In Marriage, What Does Love Really Mean?
Love Is More Than A Feeling
How did the older generations do it? How did so many of them stay married until death parted them? And why are so many people today divorced?
Divorce can happen to anyone, but have you ever wonder why it is so common anymore?
I've been thinking about the word "love", and I have come to realize that it is much more than a feeling. We often use it to describe material things:
"I love my car!"
"I love those shoes!"
"I love lobster."
But if you look at the true meaning of love, it goes much deeper than how you feel about something at the present moment.
True love is committed. It's something that holds on when times are tough, when things are going wrong, and when you are struggling with emotions of anger or bitterness.
If your car gets old and breaks down constantly, you probably won't continue your commitment to it when a more reliable ride comes your way, at an affordable price.
When you buy those shoes you "love", and they give you blisters every time you wear them, you will probably find yourself hating them before too long.
If you eat too much lobster and get really sick, you may not be able to bring yourself to eat it anymore.
That type of love is fleeting-there is no true, deep commitment to those things.
Think about how you love your children. We don't need to make any vows about loving them, because we already do-we are deeply committed to them. For better for worse(ever had a teenager trying to find his way in life?), for richer or poorer(want to dump your kids because you can't pay your bills?), in sickness and in health(do you love your child less because he has cancer?) I know that all of us can answer each of these questions without even thinking about it. We love our children beyond words, and of course not! We don't love them less because they are going thru awkward teen stages, or because we have too many bills, or because he or she was born with a terminal illness. They are ours for keeps!
Unfortunately, many people no longer view marriage this same way, even though we vowed at an altar that we would stay committed.
You may wonder, what should married people do when they don't love each other any more?
- First of all, don't jump the gun. Really evaluate your situation, and do some soul searching. Remember-love in marriage means commitment. Are you committed? Do you stay committed to your spouse when you are at work, out with friends, away on business? Even if you don't feel those butterflies in your stomach anymore when your companion walks in the room, it isn't a reason to end a union. Love settles down, and the feeling becomes something deeper than just an excited feeling. It becomes your security and comfort. When you both stay committed, that is a trust that you will grow to appreciate more and more.
- There is a saying-If the grass looks greener on the other side, water your grass. You may think that moving on to a new relationship will bring back those butterflies, but in time, they will disappear once again. Marriages need tended to. Do things together, keep some fun in your relationship. Learn to be friends.
- Learn to communicate. When you need to discuss important issues, keep your voices calm, and talk to each other as if you are talking to a fragile person. Listen to how the other person feels, and be honest with yourself if one of your faults is brought to light. Really evaluate yourself, and don't become defensive if your spouse is really trying to help you. All of us have faults. It is not a shame to admit it. When trying to point out to your spouse something that bothers you, do not use accusing statements. Instead of saying, "You do this or that!", say, "I feel like my feelings don't matter in this situation", or something like that.
- Seek counselling if all else fails. I'm convinced that many marriages could be saved, if both people in the marriage will honestly desire help, whether it be learning to communicate with each other on your own, or if you need to find a middleman to help.
When you stood at the altar together, divorce was not in your mind. It still doesn't have to be. Remember that love is a very deep commitment, in the good times and the bad. Most of the bad times will pass, and when they do, you will be glad that you were committed.
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