I’ve learned some things about romance over my life.
· Flowers wither, gifts pile up, and too many chocolates make you chubby. If that kind of romance is all you’ve got, your relationship won’t survive.
· The occasional romantic gesture sweetens even old marriages.
· The most romantic offerings rise from thoughtful observance and faithful follow-through.
· Romantic feelings may be the key that turns the starter, but it takes a well-maintained motor to keep the car on the road.
I appreciate romance too, but our world needs far more than romance. What the world needs now is love. A song by that title became a hit back 1965. Hal David wrote the words and Burt Bacharach the tune. Hum it, if you remember swaying to it or singing along with it. “What the world needs now, is love, sweet love. It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of…”
The song explains that the world doesn’t need more mountains or meadows (we already have plenty of all of those). But Lord, it pleads, what we need most is love. “No, not just for some, but for everyone.”
I never realized till today that the song is really a prayer. And who could argue? Certainly not me.
Lately, I’ve heard too many stories of failing relationships. My heart hurts for each one. “I just don’t love him/her anymore,” runs like a snaggly black thread through them all. “What does that mean?” I asked one person and received a blank stare in response. Then came something about a lack of warm feelings. “But love isn’t a feeling,” I responded. “It’s an act of the will.” I had to learn that myself, early in our marriage.
The finest definition of love ever written came from the Apostle Paul, speaking to Christian believers, in 1 Corinthians 13: 1-7 (the MSG translation).
“If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.
“If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.
“Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, Doesn’t have a swelled head, Doesn’t force itself on others, Isn’t always “me first,” Doesn’t fly off the handle, Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, Doesn’t revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best. Never looks back, but keeps going to the end.”
I can’t love anyone like that. No one can – except Jesus. When God’s Son lives in us, if we work with him, let him shape us, he also loves out of us; the Divine motor that keeps our relationships (of all kinds, not only romantic ones) on the road.
Happy loving, friends. And be well.