I get a newsletter every week from Dr. Gary Chapman who has authored many books on marriage and relationships including The Five Love Languages (which is great) and in the most recent newsletter was this article. Although he is talking about love between a man & woman in a marriage, I think it can be applied to all relationships. Read on:
"Love is Not a Feeling
I really do believe that “love makes the world go round.” Why would I say that? Because God is love. It is His love for us that makes all of life meaningful. So, what does that have to do with marriage? God made us for each other. Husband and wife – designed to work together as a mutual support team to discover and fulfill God’s plans for their lives.
In a word, love is the choice to look out for each other in the same way that God looks out for us. It doesn’t require warm feelings, but it does require and open heart.
Love is not our only emotional need, but it interfaces with all other needs. If I feel loved by my wife, then I also feel good about myself. After all, if she loves me, I must be worth loving. Ultimately, it is discovering that God loves me that gives me my greatest sense of worth. Also, if my spouse loves me, I’m more likely to feel that my life has significance.Threat or Haven?Spouses become God’s agent for helping their partners feel loved. Few things are more important than encouraging one’s spouse to accomplish God’s plans. Marriage is designed to help us accomplish more for God. Two are better than one in His kingdom.
If we do not feel loved in marriage, our differences are magnified. We come to view each other as a threat to our happiness. We fight for self-worth and significance, and marriage becomes a battlefield rather than a haven.
Love is not the answer to everything, but it creates a climate of security in which we can seek answers to those things that bother us. In the security of love, a couple can discuss differences without condemnation. Conflicts can be resolved. Two people who are different can learn to live together in harmony. We discover how to bring out the best in each other. The decision to love your spouse holds tremendous potential.
The Power of LoveI believe that love really does make the difference between success and failure in a marriage. Keep in mind that love is not a feeling, but love stimulates feelings. The euphoric feelings of the “in love” experience are temporary; usually two years or less. But when we learn to love each other effectively we keep warm emotional feelings alive. Life is much better when we feel loved. "
My favorite part of this is when he says that if he feels loved by his wife then he feels good about himself. Isn't that true for all of us? If we feel that someone loves us & truly cares for us then we feel like we are worth loving & that our lives really do have significance! I hope that we can all show more genuine love to those around us so that they in turn will feel like their life is of value & they are worth loving.