Love’s Not (Just) A Feeling

Matt GallagherPosted on Wednesday, January 9, 2013 by Matt Gallagher

When I was growing up I heard a song that said,

“Love’s not a feeling, we’ve got to learn to get past the emotion to the meaning of the word. Love’s not a feeling you can lose or throw away, God give us the courage to live it every day”

I’m grateful that I heard that song because nowhere else have I ever heard that idea expressed, it’s not a sentiment you’re going to hear someone singing about on ‘X-Briton’s-Have-Got-The-Talent-Factor’!

But hearing that song helped me because up to that point I had believed the culture-around-us version of romantic love and it left me completely stranded when I discovered that the overwhelming rush-of-emotion feelings of love weren’t constant.

If love was only a feeling, something that we have absolutely no influence over (and are completely at the mercy of) then how could anyone hope to commit themselves exclusively to another person for life? Thank God (as 1 Corinthians 13 reminds us) there’s more to love than just feelings!

Sometimes the people we love do the most unlovely things – they’re rarely truly horrible things, just really annoying. They might include leaving the lid off the toothpaste tube, park the car the wrong way round on the driveway, eat your favourite sweets and not share… (None of which Helen, my wife, does by the way!)

So what do we do in those moments when we tend not to be feeling brim full of passionate love feelings?

If love is just feelings then at that point (or at least after sufficient quantity of those annoyances), do we realise or decide that no longer love this person? That seems the logical outworking of the way the culture around us presents love to us! But no – those are the times when we choose to continue to love that person. What does that look like practically?

It means that we will continue to be patient with them even when they’re trying our patience, that we will continue to be kind to them even when they are unkind to us, that we will continue to show our love for them even when they seem to be completely oblivious to the effort it costs to continue loving them!

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