I have a confession to make. I don’t love my husband!
After 24 years of marriage to my best friend and saying “I love you” multiple times a day (before we part each other’s company, before we hang up the phone, at the end of every email), I realized how often I don’t really love him, no matter what I say.
According to my study of Week Two’s tip, “Structure your love around all of the principles in 1 Corinthians 13,” from the book Becoming a Professional Lover, “love” is the most misused, abused and misunderstood word in any language. The way we say it in an instant – without thinking – to our spouses, our children, our family members, or close friends, and then act the way we do toward them sometimes, shows that we don’t really know what we’re saying.
When I say, “I love you,” to my husband (or anyone), here’s what I’m supposed to mean:
I’ll put up with any hardship without giving in (charity suffereth long – with his stack of clothes that are stored on top of the dirty clothes hamper instead of in the closet).
I’ll maintain a gentle nature with a desire to help you (charity is kind – I won’t get testy when I ask him for the umpteenth time to use the closet for that stack of clothes).
I won’t resent any advantages you have (charity envieth not – when you drop five pounds to my one with just one bike ride).
I won’t be overly sensitive or instantly react negatively (charity is not easily provoked – when I feel ignored or not taken seriously).
I won’t give the cold shoulder, or the stone face, or the neck roll, or the eye roll (charity does not behave itself unseemly – when he walks into the room after I've looked at those stacks of clothes that reappear every week).
I won’t ever give up on us (charity never faileth – no matter how hard married life gets).
Now that I know the scope of how God defines love, I won’t be able to respond with a flippant, “I love you too,” in response to my husband. I have to mean what I say. Because if I mean what I say, how I act will show it – not because he says he loves me, but because I say, “I love you.”