What is Love?

What is Love?  When we get married, we are confident that everything will be perfect because “we are in love”.  We read in I Corinthians 13 that love is patient and kind; and feel confident in our ability to be just that to our husband.  I Corinthians 13 does give the characteristics of real love; but how we want to receive love and feel loved, as an individual, can be very different from what our spouse desires. We have all heard the phrase, treat others the way you want to be treated, but have you ever thought what we really should do is treat others the way THEY want to be treated.

Growing up, I was blessed to have a mother who cooked every night.  I now know, one of the reasons I felt loved was because she gave of herself by preparing a meal for our family. Fast forward to the first couple of years in my marriage; I worked so hard to have extravagant meals each night, the kind with at least 10 ingredients in it.  I was showing my man how much I loved him.  Imagine my surprise when he said, “You know I am good to have a sandwich for dinner every now and then”.  What?  I couldn’t believe it.  He would much rather have me sit on the couch, side by side, with him to watch a movie  instead of in the kitchen preparing a fancy meal.

Now don’t get me wrong, I believe 100% that meals should be eaten together as a family at the table, even if it is just the two of you. The time that is spent together during a meal is priceless. I realized to show him love it did not need to be a dinner that took hours to prepare, he needed something else from me, not wrong just different, from what I knew. He needed more side by side with me.

Whether you grew up in loving home or one that was less desirable, you have determined what constitutes real love.  If he is doing this, then he must love me and if he is not doing that, he must not love me.  We have to stop to realize that we have come from different families with different backgrounds and traditions. 

So back to the question, what is love?  Have you asked him?  I have seen so many couples work hard to show the other love, yet missing the very thing that the other needed the most to feel loved. It could all be quickly resolved by simply asking the question:

  • How would you know that I loved you?
  • What do you need from me to show you I love you? 

Wow, a few simple questions that can save so much heart ache and wasted time on things that may not be important.

I have learned that I can not tell my husband I love him and then ignore the fact he has asked me to shop within a budget, even if it means buying him something new.  He cares more about the finances of our family then how hot I think he will look in the new shirt. On the flip side, while out shopping, years ago, with a girlfriend, her husband was a little hurt when she did not return with him a little gift that said she was thinking of him while we were out.

To show me love, my husband has learned going on a long walk, just to talk (thankfully he likes that too) or helping me with household responsibilities is more important than any fancy jewelry or flowers.

 Philippians 2: 2-4 says:

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.

 Instead of showing love the way we want or how we THINK he wants, let’s save ourselves some time and put our energy towards “what is love” to him.