Love Is A Verb

Posted: July 18, 2011 in Love and Marriage
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Love is a verb.  Yes, that can be a cliché, but there’s a lot of truth where that statement comes from.  To paraphrase a speaker I once heard, love makes a much better verb than noun.  Love as a noun is something people have never quite been able to grasp.  What is it?  It’s too mysterious and too abstract to function well as a noun.

As a verb, love becomes visible and tangible.  You can see it, feel it, experience it, and do it.  In fact, you have to, if your “love” is ever going to be anything more than a feeling.  Hear me on this; love is something you make, and to make something requires action.

Mort Fertel’s “marriage fitness” concept was one of the things I used to save my marriage.  It was a powerful idea to me, being a fitness person, that you can “make love” by doing actions like giving gifts, using kind words, spending fun time together, and building another person up.  When my wife said she only felt friendship toward me, but didn’t feel love anymore, I “made love” where there was no feeling.  I built those feelings in the same way an athlete builds muscle or stamina.

It took time and it took committment.  It was a day after day, week after week, month after month process.  A 90 pound weakling doesn’t go to the gym two or three times and expect to look in the mirror and see a muscular physique.  It takes work, but that person can and will build muscle if he stays with it and does what it takes.

I know lots of people who talk about wanting to be more fit, but they don’t do the things you have to do to be fit.  They make excuses instead of dong the work.  No one has time, but some people make the time.  When they start, they don’t stick with it.  They fail to follow through either because they aren’t seeing results, other things interfere, they don’t want to spend the money, or they perceive it as being just too difficult.

It’s the same way with a failing relationship.  I didn’t see results from my wife for a long time, but I kept doing the actions.  I got discouraged and distracted at times, but I kept doing the actions.  I made a decision that I wanted my wife’s love more than I wanted any other thing this world had to offer, and I stuck with it, no matter what.  Too many people say, “I tried, but it didn’t work,” when they weren’t in it for the long haul.  They wanted the quick fix, but fizzled when it was going to take much more time and work than they bargained for.

Now, my reality is this:  Once in shape doesn’t mean always in shape.  A person who is physically fit will begin to decline after only 72 hours of no physical exercise.  Once I had built up that love and had my wife securely in my heart and life once again, the work wasn’t finished.  In fact, if I want a happy love life, it will never be finished.  Just like if I want to stay in shape, I can never quit exercising.

When I get up in the morning, I very rarely feel like going to the gym, or getting on my bike, or hitting the running trail.  If I only worked out when I felt like it, I rarely ever would, and I wouldn’t be in shape.  I go and do it anyway, because I’m committed to the results, and that requires me to go through the process, because you don’t get one without the other.  So it is with my marriage.  I’m committed to doing the same things now that I did to save my marriage, because if I don’t, my marriage fitness will begin to decline, just like my physical fitness will decline if I stop working out.

People want more love in their marriage.  They want more romance, more spontaneity, more fun.  Do the actions.  That’s how it works.  It’s simple.  It’s not easy, but it is simple.  You won’t always feel like it.  Do it anyway.  Your spouse won’t always respond the way you hope for. Keep doing it.  Commit to the results if it’s the results you want.

It doesn’t have to be big things.  It doesn’t need to be fancy restaurants, expensive gifts, elaborate dates, or the like, although those things have their place.  It can be the little things, like really listening when your spouse needs to talk, remembering what he or she likes and showing up with it as a surprise, choosing to say words that build up and never tear down, and lending a helping hand at the right moment.

I’m committed to results, and that means doing what it takes.  Here’s the best part.  It’s so much more than worth it.  I never knew that our love could be this good.  It wouldn’t be without the work and the actions that have built it up and made it what it now is.  That’s why love is best understood as a verb.


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