Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. – 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NIV
The way I view and experience love has changed so much over the years. It almost feels like the older I get, the more close I get to the actual meaning of love.
When it comes to romantic relationships, I’ve gotten it wrong so many times because I was focused more on the individual than the love that should have been being exchanged between us. In other relationships, such as those with my family, I didn’t realize the depths and showings of love that have been there all the time.
Some of these lessons were learned from my constantly evolving relationship with God and others were learned once I started to change myself. I’m sharing those lessons today on the blog.
Check them out below!
* Loving unconditionally is the only way to love.
First and foremost if you aren’t loving unconditionally, you’re doing it wrong. I know this can be a hard pill to swallow but it’s true. I’m a Christian and I use the biblical passage shown above (1 Corinthians 13:4-8) as a guide on how I should love others. Nowhere in that passage allows for “but,” “if/then” or “what if” when it comes to loving someone. When we love others unconditionally it means that we respect the ways that they’re different from us and we love them anyway. We don’t require them to meet certain conditions to love them. In short, we love them flaws and all because Jesus loves us in that manner.
* Love is not easy.
If you look at the biblical passage above to try and determine whether or not you’re actually showing love, then you’ll find that you aren’t hitting every single description. This brings me to my next point: love is not easy. Contrary to all the Instagram memes, loving someone takes work – especially when you’re trying to love them the way they deserve to be loved (unconditionally). I find myself having to cut my boyfriend slack on those days when he isn’t all that lovable because let’s be real, some folks are just flat out hard to love sometimes. Cutting him slack requires me to look at myself, my own flaws and be convicted because he still loves me when I’m not all that lovable either…which brings me to my next point.
* Love requires sacrifice.
It’s not all about you in the art of love. There will be days, maybe even years where you have to sacrifice a need or a want. This is part of love not being easy and also where I think a lot of us go wrong. Of course there should be a balance and mutual benefits, but we don’t live in a perfect world and balance will be hard to achieve sometimes and not necessarily because someone is at fault. Think about your parents and all the sacrifices they made for you that you could never return. Do they not love you because you can’t return the sacrifice or because they had to make sacrifices? I don’t think so.
* Love can come from the most unexpected places at the most unexpected times.
In my youth I always thought love came in a package that looked a certain way and I’m sure I missed out on a lot of love. The first time I actually allowed love to come to me instead of seeking it out, I ended up with a baby! :) My boyfriend is someone who I’d previously turned down and would’ve never, ever dated years ago but he’s the only person that has made me feel like I wasn’t the perfect, all-put-together woman I thought I was – and I fell in love with him for it because I needed to feel that. I wasn’t expecting to fall in love with him when I responded to his DM (he’s gonna get me for including that LOL) but I did and it has been a beautiful journey. My experience with him has helped me become open to receiving love regardless of what it looks like or who it comes from. My niece, in all her innocence, demonstrated her love for me by just hugging me out of the blue when she saw me crying. It was such a simple gesture but it meant SO much and showed me that love and the ability to receive it is within us all, at any time.
* Loves needs no apology or explanation.
You don’t owe anyone an explanation for why you love someone nor do you have to apologize for loving them. Especially in romantic situations, things just happen and two people can fall in love at any time under any circumstance. You don’t have to apologize that you fell in love quickly or that you love this person more than that person. When it’s real, it belongs to you. No one else’s opinion matters. Now sometimes we can get it wrong (it being loving the wrong person or thinking it was love when it wasn’t) but you don’t have to apologize for that either. We’re all human and we all want and deserve true love.
I’m sure there are other lessons I’ve learned but these are the lessons that stuck with me.
I’d love to hear what you’ve learned about love in the comments section below. Don’t be shy!