THE MECHANICS OF LOVE (This is not as boring as it sounds.)

THE MECHANICS OF LOVE (This is not as boring as it sounds.)

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Love is more than an emotionSome say love is an emotion, maybe even an uncontrollable passion or desire. Many define love as a tangible intangible, something we know and feel but find hard to define or describe.

As if walking in and out of Taco Bell, mucho people fall in and out of love. On a good day, they are consumed with warm fuzzies for their hunk or hottie. They’ll post on Facebook or Twitter, “Isn’t he adorable?” “My babe is awesome!” But on the not-so-good days, their minds wonder and their hearts wander. “Maybe I can do better.”

Not too long ago, I asked a 20-something to define love in her world. She instantly replied, “Love is like when all I can think about is him and like all I want to do is be with him because he like makes me so happy.”

For her, love was a feeling—an emotional high that made her ecstatic.

I asked her, “What are you going to do when you go days or weeks or months and he’s not making you so happy anymore?”

She laughed and said, “That would never happen with us, but if it did, he’d regret it!”

Love is more than convenience

Recently, I read an article about love, written by Hanan Parvez . Here’s what he said:

  • “Love is an emotion that motivates us to seek happiness.”

  • “Why do we fall in love with someone . . . because they satisfy our emotional needs.”

  • “We fall in love with those who have what we need.”

Our culture says love is fun. Love is about feeling good. Love is erotic. Love is about being happy and having our needs met. Love is what it is, and it can’t be manufactured. Love is about me.

I disagree.

Love is work

In fact, before you exit this blog and look for the unsubscribe button, give me five more minutes and read on.

What if love is a choice?

What if love goes beyond, way beyond, feelings and emotions, and is based on something far more secure and steadfast?

What if love can be manufactured?

Let me explain.

In my over forty years of marriage, there have been times (lots of them) when I’m emotionally spent and easily irritated. There are times (many of them) when I’m not sure my wife and I even like each other let alone love each other. Frankly, if I were to define love the way our society does, then I’ve fallen in and out of love with Laura hundreds of times.

If my love for my wife is based solely on my feelings, then our marriage is destined to fail. However, if my love for Laura is built on and driven by something far more than emotion, then neither the state of my heart nor any circumstances we face will derail our bond.

Do I deny the emotions often attached to love?

No.

Am I saying you should love like a robot that is programmed to do so without any feelings?

No.

What I am saying is that love, true love for my wife, is a decision I made to invest in her, to care for her, and to honor our marriage. It is a resolve to stand on a covenant of choice in our marriage rather than a contract of convenience.

Love is a decision

When I feel nothing, I love. I choose to do what’s best for her and our marriage.

When I feel irritated, I love. I choose to treat her as I want to be treated. (It’s called the golden rule, and it applies to marriage.)

When I’m bored and there’s not a lot (or any) passion, I love. I choose to honor my vow to “love and cherish—no matter what.”

It’s exciting and erotic when I feel great passion for my wife. It’s easy to love her when she’s easy to love. It’s awesome when she makes me happy and meets my needs.

But sometimes . . .

  • Love requires sacrifice.

  • Love means putting her needs before my own.

  • Love is a choice to do what’s right even when I’ve been wronged.

  • Love is an intentional decision to honor our marriage and my vows.

Love is sacrifice

When I say, “love can be manufactured,” I mean love can be built and developed through personal choice. When I refer to the “mechanics of love,” what I have in mind is that love is created and best maintained in a covenant marriage in which you and I choose to practice love no matter what.

By the way, if you’re screaming, “That’s hypocritical!” then maybe no one’s told you before that choice should be the engine of life and emotion the caboose. When we allow emotion to drive us, we typically get into trouble. However, when we make good choices, more often than not good and healthy emotions follow.

We do the right thing again and again because it’s the holy and right thing to do. We forgive because we’ve been forgiven, not because it’s easy. We love because God has loved us, not because it’s fun or convenient.

And I can promise you this: Your choice is the engine that will keep your marriage on track and take you over the mountains of adversity.

Choosing to love is not hypocritical; it’s wise and godly and the only secure path to a long and lasting marriage.

How you feel matters, but what you choose to do regardless of how you feel matters far more.

Choose well. Live well. Be well.

Love is not hypocritial

For this is the message you heard from the beginning:

We should love one another.

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid

down his life for us.

And we ought to lay down our lives for our

brothers and sisters.

Dear children, let us not love with words or speech

but with actions and in truth.

1 John 3:11, 16, 18 (NIV)

 

Like what you’ve read here today? Check out all five of my books on Amazon. Some of the eBook versions can be purchased for only $2.99.

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You might also be interested in my newest book for children: Pete the Prodigal Pumpkin! A Good News Halloween Story.

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12 Responses to THE MECHANICS OF LOVE (This is not as boring as it sounds.)

  1. I watch lots of folks in my generation live by the seat of their emotional pants, and have a trail of destruction behind to remember it by…and they still think it’s the “correct” way to live!

    • Hmmmm…I like that phrase (might have to steal it) — and yes, you’re right, too many “live by the seat of their emotional pants.” Thanks dude!

  2. Thank you for ur honest words…these are things I strive for in my own marriage…it’s VERY hard & even more so when I see my brother in law just give up..saying he does not want to stay married to his wife…he has & is engaged in bad things outside of marriage & wants to be “free” to pursue them…. I’m stunned..I am angry(but this isn’t about me) & my hurt for my sister in law… I want SO BAD to show him these articles/blogs…I want to show him my copy of your book mr & Mrs…but I don’t know if that is something I should do…, I shouldn’t put my two cents into something that is none of my business… I just can’t believe that they are divorcing because my brother in law thinks he needs to be “free”.. I just can’t believe this is a side I never EVER saw of him in the 20+ years I have been married into the family… I don’t know who this person is that says he is my brother in law…& yes, I do pray for him & his soon to be ex-wife that they find peace with Gods help…even though neither go to church….I DO understand this shouldn’t be about me..although reading back over this it sounds like it is…I’ve just never been this close to a breakup up of loved ones before… REALLY… I have no clue how to deal…I LOVE my sister in law & want to keep HER in my life & my kids lives..& shamefully have not very nice words to say about my brother in law & his selfishness but I have sat & listened with out comment when my sister in law wanted to talk…I’m just kinda glad reading minds isn’t a reality because I was not nice in my thinking about HIM..
    Why is commitment such a HARD word to follow thru on?? Why is it so hard to open your heart to ONE person before God & follow they on that promise forever?
    Why? why ? Why ???

  3. This goes very well with a previous post I gave you about my Dad caring for my Mom with dementia. I, too, try very hard to follow but must admit I could never do it on my own ability, without the Holy Spirit it is impossible. I hope and pray my own sons have got the message.

  4. What happens if you are in a relationship where one person is a believer and the other is not. The one that believes they married for better or worse feels “obligated” or even guilt for not sticking around hoping they could pull through yet another disappointment. Do they remain in a “roller coaster” relationship hoping things will change if the other party will not try to get the help they need? This is my dilemma. I love this blog and would like to share it but I’m afraid it will make the “believer” feel guilt. The unhappiness remains and nothing changes.

    • Hi Bonnie, great questions. All marriages are work. A marriage with an unbeliever is even more so. That being said, I would still encourage the believing partner to honor his/her vows as best as possible regardless of the other. Our first love is Jesus, and He takes marriage and our vows seriously. Honestly, in his situation, the believer should seek out pastoral/godly counsel even if his/her partner refuses to go. Obviously, it’s tough to address the specifics of this situation in a brief blog response, however, here’s what the Apostle Paul had to say:

      1 Corinthians 7:12-16The Voice (VOICE)

      12-13 To everyone else, here’s my counsel (this is not a direct command from the Lord; it is my opinion): if a brother has a wife who does not believe Jesus’ teachings and the truth of His resurrection, he is to stay with her as long as she is willing to live with him. The same is true for any sister; you should not leave your husband even if he has no allegiance to Jesus. 14 Here’s the reason: An unbelieving husband is consecrated by that union—touched by the grace of God through his believing wife—and the same is true when the husband is a man of faith and he’s wed to an unbelieving wife. His wife is consecrated through their union. If this weren’t so, your children wouldn’t be pure; but as it is when faith enters in, God sets apart these children to be used uniquely for His purposes. 15 If the unbelieving spouse decides the marriage is over, then let him or her go; the believing partner is freed from the marital vows because God has called you to peace. 16 Remember that anything is possible, so the life you lead and the love you show under this strain may be what finally liberates your partner.

      Hope this helps. Praying…

      • Thank you Kurt for your response. I agree that the believer should seek pastoral/godly counsel despite their spouse’s belief. However, there are other factors such as alcohol and possible PTSD that come into play that makes me wonder how much a person can/ should tolerate.

        • Sounds like a very tough situation. Coming from a home/family with drug/alcohol abuse, I know how difficult this is for a marriage and a family. However, the only “circumstance” Jesus gave as a “out” in marriage is adultery. Again, that being said, a pastor or Christian counselor can (and will) be able to help someone determine how to best walk through this extremely difficult problem. It’s hard to provide adequate and complete counsel/perspective in a reply to a blog post. You might consider taking a look at my marriage book: Mr. & Mrs. ~ How to Thrive in a Perfectly Imperfect Marriage. I address covenant marriage and divorce in this book. Still praying…

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