1. What’s my definition of love?
To me, love is the purpose of life. God wasn’t just sitting around in the beginning of time and decided to create people because He was bored. He created people so that HE could be in relationship with us. And while we seem to consistently screw that up, He loves us so much that He continues to give us chance after chance to try and figure out what it means to accept His unconditional love and then to try and model it to the people around us.
If we agree on ^ that basis of love, as the very thing God fashioned us to live for, then it should be evident what a prominent place it should play in our daily lives. It would seem that, instead of our lives revolving around out happiness and security, that we should spend every waking moment of our day looking for ways to love the people around us. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think this means everyone should quit their jobs and become hippies, but I think that a little more emphasis on others and a little less emphasis on ourselves would do everyone (including me) some real good.
The hard part is, that once we get past the whole selfish thing and really try to love people, we get all confused about the real reason we do this. We can’t do anything to make God love us any more than He already does, and sometimes, when we are looking for motivation to live this way daily, we think that we have to do it so that God will love us and let us into heaven. This is just not the case. If we really understand what the Bible says, then we get the fact that God already loves us more than we can imagine, and already made unbelievable sacrifice for us, and we just live this life of love because we can’t imagine accepting His gift and living any way BUT in love in response to that.
I think this is where we need the Bible to really show us tangible ways to love people each day. Everything from the examples of the heroes of the faith in the old testament to the life of Jesus in the gospels and the church in the new testament gives us examples of ways to live and love. From here we just have to intentionally pursue this love-filled life every single day by knowing and believing in the value of each person as a creation of God and serving each of them to the best of our ability.
Love never fails.
2. What does marriage mean to me?
After you really understand what love is all about, then marriage fits right into that picture. Marriage, contrary to popular belief, is NOT the purpose of human life, nor is it the pinnacle. It is simply one expression of a particular romantic love between two people. It is a covenant that should be modeled after the covenant between Christ and the church; based on unconditional love and serving of one another. A marriage should be two people who truly believe that they can serve God better together and desire to continue in this path of life together for the rest of their lives. It is here that the pattern of love continues in a way that is validated by society as a way of expressing this to one another, and that continuously builds upon that foundation of faith and love through family and children and life together in true community, which means learning to be selfless, a decision and a pursuit that not every one is up to the challenge of.
Whew. 🙂 Hope that answers your questions, Amanda! ❤