Valentine’s Day is coming soon. Isn’t it romantic?! The focus is on hearts, cards, chocolates, roses, and various gifts. Many couples decide to get engaged on Valentine’s Day. Some plan their weddings for the month of February. How wonderful to be in love!! Yet, there seems to always be the question of how to hang onto that “lovin’ feeling?” What is true love anyway? How can we have lasting love . . . that “‘til death do us part kind of love?” Here are some marks of love that stands the test of time.
Lasting love is committed. There is an attitude of sacrifice. Commitment communicates that no matter what happens, I will be here for you . . . for better or worse. There is a long term view of the relationship and of growing old together. Most people don’t really realize what they are committing themselves to when they say their marriage vows. We cannot know what lies ahead in our life journey, but we can be totally committed to the journey together. It is important to take those vows seriously. We speak them before witnesses and the Lord God. Unwavering commitment will see us through the tough times together. Commitment is easy when everything is pleasant and going well. The true test of commitment is found in difficult times. A person’s willingness to inconvenience themselves for someone else reveals their level of commitment. When someone chooses not to be inconvenienced for the benefit of a person they say they care about, they are not committed to that relationship.
Lasting love is kind. Genuine kindness is also patient, not jealous, not bragging, and is not arrogant. (See I Corinthians 13: 4). Kindness is not selfish. It does not return evil for evil or hold a grudge. It does not do “pay backs” to get even when hurt. Kindness is altruistic and unselfish with no thought of personal benefit. Pure kindness is genuine caring for another person. There is no thought of what’s in it for me. Lasting love treats other people with kindness even when we do not want to. Lasting love remains kind when the other person is least lovable. Kindness is a stable and consistent choice that is not influenced by another person’s behavior or their own feelings.
Lasting love prioritizes the other person. It communicates that after God, you are the most important person in my life. Lasting love makes time and takes time for the other person. Lasting love does not take love for granted. Love must be tended with great care like someone tends a garden. We must nourish the garden and keep intruders out. Time is required. Team work is required. Relationships require care and attention.
Lasting love is truthful. Love is characterized by seeking and speaking truth. Love and deception are mutually exclusive. It is impossible to say we love someone and then tell them a lie that we do not quickly repent of and correct. A lie is a violation of a relationship. What we are actually saying when we lie to someone we care about is we love ourselves more than we love them.
Lasting love is trustable. When we love someone, we care about their ability to trust us. We will be intentional about earning their trust and being dependable. We will pay attention to whether they are trustable or not. People who are trustable are consistent in what they say and do. They are above reproach in their integrity. They do not try to deceive or distract. They are direct and clear rather than cryptic and confusing. They do not get angry or defensive when questioned about something. It is their purpose to communicate well and build trust.
Lasting love is humble. Real humility is a sign of a transparent and confident person. They have a clear conscience and nothing to hide. They are imperfect, but they are okay with who they are. They have a healthy self image knowing they are unconditionally loved by God, their Creator. They are teachable, able to receive feedback, open to loving correction. They do not get defensive. They are able to say they are sorry, and they are able to forgive. They are good listeners because they are empathetic and honestly care about others.
“But now abide faith, hope, and love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (I Corin. 13:13)
Happy Valentine’s Day,