What is True Love?

What is true love? Well, let me start by telling you what I know it isn’t. Love is not a feeling, because feelings change day in and day out and 1 Corinthians 13 clearly states that “Love never ends”. Now, I’ve always known in my head that love isn’t a feeling, but I didn’t realize until recently quite how diverse love really is. Love is based on actions. Love is putting someone else above yourself and being willing to do whatever it takes to take care of them. Love is wanting the absolute best for that person, and pursuing that selflessly. But that can look different for different people and at different times.

Love is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person’s ultimate good as far as it can be obtained. — C. S. Lewis

Love doesn’t always, and honestly rarely does, look like a knight in shining armor saving a damsel in distress. But even thinking realistically, in my day to day life, love takes many different forms. On days that I’m happy and life is good, I am receptive to my friends and family showing me they love me by saying kind and encouraging things, by planning fun things for us to do together, or by giving me hugs. But on days where I’m feeling my lowest, those things aren’t what I need. Sometimes I just need someone to sit quietly next to me while I cry or to listen to me rant for a while.

I’ve been overwhelmed this year with all of the different things that love looks like. It can take completely opposite forms at different times. Sometimes it means talking to someone for hours, and sometimes it means understanding that they aren’t ready to talk about something or are too busy to do so. Sometimes it looks like making a big deal out of someone’s birthday, while other times it means knowing that they just need calm and quiet.

Through all the ups and downs of life there’s a few things that I’ve learned are constant about love. Patience. Love always looks like putting the other person before yourself. The opposite of love is not hate, but rather selfishness. That always requires being patient and understanding. Stepping back and remembering that this person is so important to you and it’s more than worth it to be patient and loving.

“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends” — 1 Corinthians 13:7-8

I’ve learned that I love lots of different people in lots of different ways, and that’s how God designed life in community to be lived out. I’m so blessed by the people God has surrounded me with, to share His love with and to be loved by. He’s shown me that He is the standard of true love, that true love was demonstrated for me on the cross, and that I need to strive to live with that kind of love every day. Selfless. Relentless. True.