Is love how someone makes you feel?
No. It can include that, but it is primarily an act that involves the whole person, not just the emotions.
“Love does not seek its own interests.” -St. Paul, 1 Corinthians 13:5
Ok, but what does that actually mean?
Brian was nervous whenever Charlotte was around. He had never felt much of anything for anyone, but she singlehandedly changed his view of people without even trying. Her radiant face and the lighthearted way she interacted with people were more than enough to make him forget his troubles. Just being in the same classroom with her was enough to fill his life with joy. He thought he could be happy with her. He asked her to prom. She said no. She explained as kindly as possible that, no matter how much she wanted to feel the same way about him, she just couldn’t force it. The butterflies in his stomach turned to lead weights and sank to his feet. Now what?
The view that love is only a feeling can’t help Brian be respectful of Charlotte. If he thought, “she makes me feel truly alive, therefore I must be in love with her”, he would be tempted to reject her honest response. He might either doubt that she meant it, or resent her because he believed that she owed it to him to return his “love”. This is how wounds go unhealed and develop into bitterness.
Even if the feeling was mutual, and everything Brian wanted came to pass, it still wouldn’t be enough. If the relationship depended on each of them valuing the other solely because of “how you make me feel”, they would care more about how they themselves felt than about the good of the other person, who is the cause of those feelings. If they could get the same feeling elsewhere, there would be nothing keeping them together. The relationship would be built on use, not love, unless his feelings progressed into love of the other for her own sake.
The difference between feeling love and having love is like the difference between feeling a book and reading a book. Brian can hold a book in his hand all he wants, but that’s not what the book is for. The book is for reading, which usually involves holding it, but not necessarily. If merely holding it is so enjoyable, that must be some book. Likewise, Brian doesn’t have loving feelings for the sake of being pleased in her company, he has loving feelings for the sake of Charlotte’s good.
To be continued on Love Means More…Read More