Wednesday, February 2, 2011

What s Love Got To Do With It

© 2011, Chantelle Henderson

Admit it.  When you saw the title of this article, Tina Turner’s 80’s hit song, “What’s Love Got To Do With It?” was the first thing to come to mind.   I’m still sitting at my Desk writing this with the song resounding in my head.  The title of the song  says it all.  Ms. Turner’s song is one of her belief  that love has nothing to do with your contentment or happiness in relationships.  You can have one in the absence of love.  Oddly  enough, Love, the decision to love, has EVERYTHING to do with it.

No relationship is authentic and real without the element of love;  true love;  Agape love as Jesus Spoke of.  Growing up, just like every other girl I believed in princesses, princes, castle, pixie dust, and happily ever after.  It was when I got married to my husband of almost 14 years that the castle turned into a mortgage, the princess didn’t have everything handed to her on a silver platter, that her prince could never complete her 100% because only God can be that.  The pixie dust:  Well, let’s just say the pixie dust eluded me.  It was nothing more that wishful thinking that I could sprinkle it over my life and everything in my marriage would be perfect.  Nothing was perfect.  In fact, in the beginning every ideal I had of a “Disney Fairytale” shattered around me like a glass house.  The first three years I hated being married.  I wanted out!  I heard people say, “Love is a decision.”  Yeah right!  They were wrong.  It wasn’t a decision.  It was something I was supposed to feel and if I didn’t feel it, then it didn’t exist…….that is until the Lord grabbed hold of me one day when I was contemplating leaving my less than satisfying marriage and gave me an assignment.  “I want you to get out your Bible and study 1 Corinthians 13” What?!  Was He kidding?  I knew that passage backwards and forwards.  Why?  Reluctantly I grabbed my Bible and opened it up to 1 Corinthians chapter 13.  There were stickie notes, underlining, and hi-liting all over the chapter.  I KNEW what it said and what it meant.  Nothing could be a bigger deception.  My heart deceived me and after my “assignment” I learned the most valuable lesson in life that doesn’t just apply to my marriage, but all my relationships.  Love indeed is not a feeling.  It is a decision.   The Holy Spirit guided me to look at each word that described what love is.  I don’t have enough room here to list everything, so I will write an abbreviated list.  You will get the point.

With a pen in hand a small spiral bound, I wrote down each word that defined love in 1 Corinthians 13: 

Love is….

Patient
(accommodating, forgiving, gentle, understanding)

Kind
(affectionate, considerate, compassionate, tolerant)

Does Not Envy
(spite, resentment, backbiting, ill will)

Is Not Boastful
(arrogant, egotistical, cocky, vainglorious)

Not Conceited
(narcissistic, phony, self-important)

Does Not Act Improperly
(incorrectly, erroneously)

Not Selfish
(self-indulgent, narrow-minded, egocentric)

Not Provoked
(insult, offend, irritate, make waves, annoy)

Does Not Keep Record Of Wrong
(unfair, miscalculated)

Finds No Joy In Unrighteousness
(violation, disobedience)

Rejoices In The Truth
(celebrate, revere, praise, be glad)

Bears All Things
(sustains, upholds, exhibit, maintain, cherish)

Believes All Things
(accept, trust, affirm, consider)

Hopes All Things
(watch for, hold on, hang in, believe, aspire)

Endures All Things
(stick it out, outlast, prevail, remain)

By the time I was done, I felt like I’d been sucker punched in the stomach.  All those things were choices.  They were decisions I HAD TO MAKE.  I had to choose to do all these things.  They indeed are not feelings.  The revelation I acquired that day changed my life and my marriage forever.  Was it easy?  Not so much! With gritted teeth there were days I would have to say out loud, “I can either remind him of what he did, or keep no record of it.  Choose love.”  Anyone who knows me will understand that keeping my mouth shut is like asking a cow not to produce milk.  I often think God put James 3:5-6 in the Bible just for yours truly. On many occasions behaved like a two year old kicking and screaming in the middle of a grocery store.  I would still pitch my fits, but I knew if this marriage was going to survive, I had to choose love.  I fell short, but more often than not, I did choose love.  The result all these years later is my “Happily Ever After”.  That doesn’t mean we never argue or don’t disagree.  It means that when I look at my prince charming, I see the best in him, not the worst.  I choose to forgive, rather than hold a grudge.  It means that the room in my heart that was once occupied with hatred and bitterness is now filled with this amazing, indescribable love for my husband.   Furthermore, it expands my capacity to love others.  Thank God for my patient, loooooong-suffering, gentle prince who allowed me the time I needed to walk out the decision to love. 

So, what’s love got to do with it?  If you make the choice to love someone, EVERYTHING!