In this podcast episode of Relationships Radio, we discuss the difference between loving someone and being in love.[audio:http://traffic.libsyn.com/relationshipsradio/Relationship_Radio_3.mp3]
My mentor asked me the other day the difference between loving someone and being in love.
To love someone without being in love with them is when you can give of yourself for their benefit, but you are unable or unwilling to receive their love in return. This means you have closed off your heart from being open to receive love and affection from the other person. I believe a person shuts down from being receptive to love after they have been hurt, betrayed, abandoned or neglected.
Receiving love is a position of vulnerability and openness, so it is no wonder that a person would close down when their heart doesn’t feel safe anymore.
This is a case where the relationship started with an “in love” phase that somehow drifted away. What happened? A couple of studies have shown that couples who fall in love and get married hit a harder low and are less happy than couples who have arranged marriages. The reason for this is the couple that falls in love has the “in love” feeling and relies on chemistry and a belief that the other partner is completing them. This belief sets them up for disappointment in years to come.
But does this mean that we aren’t supposed to be in love and feel that beautiful, heart palpitating, exciting chemistry and passion? Are we supposed to look at love or marriage as a business partnership instead? Which type of approach wins and what is God’s intention for us?
God absolutely calls us to live selflessly in order for relationship to thrive. This is clear in 1 Corinthians 13:7 that says: “Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful and endures through every circumstance.” So yes, a loving relationship can not last without perseverance, patience and forgiveness.
But, God also didn’t create marriage to be a death sentence. God is love and every glorious sunrise, magnificent sunset, exquisite flower and calming river flows from His love. Marriage isn’t supposed to be mundane. God’s love is extravagant and He created humans in His image to emulate His love here on earth, so why in the world should love and marriage be boring or terrible?
There is beautiful scripture in Song of Solomon that reflect the love that God is showering on Him. The kind of love that is passionate, all consuming and electrifying.
“Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm. For love is as strong as death, its jealousy as enduring as the grave. Love flashes like fire, the brightest kind of flame.” Song of Solomon 8:6-7
In conclusion, you can’t have a full, happy relationship without love the verb…and love the noun. A loving relationship cannot survive solely on chemistry and passion; it takes prioritizing and intention in learning to love your partner in a way that fills their love tank. It also was never meant to survive solely on the action of love either. The feeling of being in love in the dating phase is what makes the action of love purposeful. The in-love feeling doesn’t have to die, it can be maintained through acts of showing love.
Love is consuming and holds a high standard. It’s loving and being in love.
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