By DAN HALL
Songs from my generation don’t always have the best advice on or view of love. A few samples:
“Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” – The Lettermen, quoting the movie “Love Story.” This didn’t work the one time I tried it as my wife, arms folded, foot tapping, was waiting for my apology.
“I want you, I need you / But there ain’t no way I’m ever gonna love you / Now don’t be sad / ‘Cause two out of three ain’t bad.” – Meatloaf. Yeah … don’t try this one, either.
“Every breath you take, and every move you make / Every bond you break, every step you take, I’ll be watching you.” – The Police. I heard this at a wedding once. Is it wrong that I have a morbid curiosity about how that couple is doing today?
“I’ll never break your heart / I’ll never make you cry.” – The Backstreet Boys. After my time, but while I was a father of teenage girls. They’re still in therapy because, in the middle of the song, I turned around in the van and said, “Oh yeah he will! Count on it!”
Many adages and quotes on love, whether beautiful or cringe-worthy, are just downright wrong. Unfortunately, and in various seasons of my life, I’ve believed several that resulted in me hurting my marriage, my wife, and even my kids. Thank God for grace and forgiveness!
We might do well to prioritize and focus on God’s incredible relationship framework in 1 Corinthians 13. Most of us have heard great sermons on this, but we still often fail just to stop, read, and meditate on it with one simple question: Am I demonstrating this to my spouse?
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.
You know the points: These are verbs, not adjectives. We either do or don’t do each one.
I’m not naïve. In my own marriage and in hundreds I’ve known or even worked with, this can feel awfully grandiose, unattainable, and, honestly, weighty and unfulfilling.
But I believe that’s exactly what God intended. This type of love requires we die to ourselves, put the other first, and, if I’m going to be a faithful follower of Christ, simply obey Him. It is in that dying to myself that I actually live, experience fulfillment, and love, even when I am not or don’t feel loved.
During this Valentine’s season, enjoy the love songs, relive sweet moments, be romantic. But I would challenge all of us to consider God’s counsel and advice on true love! Let’s align our hearts to His framework and see the miracles He can perform in our marriages!
Dan Hall is an executive and strategic coach to leaders and executive teams. He also works with organizations on team building, conflict resolution and communication skills. He and his wife, Hazel, have six children and four grandchildren. You can reach him at Dan@OnCourseSolutions.com.