No, I am not writing about Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical…IF you know that was the title of one of his musicals. Like all of us, Webber has been blessed with some spectacular triumphs AND failures. This musical was not one of his big hits (although I happen to love his tune, LOVE CHANGES EVERYTHING!)
I picked this title for my devotional today while sitting here watching my husband fall asleep with our dog laying between his legs for his daily morning: “I’m not really asleep…just resting my eyes,” moment. You see, after forty-five years of marriage there are a few lessons I have learned about love that I am willing to share.
There are many aspects to love–romantic love, parental love, brotherly love, even friendship love. Each type of love is different and includes different elements which change as we change.
Take romantic love. In the beginning we ‘love’ every aspect of our partner. We overlook the things that might take the outer gold-leaf off the package we are unwrapping. Their jokes are hysterical; their idiosyncrasies that seem so adorable at first; their looks, mannerisms, and behaviors are beyond reproach. After a lot of time, however, what first appeared adorable may begin to wear on the nerves. You’ve heard the jokes; you grow tired of the way he toes off his socks; you begin to tire of smelling Vicks when his sinus problems (which seem to happen far more often than you realized when dating) begin. All of those characteristics that you once deemed cute suddenly take on a different nature when you live the day-to-day existence of love-and-marriage.
Life mellows these instances just as it brings storms. Romantic love includes holding the basin as your beloved vomits; doing the dishes when he/she has been up all night with a teething baby; pacing the floor alongside your partner as you wait for an overly late teenager on a date. Or, as is happening now, watching your aging loved one sleep just to reassure yourself they are still breathing and count your blessings that you are still together, still in love—failing bodies, not withstanding!
The one aspect of love that seems to be overlooked in the world lately is that true love is never wrapped up in some package. God, however, can get to the heart of the aspect of love in a simple sentence: 1 John 4:8–He that loveth not, knowest not God; for God is love.
In that simple sentence, those of us who are interested in trying to understand all the aspects of love that we are searching for have been given the guidance for which we search. To truly know love, we are to look at God. A God who would conceive the idea of creating a mixture of infinite, holy, perfection, combining that with imperfect humanity so that this by-product would be brought into existence to teach us the ultimate depths of the ‘aspects of love’ by sacrificing His all to die in our place. This, this glimpse into the depths of how great a love God has for His human creations.
Love. True Love encompasses SACRIFICE. True love means being willing to love AGAINST what you may want. Putting yourself second. Giving when you would rather receive. Yes, as ALW wrote in his musical Aspects of Love: “Love, love changes everything.”
As we journey onward in life we will pass through many joys and sorrows. A lot, if not most, of them will revolve around our aspects of love. We will explore, discard, change, and redefine many of our attitudes toward love as we grow and mature. If we begin by focusing on the great love God provides, it will, in turn, influence us as we fashion our own attitudes toward love.
He that loveth not, knowest not God; FOR GOD IS LOVE.
When we begin on that premise we have found our answer…