Many of us just observed Valentine’s Day, America’s annual celebration of love. But who knows what “love” really is?
Popular media tell us love consists of emotions and hormones. Take, for example, “The Bachelor”: Two dozen amorous females vie for the eye of Single Guy. Within weeks, with no other male options in sight, the surviving candidates declare themselves “in love” with Mr. Handsome. (By that juncture, they would probably fall in love with a telephone pole if it had biceps and an Adam’s apple.)
Do you remember the old sitcom – “The Love Boat”? Each week during a few days’ cruise, couples would discover the loves of their lives. With all those good-looking, trim and fit people cavorting about, it should have been “The Lust Boat.”
We talk about “falling” in and out of love, as if gravity has something to do with it. Does falling out of love involve a disturbance of gravitational force?
Emotions and hormones are important, but there’s much more to love than that. Shared experiences, conflict, laughter, tears, struggle – and mutual commitment to one another, no matter what – are keys to enduring love.
The Bible, interestingly enough, speaks about romance and sex, but gives other perspectives on love as well. It teaches that love is unconditional and sacrificial: “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4:10).
We have heard 1 Corinthians 13 recited at weddings so often it’s almost a cliché, but still it goes a long way in defining true love. It describes it as patient, kind, humble, selfless, truthful, trusting, hopeful, persevering. It says nothing about love being “sexy” or “hot,” but if those other qualities are present, the hot, sexy part will follow!