When You Love Someone...

Traditional vows in a wedding read as this: 

“I ___, take thee ___, to be my lawfully wedded (husband/wife), to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, ‘till death do us part…” 

I love traditional vows and I love personal vows. I have watched enough people in marriage and am close to several married couples who tell me that marriage is great, but also really hard work. Given the fact that it was Valentines Day recently, I was thinking — probably unconsciously — about what it means to love someone well.

I can’t pretend to know what it means to be in a marriage or even claim to understand the highs and lows that come with being legally wedded to someone. I can’t even pretend to know what it’s like to have a “first love,” but I do know what it means to love unconditionally because I have the greatest person exemplifying that love for me in the Bible: Jesus. 

I love serving people and leaving them better than when I found them. If this means taking ten minutes to have a short conversation, sharing my heart with others through writing or in-person interaction, then I am going to do it from an overflow that comes from my heart. 

If this means taking twenty minutes to clean up a kitchen for someone, then I am going to take that time, because that has the capacity to show love and honor. If this means taking fifteen minutes to sit with a small child to read and look at fun animals in a storybook when my brain is still waking up in the morning, then that is what I’ll humble myself to do, even if it is not my first and immediate gifting. 

At the end of the day, I think that love is mostly about taking the small burdens off of another in order to make their life a little bit easier.

I think there might be this idea and stigma that love can be bought or that love can change another person. But real love can’t possibly be bought and it can’t possibly be made different. When love is real, you love because someone is. Not because of what you can get from them, not because of an ulterior motive, and not because you believe they will eventually change their ways… Certainly not because you’ve pushed and tried over and over again. 

Love is a fluid being. Love is. 

After many years of trying to push love throughout college, I realized after it was too late that trying so hard was wrong. The ulterior motive of my heart was not pure. This ulterior motive ultimately pushed a good friend and someone I cared for away. The burden of my own mistake and fault often still carries with me in different seasons of my life now, but not nearly as much or as hard as it did four or five years ago now.

I think love is supposed to be free. It doesn’t cost much, but it also costs everything in regard to physicality and mental capacity.

Showing someone you love them can be as easy as spending time with them, encouraging them to go after the things they have only ever dreamed about, letting them know they are seen, loved, and understood and loving them exactly as they are without asking them to change a thing. 

Love is a journey, a sharing together. The older couples I know tell me that when you eventually get married, you share new life in a way you never had before, but that it is also a complete acceptance that grants you freedom to be yourself and never question whether you’ve got to be a certain way or not. 

Over time, people age and wrinkle. 

But love transcends old age. 

It must see beyond. 

It must give grace. 

It must be everyday, in the mundane. 

How are you choosing to love well?