12 Feb, 2020 Expressing Love This Valentine’s Day
by Trudi Griffin
Friday is Valentine’s Day, a day devoted to expressing love to those we hold dear. Share the love, but keep something in mind. Expressing love – true love – goes beyond conversation hearts, sappy cards, and sparkly gifts. The Bible, especially The Message translation, clearly defines real love, in 1 Corinthians 13. The theme? Love requires submission, not presents.
I want to share a little about submission in love, especially since our culture trains us to extol the exact opposite. When pop culture portrays submission, it is either in a 50 shades way or as victimization, neither of which are appropriate or correct. I bought into it though. For most of my life, the word “submission” inspired eye rolls, deep sighs, and attitudinal defiance. Submit? Never.
But I was also the girl who dreamed of being a part of a deep, forever kind of love. I craved for someone to really know me and love me in a way that withstood the test of time. The fairy-tale stuff you know? Except every time I thought I had that, it was a lie. The fault was mine. I bought into the lie that love was something that happened to you, something that sweeps you off your feet and into this grand swirling sparkle of blissful emotions. Glitter wears off to reveal real life. Where does the lie take you then?
I sit here on the weekend on the 8th anniversary of the day my real husband and I married and share this perspective on love from a position of experience and authority. The type of superficial, impulsive relationships pop culture promotes? Been there, done that…too many times and in a word, it all sucks.
For a long time, though, I bought into those lies. Two failed marriages and countless superficial couplings later, I found myself on an empty dark path in a lonely dark wood until I fell flat on my face at the feet of Jesus admitting I knew nothing of love.
Then God gave me Chase.
Over a period of years, and with my husband’s support, I learned that true love requires God. It requires submission. Submitting one’s heart to God to receive His love prepares you for loving someone else. Submitting to another person means that their needs become more important than your own. When someone loves you, they want you to get as close as you can to God.
When both partners submit to God and each other, something remarkable happens. You realize that you’re on the same team no matter what. You realize that there is one person on earth who studies you, knows you thoroughly, supports you, encourages you, and holds you up when you can’t do it yourself. You realize you would give your life for another person without a second thought because everything else is just…not as important as you think. You realize that pride and petty selfishness have no place in love and that everything in 1 Corinthians 13 is true.
True love is never about me.
I came to this marriage with bad habits and self-centered entitlement. God gave me Chase to teach me about real love in spite of myself. We’ve been through some seriously dark times that almost wrecked us individually and as a couple. Each time, we had a choice to make. Because God is in our relationship, instead of destroying love, those circumstances transformed that love creating beauty from ashes. None of that would have been possible without purposeful submission to God and each other.
Only because of God’s mercy and grace can I type these words.
My trail of relationship wreckage serves God’s purpose as part of my testimony, therefore I regret nothing. And now I can appreciate that the love my husband and I share surpasses anything I could have dreamed up for myself.
My prayer for young people is to take Dr. Joe Malone’s advice. Choose God, purity, submission, and pursue the love that never fails. Discard the false, instant gratification that the world sells. It leaves you empty, lost, and miserable.
Choose God and He will lead you to the love He has for you.
It’s worth it.
A handful of books that guided my transformation:
- The Bible
- Priscilla Shirer “Jewels in His Crown”
- Beth Moore “Breaking Free”
- Priscilla Shirer “The Resolution for Women”
- Francis Chan “Crazy Love”
- Gary Chapman “The Five Love Languages”
- H. Dale Burke “A Love That Never Fails: 1 Corinthians 13”