Lessons in making marriage awesome tip #6: Love. As in, it’s not about you.
We are quite irrationally obsessed with ourselves. Can’t blame us, we live with ourselves, it’s hard not to be… until we live with someone else. Nothing grates on my selfishness like someone else’s selfishness.
The key to it all is love, we say, love love love, all you need is love. Problem is, the object of my love looks a lot like my face. I even wrote a song about it when I was 5. It was titled ‘I love me.’
me me me, all you need is me.
Everything we’ve been told reinforces this idea. Culture tells me love is sex and money, the more I have the happier I will be (so marry hot and rich?) The dictionary gives a vague definition of it being some sort of feeling (so find someone who makes me tingle?) Valentine’s day reduces it to receiving cardboard hearts… (kindergarten?) And then there is marriage. And marriage makes me want to burn the dictionary, forsake my culture, and boycott Valentine’s day. None of them define my experience. These definitions point back to me me me, which is a setup for quite unsuccessful marriage. The truth about what love actually is, However, unearths the horrifying fact that me is not a part of it. Anywhere. Not even in the footnotes.
We think love is the answer to everything when we don’t even know what the word means. Forget the diamonds, the money, the sex-these ultimately shallow things. Love is far deeper than material goods and biology. There is absolutely nothing about love to suggest that we gain anything in return. To love someone is to give myself. It’s not about my desires. Not about my will. Not about my way. Love’s sole purpose is to seek the best for someone else. It is not demanding. Not conditional. Not entitled. Love is not a glutton, feasting on feelings and desire and attention. Love is a humble gift, proactively seeking opportunities to shower blessing, grace, mercy, and action on behalf of someone else’s need. *
Ultimately it is a choice that I make whether the opposite party deserves it or not and with abandonment of what I think I deserve in return.
We have made love about finding the right one for ME when in reality it is about BEING the right one to find. If you are seeking to truly love someone else, marriage is a great opportunity to die to yourself. If you are seeking someone to truly love YOU, you may or may not find that here.
*see 1 Corinthians 13