I have something to tell you and you aren’t going to like it and you may not even agree with me. Love is not enough. You will hear it from movies and books and social media and silly girls who don’t really know what they are talking about…they will say, “But we love each other. As long as you have love, that’s enough.” Love is super. It feels great to be loved. It feels great to show love. But it certainly isn’t enough, on its own, to sustain any kind of relationship. And I’ll tell you something else, all earthly love is conditional. All of it. The only true all-encompassing unconditional love comes from our Heavenly Father.
I get that I am obviously not the love guru. There are all types of love and so many different ways to show love. We each have specific gifts that help us give love to others and we each respond to love in our own way. I have a beautiful friend who, over the past year, has helped me understand better how I give and receive love. Understanding those attributes in myself has helped me heal while still being able to open myself up to love…love in all forms.
We all would like to think that love, in some way, is like what we hear about in fairy tales. That once you find the one whom your heart desires most in the world, nothing can tear you apart. It’s a beautiful thought, but it’s a lie. Love alone can never be enough. Relationships only work when love is combined with so many other actions. Love without respect, compromise, honor, understanding, HARD WORK, sacrifice, commitment, etc. is not sustainable. This goes for the love that drives a marriage just as much as for the love that drives a friendship or a sisterhood.
The second part of this message is that all the love you feel is conditional. This wasn’t something I had thought a lot about until recently, but it’s true. And that’s what makes God’s love so special. Y’all, I know my mother loves my sisters and me like nothing else in this world, but it’s still conditional. It’s human. It’s of this world. God’s love is different. NOTHING can separate us from his love. Nothing we have done, nothing we have felt, nothing we have said. It is given freely and his supply of love will never run out. I thought my love for my husband was unconditional, and I certainly showed him a wonderful love, but now I feel every day that love slipping further and further away from me. I thought his love for me was unconditional, but that love left long ago. Without explanation. Without regret. Without consequence.
“All You Need Is Love” is only a good song. Not a mantra to live by. It’s time we all change how we see love. Love is not a feeling. Love is an action. And, oddly enough, I learned this not through my husband or my marriage. I learned this in the way others have shown me love in the past two years. It was taught to me through my parents opening up their home to me, my best friend making me coffee in the morning, my sisters listening to me vent, my colleagues going over that tap number “one more time” so that I could get it right, and the telephone calls that reminded me to keep moving.
These actions and so many more are the reasons our conditional love is still beautiful, and this beauty is given by the unconditional love of our Father.
1 John 4:8 “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”