Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Luv, luv, luv. Luv is all you need

The Beatles expressed the core need of humans for love. They defined a very different and unsatisfying kind of love than what the Bible says we long for. Imagine...
  • being loved by someone who knows you, inside and out. And still loves you completely.
  • sharing a deep faith that lets you pray and trust together.
  • being able to rely on someone in every circumstance and during any temptation.
  • knowing your lover consistently loves you, whether you are together or apart.
  • loving someone enough to commit to them in sickness or health, in wealth or poverty, from youth to old age, without reservation.
  • being able to express love without ever hurting the other person.
  • showing love in the way the person needs to experience love, and having them perfectly demonstrate their love the way you prefer.
  • showing love by being a good person, moral in values and high standards beyond sexual purity.
  • trying to make each other proud by doing your best, no matter how hard the effort.
God's love is just like that. However, the pop band wasn't talking about that kind of commitment. They promoted the "free love" of the 60s and 70s. You could drift from affair to affair without hurting anyone, including yourself, they said.

Once in a while, I read "The Vibrant Woman," a secular blog for women 50 and older. Women write about planning their divorces, secreting away funds, and preparing to leave their partner while keeping the good life. They crow about clandestine trysts with high-school or college sweethearts––how to have "fun" while keeping the truth from their spouses or partners. Women also talk about fading looks, fears of being abandoned as they age, and having dozens of partners without every finding their "Prince Charming." They've lived in commitment-free "love" and tout it as their right.

Their words croak of unhappiness, rather than sing of fulfillment. Many speak of how they've been bruised, beaten by life. Most no longer recognize or admit the satisfaction of being true to one person for a lifetime.

I've certainly not been an ideal wife. Newly married, both of us demonstrated a lack of maturity and care for each other. But it got better as the years went by. We learned a lot.

After I'd had our fourth and last baby, I went for a physical. The doc asked if I was monogamous. I was very surprised by the question.

"Yes, but why do you ask?" I countered.

"I can tell in your body. Good for you. Many partners affect the physical body. I don't see any of the disease and sickness that women pick up, sleeping around. You wouldn't believe how obvious that is, when we do physical exams. And women who have been molested and mistreated flinch and exhibit fear when we have to touch them."

Hmmm. You learn something every visit, I guess. I'd never thought of monogamy as a protection for me physically. Yes, my husband and I committed to be faithful to each other during a time when surrounding culture said that was uncool, that it was silly to save yourself for marriage. (Mind you, our church culture forbade sex before exchanging wedding rings. And our parents would have killed us, figuratively speaking.)

Over 34 years ago, we agreed that trust and love should be ongoing actions, not just feelings. It's been hard slogging at times, but the pay-off is worth it. Prince Charming lives at our house, and he's taking good care of our daughter as she recovers from surgery and I write school papers. Lucky me. (Oh wait, doesn't luck mean no work?)

Who shows you this kind of love, and whom do you love with all your heart?

Read more:
*Psalm 11; Genesis 19:1-29; Matthew 7:1-12

*Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. 1 Chronicles 29:11
*Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 1 John 4:7-11 

*Speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ. Ephesians 4:15

Moravian Prayer: Lord, you are high and lifted up. Your glory fills our lives. We pray the experiences of this day will deepen our faith in you. Help us to keep our lives centered on you. Amen.

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