Is Love a Feeling of Desire or an Emotion?

Posted by | February 12, 2018 | Balance, Family, Pastors' Wives | No Comments
Stone carved into heart shape

I would like to share a blog from one of our pastors’ wives on a subject that is very fitting for February.

“Is love a feeling of desire or an emotion?”

Merriam Webster has a simple definition of love, as well as the full definition of love used as a noun and as a verb. While I usually place merit on their definitions, on this one they just didn’t get it right.

Love is misunderstood more often than not. People generally consider love to be something that you feel, or just have. This would make love be a noun.

But love isn’t a noun, is it? We all remember from school that a noun is a person, place, or thing. This is where the misunderstanding begins… People place love in the noun category because they imagine love as a thing. Something that can be possessed by someone and given to another. But you can’t really give love (like a gift, a tangible thing), nor can you possess it (like a car or a new dress). It’s not even something that you feel (like the flu or cold temperatures) or that you’re able to make someone else feel (like a smack or a hug!). After reading this answer in its entirety, you will agree with no objections that love should never be thought of as a noun. And that’s good, because believing that love is a feeling or something you have is what has in the past, is right now, or will in the future destroy the very relationship that you wanted to last forever. For anyone that is thinking I have no clue what I’m talking about, please indulge me and read to the end so that in 50 years when you’ve enjoyed a lifetime of happiness with the person you wanted to share your life with, I can receive the silent thank you that this answer will have earned me.

Love, simply put, is an action that you choose to do. The absolute most known use of the words, “I love you”, should define the word in all clarity for everyone to see. It’s understandable that it doesn’t though because it is a phrase that is used to express how one feels about another, as a closing salutation when saying goodbye, or a convincing plea when things have gone wrong between people that care deeply for each other.

But let’s put it in its correct context for a moment. I love you. We all know “I” makes up the subject of that simple sentence in its entirety. Now, “I love”, only makes a dependent clause because it only consists of a subject and a verb.

That’s right… now it’s easier to see. Remember, a verb shows action. “I love” can only be a dependent clause because the thought isn’t finished. What do “I love”? You. So “you” completes the thought which makes “I love you” an independent clause, as well as the most simple form of a properly structured sentence. Now it is undeniable that love is a verb, so we can move away from this boring refresher of elementary school days, and move on to the explanation of what the action of loving requires.

If you’ve never been in a relationship that shares a genuinely caring and intimate connection, don’t worry. You will one day and this next part will give you the understanding of loving that can make that relationship last for eternity. And for

those of you that have before, think back to the beginning of it. Remember the process of getting to know each other. Now think about all of the things that you and your significant other did or would have done to make the other feel important and special in your life. Now take all of those thoughts and substitute them for love in that three-word sentence. I love you, becomes “I cherish you”, “I spend time with you”, “I laugh with you”, “I give to you”, “I think of you”, “I respect you”, “I consider you”, “I defend you”, “I am faithful to you”, “I am loyal to you”, “I am intimate with you”…. The list is only limited by what you would do for or with that person that you care deeply about. And all of those things are choices you make each and every time that you do them. Yep, you guessed it. All of those actions of loving are what brings that plethora of pleasant emotions… happy, joy, thrilled, eager, anxious, charged, driven, motivated.

So, to love someone, is a choice. And it’s a choice that you make every day. Even every moment at times. And every time you choose it, those feel good emotions rush into the person you’re loving.

That’s right… the feeling of being “in love” is really all of the good emotions experienced as a result of two people choosing to perform the action of love on each other.

And if you want to share your life with that person, you must perpetually make the choice to love them. Ya know… in good times and bad, through sickness and health. Even when you’re so mad at them that they are the absolute last thing you want to see.

Really, those mad times are the most critical times. When you’re mad at them, you should quickly choose to love them. Yes, seriously. Inevitably, every time that you choose to not love (cherish; kiss; respect...) them, makes it easier the next time to not choose to love them.

Loving someone should be a perpetual choice forever because it makes sense! After all, you choose to love them simply because you want to love them!

That choice and want should be all that is needed to maintain choosing to love every time.

And anyone that has any doubt left… think about the last great relationship you had. It was unrealistically great at the very beginning, wasn’t it? What about after the “new wore off”? Didn’t feel quite as connected, did it? Now think about all of the actions you each did to make the other feel significant at the very beginning. When the new wore off, I would bet that you each had stopped doing those things at least by half as much. You weren’t choosing to love every single opportunity you had. It is the demise of almost every single failed relationship. The person that one wants to keep forever, they lose because they stop making that person feel like they are significant.

My answer is no, love isn’t a “feeling” of desire or anything else for that matter. Nor is it an emotion. It is purely an action that you choose to do to, or for,

someone that causes them to feel every pleasant emotion available in hopes that they will reciprocate and perform equivalent actions to, or for, you so that you may experience those same great emotions.

By Kenneth Moore, “Is love a feeling of desire or an emotion?”
Answered April 22, 2016
(Words in italics inside parentheses are my additions)

1 John 4:7 – Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.

Romans 5:8 – Love comes from God. How did God prove His love for us? In that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

You might be thinking, “Yeah, but that’s God! I’m only human!” True. But God blows that theory out of the water when He says in John 13:34 (NIRV)

“I give you a new command. Love one another. You must love one another, just as I have loved you.”

Just as…? Whoa. Big order there. But if love is from God, and He expects us to do as He does, then where can you go to get that love? Straight to the source of love, Love Himself!

1 John 4:8 –  But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

With practice and with His help, we can learn to love our precious husbands the way God intended!

– Robin Houston

I found this a very interesting blog and felt it needed to be shared because I believe we can all learn something from it in how to love our husbands better.

We are here to help on your ministry journey in any way we can.

About Rodetta Cook

Rodetta Cook has been a pastor’s wife for 40 years. She and her husband, Ron, have actively served the Lord together in ministry during the entire time and are co-founders of Care for Pastors. She understands the expectations, loneliness and how hard it is to find balance in ministry as a pastor’s wife. Rodetta also leads the pastor’s wives initiative at Care for Pastors called The Confidante and ministers to hundreds of wives each week. She strives to share blogs with other pastors’ wives that will help them in their ministry walk.

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