Love is a Verb

When you’re young, love seems like this elusive thing . . . a feeling, an emotion that you’ll know when you find “the one”.

You imagine falling in love will be like it is in the storybooks: You meet. You know instantly that he’s the one. You get married and live happily ever after.

Of course, he will be perfect.

He will always know the right thing to say, the right thing to do. He will be tuned in to your every thought and desire.

And he would never, ever dream of leaving his dirty socks on the floor.

Then you meet your knight in shining armor.

You pick out a big white dress and walk down the aisle, and your life together officially begins.

wedding

You step out in faith, promise your life to another human being, and hope for the best.

But who knew how long life could be?

Life brings all kinds of ups and downs. We all know this, and we know to expect it, but we don’t know what that really means. We have no idea what life has in store or how we will react to it.

The first time he leaves his dirty, balled-up socks on the floor for you to pick up, you realize the fairy tale might not be as idyllic as you once thought. And that perfect guy who was supposed to be in tune to your every want and desire? He will have his own wants and desires, and they may not line up perfectly with yours.

He might even WANT to say and do the right thing, but he’ll be lucky to get it right 50% of the time because guess what? You’re not always so easy to love.

It’s not just the little everyday annoyances that pop that bubble of perfect love that you had envisioned.

People get sick, people have trouble getting pregnant, people lose their jobs and get transferred away from family, people develop new interests, new friends. Life is full of surprises, and we really have no idea how we will react when faced with their realities. We surely have no idea how our knight in shining armor will handle them.

Life is hard. And loving someone through it all can be hard.

paul and me

Years ago my mom told me a nugget of wisdom that I have held onto ever since: love is a choice. 

My husband and I are coming up on our wedding anniversary next week, and throughout our 18 years of marriage, our love has evolved from that starry-eyed emotion to a daily decision to commit.

Love is a verb, not a noun.

It’s not the feeling I had when he put that sparkly ring on my finger. It’s the decision to get up every day and love through action.

What that means specifically changes with every day, with every season of life. And we don’t do it perfectly . . . but no one does, of course. What matters is that we do it. And when we don’t do it very well, we extend grace to each other and keep on plugging.

That is love. It’s not glamorous, but it is so worth it.