BY ROY W. HARRIS
Spring is the time of awakening from winter’s long sleep and the bursting forth of new life. Just as Robins and Cardinals dance rituals of courtship, something magical happens to human beings.
Thoughts of LOVE and marriage march front and center culminating in June with the most weddings of any month.
LOVE is one of our strongest feelings. It impacts each of us. LOVE is not easily defined, yet we know when we experience it. The ancient Greeks used at least three words to describe LOVE. We use only one. Ours is a powerful little word that conveys many different meanings. We LOVE homes, vehicles, pets and even favorite foods. We also LOVE parents and other family members. These two types of LOVE bring joy and happiness but are very different from each other. We would gladly donate a kidney to one of our children or siblings if it might save a life. We would never make such a sacrifice for a material possession.
There is one more type of LOVE, the tender LOVE between a man and a woman. It is much different and supersedes all other kinds of LOVE. This LOVE motivates men and women to blend their lives together, creating fresh, shared new ones. They willingly choose to surrender individual freedoms and pledge to LOVE, honor and cherish each other for long as they both shall live.
LOVE is a feeling. With about half of all marriages ending in divorce, it would probably be wise to remind ourselves that LOVE is more than just a feeling. LOVE must be more than a physical attraction or the excitement of a new relationship.
True LOVE calls for trust, commitment and responsibility. In order to trust, we must allow ourselves to become vulnerable. We place the needs, wants and desires of the other person above our own. Some might say; “well that’s fine for the person on the receiving end, but what’s in it for me?” Certainly, if only one person is doing all the giving and the other all the taking, that’s a prescription for a relationship heading for trouble. But how wonderful a relationship can be when two people work hard at understanding and meeting the needs, wants and desires of each other. Instead of keeping score on what I’ve done for him or her and comparing that to what he or she has done for me, it becomes a daily passion to think of what I can do to make his or her day a little easier and more enjoyable. We experience one of the greatest feelings in the world when we give to others. The giving attitude should begin with that special someone and not be an afterthought when we’ve given our best to others.
Trust is the fertile soil upon which LOVE thrives and grows. Trust is more valuable in a relationship than a nice home, new car or large bank account. Once trust is lost, it cannot be easily regained. Even if recovered, the cause of the loss may leave a lasting scar long after it is forgiven. It may never be forgotten. One way we can guard the loss of trust is to never allow ourselves into situations that could result in making bad decisions that could impair or destroy or our trustworthiness. Caution is a safer course than risking the loss of something more valuable than gold A bad decision made in haste can produce a lifetime of unhappy consequences.
LOVE should also affect our behavior. Some wonderful verses used in many church weddings say it best. LOVE is patient and kind. LOVE isn’t jealous, loud or boastful. LOVE shows humility and not pride. LOVE is kind and not rude or selfi sh. LOVE keeps us from angering easily. LOVE doesn’t keep score. LOVE always protects, always trusts, always hopes and always perseveres.
One of God’s greatest gifts to the human race is LOVE. The scriptures teach us that faith, hope and LOVE are all valuable, but the greatest of the three is LOVE. A person is blessed if he or she finds LOVE once in a lifetime. I am fortunate to have found it twice; the first time with Diana my wife of thirty-three years who died after a three year battle with cancer, and a second time with Amy for almost three years now. I can truly say I am a blessed man and that LOVE is the greatest gift one can ever receive.