If someone asks, "Do you love me?" Are they asking if you are "falling in love" with them or if you are "falling out of love" with them?
The term "falling in love" probably is part of the conversation because it is so much a part of relationships. Unfortunately, the phrase itself is a big problem and encourages further problems. That phrase is too often a criterion for meaningful relationships.
World's View of Love
There is a much better way to look at love, but let's see how some define love. The following are some thoughts about love from the world's perspective.
Generally, the world’s “love” is selfish, conditional, and, most of all, temporary. It promotes selfishness, flashing your ME, and seeking your good above the good of others. It is not kind because that means you would be thinking about the other person. This worldly view of love wants to control others.
Second, it is conditional. It depends on them meeting your needs; as long as that happens, you are okay. What is worse is that the conditions keep changing because your expectations keep changing. When you first were attracted to them, the conditions were few. The expectations are much more intense and numerous now that you know them. It is no longer okay to have them say they love you; it requires objective proof!
Finally, both selfish and conditional love leads to temporary love. When you are unhappy, when things get uncomfortable or difficult in the relationship, or when you no longer feel loved or loving, love is gone. It is fleeting as magic fairy dust that gets blown away in high wind. It knows nothing of patience.
"Falling In Love"
The selfish, conditional, and temporary wrap into a common statement people use about love - falling in love. Unfortunately, it reinforces temporariness because it implies something that happens to them. It's like "love dust" floating down on two people, and then they look at each other and are "in love!"
While I believe in "chemistry" between two people, that isn't love. That is attraction, but NOT love. That "chemistry" is more accurately the concept of "falling in love." When your relationship has that type of thinking, you believe that love is something that happens. It is out of your control and depends on fleeting emotions that stay or leave. Again, that is something "happening" to you.
That is an entirely inaccurate picture of the beauty of love.
Falling In Love Isn't Love
Worse yet, "FALLING IN love” creates a fickle, superficial, and temporary view of love. It distorts the way love and relationships work.
And, of course, if you are "falling in love," then that implies if the magic "Love Dust" goes away—you are "FALLING OUT of love."
How often do you hear that horrible excuse for a breakup in a marriage or relationship? What a great way for Satan to cheapen something so unique and valuable as love. Falling in and out of love degrades love to a simple glance (love at first site) or even a lust of the flesh (I love their body!). Again, that is not love; at best, it is just attraction!
Love is a choice, a decision that can and often does generate an array of emotions, but love is not an emotion. The definition below provides an accurate way to think about love. It is the most important thing to practice in all of your relationships. This is the definition you need to give yourself a chance for a GREAT RELATIONSHIP.
Pursuing their BEST (their highest good);
patiently, kindly, sacrificially, and unconditionally
Unfortunately, the challenging news is there are no guarantees that the relationship will please you, much less be great. Why? Remember the math of relationships from Robert Fritz? "It takes two to say yes for a great relationship and only one 1 to say no to destroy it."
But, when you understand and practice the above definition, it doesn't matter if they say NO, because you still love them and continue to say YES.
Isn't that the way God LOVES us?
That definition is THE SOLUTION for all relationships. You may have a spouse or a friend who no longer wants a relationship with you; this definition is the only place your mind needs to be right now. You may have someone trying to manipulate and dominate you right now. This definition is your city of refuge because the definition not only means you are doing what God asks but also trusting Him to take care of you.
Relationships are on the path to destruction unless you do what that definition says. And, when at least one person in the relationship practices the definition, the relationship has hope. Unfortunately, most people give up when they don't get a return on their love investment. Aren't you glad that God isn't that way?
So, the next time you say, "I love you," are you saying that you will pursue their best; patiently, kindly, sacrificially, and unconditionally?
Think about it; that is a mouthful when you say and then commit to doing what the definition says.