing to make it your priority and pursue it.  Otherwise, perhaps not.