Love is…

On Saturday, a women’s group at my church gathered for our quarterly mini-retreat. The topic: what is love? We began by looking at romantic love – there are plenty of examples in songs, stories and films. Every fairy tale that begins “once upon a time…” ends in “… and they lived happily ever after”. Here’s a modern example:

Sadly, that’s not the reality for many of us. Even in a happy marriage, a spouse may feel not quite fulfilled, a bit dry. You love your mate but sometimes you don’t like him or her. Every couple has their reasons for staying together, and there is help available to create a better marriage.

The 5 Love Languages ( is an important tool that can save a dying marriage. Discovering your own love language, and that of your spouse – even of your children, parents, friends – learning to ‘speak’ that language, will enrich each of your relationships.

But there is another kind of love – deeper and more profound. As Mother Teresa expressed it, “how can you love God, whom you do not see, if you do not love your neighbor, whom you see?”She was echoing the words of Jesus, who said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. The second most important is similar: ‘Love your neighbor as much as you love yourself.’  All the other commandments and all the demands of the prophets stem from these two laws and are fulfilled if you obey them. Keep only these and you will find that you are obeying all the others.”

The love that Jesus describes is an attitude of the heart. It’s an act of will, a decision, a series of choices and actions that you make intentionally. You can love someone you dislike or even hate. “Love your enemy” Jesus said. That doesn’t mean feeling warm and fuzzy about them; it means doing good, when you can do it, even to those who don’t deserve it.

We used a beautiful video clip from an old film, depicting Mary Magdalene meeting Jesus for the first time. It demonstrates some of the five love languages, as well as that bigger kind of love, to which we should all aspire.

Won’t you respond, as Mary did, to this kind of love?


About verawrites

Progress not perfection - that's my goal. Live and learn - that's my motto. I like to share bits of wisdom and glimmers of insight gleaned on my life journey of 50+ years. My hope is to encourage, perhaps inspire, fellow journeyers. Each of us has something to share. Let's be generous, gracious and compassionate with one another. I am blessed to be a blessing... so are you!
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2 Responses to Love is…

  1. bethbyrnes says:

    Well, the “love your enemies” to me is metaphor. I would find it impossible to actually love someone who repeatedly abuses me or anyone or anything else. The best I can do is use my professional training to understand the behavior and why someone acts out that way. Understanding and acceptance are about my limit with respect to “enemies”. And of course, if one invokes the New Testament, there are plenty of wise and caring instructions for how to treat enemies, there.

    As for love of God, for me it comes from gratitude for all the Divine does for me. I think we can genuinely experience that if we pay attention to our blessings in life and therefore love Someone we cannot see.

    Every other form of human love is either there or it isn’t. I love my mother and always have and always will. It comes naturally. Loving a spouse is daily work and has ups and downs. It takes commitment and patience, and I don’t always have those in abundance, admittedly. Once women were freed economically, we have the choice to stay or go in a relationship. Going is often the best thing, given whatever the spouse is doing.

    I do think your love languages concept is a good one. It really comes down to this: do unto others as they would have you do unto them. It is not even as you would have them do unto you. That is still egocentric, imho. I try to figure out what others want by imagining stepping into their shoes and then attempting to give them that thing, whatever it is, if it is within my means to do so.

    Love is such a complex topic! Thank you for reminding us, Vera. This is all just my initial response and my ideas that came to mind when I read your post.


    • verawrites says:

      It’s a small word but with a complex meaning. Love is not just a feeling – it’s forgiveness, kindness, patience, helping someone, praying for people who hurt you instead of seeking revenge. If Jesus could say, Father forgive them, they know not what they do, as they nailed him to the cross, how can we hold a grudge? No one should be a doormat or punching bag, but we are all broken human beings and we should be compassion. I have never been tested in this; if and when I am, I hope I can be like Jesus. It’s hard to hug a porcupine but they need love too 🙂


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