At one of the radio sessions I featured as a guest, I was asked a personal question on whether I could marry an older lady and my answer was very simple. I said “well, I don’t think that should even be asked in the first place. Marriage should be about two persons whose hearts knit together gearing towards one purpose. It has nothing to do with age and has less to do with feelings and attraction. As much as attraction and feeling are important to create the spark, it is the life philosophy of the couple that decides if the marriage will work or not. Where there is a strong divergence of life-view from one party in the sense that agreement becomes impossible, the relationship will not survive… So, it is not about age, nationality or colour.”
At one point or another, we always come back to that desire to be loved by another. The need for love transcends age, nationality, race and so on but unfortunately, the human emotions are so flawed that sometimes, discerning between true love and temporal feelings is difficult and people who just want to pass time with us comes along, mess up with our feelings and go their way. For some, they never intended messing with our feelings, but they only realized that what they were feeling has just faded and for another, it may have been an orchestration to come into our lives, break our defences, have what they want and look for the next victim.
Life is a journey and in this journey, we will come to that realization that love isn’t a feeling but a decision. Although the secular definition of love would say it is an intense feeling of admiration, it doesn’t stand the test of time because those feelings don’t stay forever. No matter how you disagree with the Bible, the Bible holds the best definition of love which when followed is more productive and rewarding. People mess with our feelings when we define love on the perspective of feelings but when we define love from the Bible perspective, even though the feeling would be there, we will discover it goes beyond a mere butterfly feeling.
In 1 Corinthians 13, we discover that love isn’t generosity but is a decision to accept someone not based on your selfish interest. People can give you gifts just to win you over and have you for the night. People can be generous just because there is something else they are expecting from you but true love is that desire to make the other person better and to accept them the way they are. When two persons understand love this way and decide to follow this line of thought, no one gets frustrated.
Because the natural man is a bit flawed emotionally, we may not be able to perfectly reflect the level of selflessness we were shown in 1 Corinthians 13 but we can make meaningful efforts towards that part. As human, we may come to that point where we give up on a relationship where the other is intentionally making efforts to get it working, we may re-examine our commitment in someone’s life based on how we are being treated but even when it is time to let go, we can do that without hate but with compassion and forgiveness. We were never told after all that we must date someone we love or even marry them. Love is designed to be shown to everyone and not just one person. This alone tells us that love is not feelings and generosity doesn’t necessarily mean love is happening.
Love comes with assurance, there is no love without generosity but there can be generosity without love. There is no love without verbal expression but there can be verbal expression without love. If you have to stop being supportive to someone just because that person wronged you, then you have never loved at first. In verse 7 of 1 Corinthians 13, the Bible says in the Amplified version “Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, it is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything without weakening.”
Knowing what love means improves our relationships with everyone but then there is a place we must draw a line, not a line that limits the display of love but a line that defines what we want out of a relationship. Relationship is not love, even though it is meant to operate on the wheels of love. For example, a business relationship is meant to meet a business goal and as much as it will thrive on the wheels of love, it is important for that relationship to operate in the frameworks of what those involved want to get out of it.
Another example is the staff-boss relationship. When you hire someone, the relationship will thrive in love because there will be room for patience in learning and understanding but nevertheless, if he or she isn’t fulfilling the purpose of that relationship, you may have to fire him or her, not in the mood of hatred or anger but because it isn’t fruitful to your firm.
You surely know where I am heading to right? Let’s bring it down to marriage-relationships. What I call marriage-relationship is relationships intending to lead to marriage and to some extent, the relationship of marriage. If you have a life philosophy and you entered a relationship with someone else only to realize that his or her own life philosophy is different from yours and won’t be helpful to you in marriage, while you obviously love the person, the best thing to do is to quit the relationship because love isn’t enough reason to commit yourself to a lifestyle that is different from yours and can’t reconcile.
The Bible is a helpful resource on this subject. Marriage is not a union of two persons who love themselves but a joining of two persons to become one. To become one here means to sum up their visions together and run as one entity. Marriage is a lifetime contract and you do not sign it just because there is love, you must carefully review everything involved before signing it. The Bible says in Genesis 2:24 (Amp) “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and become united and cleave to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Now you see? Marriage isn’t a union of two persons solely because of love. Love isn’t the purpose of marriage because we are meant to love everyone. So, if you realize you can’t be one with someone for some tangible reasons, why force it? Oil and water cannot mix together just like iron and wood cannot mix into one single substance.
Love is not enough to enter a relationship but every relationship must operate on the wheels of love to thrive even though its fulfilment lies only on the philosophies of those becoming one. Love is like the radio wave; it is just there but because the radio wave is there doesn’t mean you need a radio. You will only buy or turn on a radio if you want to listen to a certain station or receive a certain radio signal. The radio wave doesn’t choose what you listen to; it is you who choose what you listen to. In the same way, love is just there and even the human feelings of love aren’t enough to dictate for you who you spend the rest of your life with, you should rather make this tough decision based on serious findings.
Do you believe in God? If yes, then you obviously shouldn’t marry or even date someone who doesn’t believe in God because it will backfire. Do you believe that the original human sexual design is heterosexual alone? If yes, even though you love someone who is a bisexual, you may have to reconsider getting married to that person.
Remember, marriage isn’t just about the two of you; it is also about your children, your career and your entire future. Get married to someone who on top of extreme love for you shares deeply in your vision. It is in the process of friendship that you study and know if he or she is the right person for you. Take your time, spend a lot of times talking and knowing that person very well so that you don’t spend the rest of your life in regrets.
While knowing how important love is in keeping marriage, love is not the reason to marry. We marry for the purpose of oneness and we uphold that marriage in love. If you are bent on spending the rest of your life in the United States, you shouldn’t marry someone who is bent on spending his or her life in Nigeria. Be intentional with who you want to spend the rest of your life. Why should you marry that person? Is it about how you feel now or about what you intend achieving with that person?
Let me get your feedback on the comment section.