Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Celebrate real love--not Hollywood's lust

Happy Valentine's Day! Today we celebrate human love, but how many people know what love is? As my wife and I were shopping at Wal-mart last night, it looked like a giant celebration of pink teddy bears and chocolate hearts. When I was getting our local paper a couple of years ago, the ads made you think Valentine's Day was a lingerie celebration.

But what would average Americans say they celebrate? I think most would define love as the feeling they have toward their spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend. That is what Hollywood teaches. Love is a feeling of affection or romantic desire.

That's why we have so many abortions and so much unmarried cohabitation. People think lust is love. If you are "in love," nothing should stand in the way of your desires. And when the feeling of desire is gone, the "love" is gone, so you might as well move on to someone who you desire ("love") more.

I wish I had a dollar for every person I have heard say they are going to "try out" a relationship by living together before they get married. Our divorce rates indicate many people are just "trying out" marriage, too.

Whatever happened to commitment? It got left behind with real love. I Corinthians 13 says love, as the King James puts it, "seeketh not her own." Love is not self-centered. It is a commitment to doing what is best for the other person. Before marriage, that means practicing abstinence and guarding both your heart and the heart of the one you love from sexual temptation.

The Bible doesn't say to feel affection or desire for your spouse. Those feelings come naturally and fluctuate over time. It says, "Husbands, love your wives." You can't force feelings, but you can do loving actions, and the feelings will usually follow. The Bible also tells wives to "reverence," or respect their husbands. Many women would be surprised how much more loving their husbands would be if they praised and encouraged their husbands, instead of criticizing them.

My wife and I celebrate our mid-year anniversary today, and I can say we are as deeply "in love" as we ever have been. Our feelings for each other are at their strongest, and that makes marriage a lot of fun. But that feeling comes from the fact that two-and-a-half years ago we committed to doing what is best for each other, and we try to fulfill that commitment each day.

So enjoy the pink teddy bears and chocolate hearts with the one you love, but let's be sure we love "in deed and in truth," not just "in word and in tongue."

Wesley Wilson

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4 Comments:

Blogger Shadowin said...

You stated:

"But what would average Americans say they celebrate? I think most would define love as the feeling they have toward their spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend. That is what Hollywood teaches. Love is a feeling of affection or romantic desire."

I figure most people would define love as the Greek agape, and lust as the Greek eros. You conflated agape with eros (affection and romantic desire), and failed to provide an alternate definition of love. Please do so.

I'll leave you with the primary definition of love according to American Heritage: "A deep, tender, ineffable feeling of affection and solicitude toward a person, such as that arising from kinship, recognition of attractive qualities, or a sense of underlying oneness."

February 15, 2007 at 1:21 PM  
Blogger Daniel Wilson said...

Greek agape goes deeper than the "deep, tender, ineffable feeling of affection" you cite. When love stops with those feelings, it becomes a transient commodity.

I may feel nicely toward someone or something one day and not the next.

The deepest form of love (agape) is what Scripture commands. When we love our wives that way, we build stable homes. When we love our neighbors that way, we build a better world.

You and I both know that Hollywood "love" tends to turn up as the actress wears less clothing. That's eros.

February 15, 2007 at 4:40 PM  
Blogger Shadowin said...

I disagree with your assessment of Hollywood love. The eros kind gets the most attention, but agape is there as well. There are countless examples, but I will point out that both were in the Marine (villain who just likes sex, hero who risks all to save his wife).

February 16, 2007 at 12:05 PM  
Blogger Wesley Wilson said...

I never said that Hollywood never portrays agape love. It is just consumed with lust and bases most romances on physical attraction. For the most part, Hollywood romance is more about sex than love. I haven't seen the Marine, so I'll take your assessment at face value. The best portrayal of agape love that I have seen is The Passion of the Christ.

My point is that our love for our spouses (and for our fellow man) needs to go deeper than affection and much deeper than lust.

February 16, 2007 at 1:08 PM  

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