What I’ve Learned About Love

Do you know that of all the commandments, love is the most important one of them all? Don’t take my word for it, you can read it in the Bible. Jesus when asked this very question of which commandment is greatest, responded that we are to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind and love our neighbors as ourselves. Admittedly this is probably one of my most startling revelations on love made clear to me only a few short years ago when I first started my faith journey.

Just imagine that, of all the commandments we were given to not kill, steal or commit adultery, the simple act of loving and showing love takes precedence. If you think about it though, it makes perfect sense since most of our misdeeds and transgressions are as a result of our lack of regard, respect or love for one another. So how should we love and what does perfect love look like? “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” – 1 Corinthians 12:4-8

Now that’s a powerful statement, do you love like that? Being the mere humans we are, that could prove to be a very high standard to live up to. Still, it is the most perfect definition of love that we should all strive for, not just romantically but with our neighbors and God. Romantically speaking, I’m no expert at love but throughout my lifetime I have learned a few things about love.

Love Takes Time

Call me naive, but I do believe in love at first sight. I have never personally experienced it, but I do believe you could meet someone for the first time and fall instantly head over heels in love with them. Lots of people have attested to it so whom am I to tell them they’re wrong? Now lasting love is another story. Longevity in love takes more than just “first sight” and physical attraction; love is more about relationships and less about looks. Love takes time to grow and build through shared experiences and common interests and values. We need to get to know our love interests along with all their strengths and imperfections. We need to observe their reactions during the good times and the bad before we can determine if the love is real. Time has a way of uncovering truths and baring souls.

No Wild Oats Needed in Love

Now I know we’re all familiar with the idiom of “sowing our wild oats”, but just in case you’re not, it’s where a person engages in rebelliousness or promiscuity prior to settling down. Yes, there is this myth out there, primarily among men, that they need to have had numerous, or at least more than one partner (hopefully not at the same time), before settling down or they will forever be feeling like they have missed out on something, sometimes leading to infidelity. In my humble opinion, not true, unless of course what they’re missing are heartbreaks and STDs, but love is not about sowing or reaping wild oats or whatever else “seeds we may be planting.” If you have found that one person, who does it all for you, there is no need to go “exploring the entire farm.”

Love Starts with Love of Self

Self-love is our ability to value ourselves while maintaining confidence in our worth, no matter what’s going on around us. That’s the only way we can properly give love and just as importantly, feel like we deserve love in return. Love is about give and take and for some of us it’s easy to give love, but romantic love usually includes two people. So, it’s not just about giving love it includes reciprocation and allowing love to be returned to you and enjoying it and feeling like you’re worth it. Self-loves also prevents us from losing ourselves in relationships and becoming needy and boring.

Perfect Love is Imperfect

So, what’s up with the contradiction? I’m saying this to say there is no such thing as perfect love. We are all imperfect beings, so how could our love ever be perfect? Too many of us wait around looking for the perfect man or woman with whom to have the perfect relationship or marriage then have some perfect kids and live the perfect life. Well, I’m sorry to break it to you, but perfection is a farce, a fairytale. We all have our faults which we carry into our relationships, sometimes dragging it around like baggage. That is why love takes time so that we can get to know each other and work out our kinks or just agree to accept some of them. Self-love means acknowledging our imperfections and being willing to improve and change where we can, and since love is imperfect, it needs patience, compromise and forgiveness.


10 thoughts on “What I’ve Learned About Love

  1. What a lovely essay. And the Corinthians’ definition of love is a good one. I also like the way you differentiate between the “love at first sight” of falling in love, and longevity. Like you, I think love takes time, at least love with depth and gravitas.

    Liked by 1 person

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