When You Argue for No Reason
Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful. 1 Corinthians 13:5
I’ve heard people say that true love shouldn’t be difficult. The implication is that as a relationship gets to be a lot of work, that’s the sign that it isn’t true love, because, if you’re really in love, it’s easy to treat the other person well – all the time. I remember thinking along these lines. I once learned (erroneously), that when a relationship got to that point where you’re arguing just for the sake of arguing, you’ve fallen out of love. If you’re really in love you’ll never argue with the other just for the sake of being right, right?
You could take today’s passage to reinforce this idea. You could look at your own relationship and say that since you and your spouse don’t live selflessly, that you don’t possess true love. That view however, makes love out to be something that just happens to us. We fall in and we fall out. We’re simply victims of love and its eventual demise, which we can do nothing about.
Love consists partly of emotion, and as such, it’s prone to temperamental changes. When we’re first in love, emotion rules all and we cannot imagine ever arguing with the one we love. Eventually however, the intensity of that emotion dwindles, and we return to being who we truly are – two self-centered people in a relationship. This is when we can go one of two ways. We either fall out of love, or we find out that love is so much more than just an emotion.
Today’s passage is meant, not to hold up to our love to measure whether it’s real or not, but rather, to tell us how to act with those whom we love. Whether we admit it or not, most of us are inherently selfish people. It simply isn’t natural then, to live a life of selflessness. That takes effort and work.
Love is work. Yes, it is emotion, but it is also a choice and a behavior. If emotion is all we have, we’re all going to run out of love (or fall out) eventually. True love means putting in the daily effort to live selflessly, not being irritable or resentful towards those we love. Most things that are worthwhile in life don’t come naturally. Those things that come easily are usually mirages of immediate gratification that we pay for later. True love is work and requires sacrifice. If you’re willing to put in that effort though, true love is also one of the most amazing things we’ll experience in this life.