Love is not just a feeling. Love is a human, conscientious need for affiliation that is planned for, worked for; sacrificed for; suffered through; overcomed; borne grief for. In other words, love is a commitment that overlooks our weaknesses and faults, it forgives; it reconciles; it holds no grudges; it focuses on the needs of the other person.
After comedian Bob Hope died, having lived to 100 years of age, tributes poured in from around the United States and the world. On the American Broadcast Company (ABC), a female commentator, whose name is not recalled, commented that Mr. Hope’s is “A Saint” for having remained married to one man for so long. She stated she is unable to stay with one man for a life time and be limited to a single sexual experience—the Hopes had been married for more than 70 years according to this commentator.
Having reviewed more than a dozen and half pieces of literature since 1900, it is easy for many behavioral and social scientists today to view love as sardonic and to re-define love a mechanistic satyriasistic urge that must be satiated on the bases of feeling without concern for or desirous for a commitment. What we are left with is love fallen into blindly, a second hand emotion, or a momentary sexual conquest until the next urge comes along and must be filled.
From what was read concerning Bob Hope’s marital life, Mr. Hope’s love for his wife as well as his family had no limits. Its endurance and his love for his wife and family superceded everything in his earthly life. It became a powerful relationship. A commitment that carried them through for more than 70 years of married life. He was his wife’s sweetheart and for his wife as well. Their love was a state of mind—a commitment Bob Hope made—unconditional love for his wife his aim.
The Apostle Paul through God’s inspiration gave us a superb description of love in I Corinthians. It is this author’s belief that Paul’s instruction to the Christians of his day and to this day as well is to make “unconditional love your aim”. God meant love to be unconditional, enduring and above all a commitment—not a second hand emotion or feeling to be made then broken and thrown away as we do trash.
For there to be love requires, sacrifice, forgiveness, reconciliation, compromise, trust, celebration, consideration, sharing, cleaving, commitment, the setting of priorities. Most persons have read about, know or interviewed persons in long, sustaining marriages. Each marital couple report periods when they were not very loving towards their spouse nor did they believe they were in love at the time. Yet the commitment to interact (not just communicate), forgive, reconcile, be patient, and willingness to endure carried couples through their valleys of difficulty and doubt.