Yes, love is important

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This week marks our second wedding anniversary. I’m not going to offer a long reflection since we have places to be (who wouldn’t want to celebrate your anniversary by running a five-mile race and watching Wonder Woman?), but one thing I did want to say for the occasion: love is important.

I know I’m getting no prize for such a well-worn idea. But guys, the importance of love can’t be stressed enough.

When I met Stephen, what stood out to me above all things was the way he cared about people, and the way that we loved me.

The way he wanted to know me for who I was and appreciated what he did know about me.

The way he loved (and loves) my introspective, independent self who gets fascinated by ideas and can write about them for hours.

The way he adored all those tendencies and quirks that made me me, and still encourages me to celebrate them and grow in them.

Except for my parents’ golden piece of advice I grew up with (find someone who loves you as much as Dad loves Mom), most of the advice I heard when it came to relationships was about compatibility. Find someone who shares the same thoughts and values as you, create this checklist with all your non-negotiables, etc. Perhaps there’s a place for a little bit of that, but no amount of compatibility can replace choosing to see and love someone for who they really are.

When Stephen and I met, I don’t know that we would have described ourselves as “compatible.” We had different views on things, different backgrounds, different opinions. But you know what? That was okay. And the truth we discovered is that no amount of shared beliefs can replace genuine love for one another. No number of checklists will prepare you for discovering how amazing, unique, and nuanced your partner is. No amount of living civilly with one another will replace going out of your way to see the best in each other and treat each other with ample love and respect.

No matter how compatible you hope to be with someone else, you’re guaranteed areas where you’ll differ. There will be things you disagree on, even bigger things. No matter how perfectly your partner fills all the ideals you were hoping for, there will be areas where they disappoint you.

Those things are inevitable. But love? Love isn’t inevitable. You have the choice to cultivate it, to commit to it. And you have the choice not to. At the end of the day, you’ll either decide that going out of your way to love is important or you won’t.

I don’t believe in a love that’s some whimsical, random force, coming and going without warning. If we’re commanded to love, which I believe we are, then it must be something we have some control over. It’s something we can practice. It’s something we can cultivate.

And so, I’m going to close off this little reflection with a thought: if you value someone in your life (not just a romantic partner), then go out of your way to love them this week. If there are things you admire about them, then tell them. If you haven’t been acting or speaking with utmost kindness and respect to someone around you, then apologize and change that. If there’s something you can do to make someone’s day, then do it.

Because love is important. So let’s reflect that.

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3 thoughts on “Yes, love is important

  1. This is one of the best things I have read in a while. Thank you so much Rae, all of it is so true.

    It’s interesting to me as well, that Stephen didn’t love you by somehow agreeing right away with your views on the ones that you differed. In fact, would that even be love? To abandon something he believed in and cherished, just to put on a face to please you? I believe not! I believe, in fact, that he showed even truer love, to be honest and open with you, saying the hard truths that exposed the difference between your ideas, YET, still all the while, appreciating and respecting your own.

    I think the same is true for the culture we live in. We cannot abandon our beliefs, we cannot abandon our hearts, just to put on the face of what the world sees as “acceptance”. For the world says you cannot show acceptance to someone, unless you somehow agree with them. Where I would cry out that those people would actually have lost sight of what acceptance is! That is, although having different views and beliefs, inviting them and respecting them as another human being, who is worth being loved.

    Anyways… Thank you Rae! 🙂 🙂

    • You are welcome! I think that’s one of life’s great misconceptions: that unity requires we all be the same, when in fact unity is found in diversity (can you even have unity without diversity? I think that would just be sameness and not unity). I remember my mom and dad once sharing how they were glad they have different opinions on things, and now with my own experience I can say the same thing. Stephen and I love learning from each other, and while we don’t hide who we are, we don’t try to change each other either, and it’s a way, way more beautiful thing than if we had identical minds. And if we did have identical minds I would also ask your question of if that would even be love ❤

      • Exactly. Although I would (personally) say in marriage, you definitely do want to share many more of the same views than you would otherwise have to with other friendships! But yes, absolutely, the same truth exists. Love and unity with someone else is not a debate to be won and change the other person, rather an environment of respect and sacrifice.

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