What is love to you? What does love look like to you? What should married love look like?
These are very important questions that the faithful need to strongly consider. We are living in a world that has a profound confusion about the difference between love and lust. So often in today's culture we see lust flourish for a time using the title of love and we get confused when "love" doesn't last.
Part of the reason our modern interpretation of love doesn't work is because it's lust; lust is selfish love is selfless. Lust seeks personal gain; love seeks the highest good for another person. Lust turns in on itself while love turns out toward others. Lust, like all sins should be something we work through with Christ. I heard a Lighthouse Catholic Media CD with Jason Evert in which he said that those who struggle with pornography addiction should love the porn star. But he means the deep Christ centered love that we are all called to have. This love wants the highest good for that person, prayerfully asking our Lord to shower his grace and mercy on that person, and offering things up for them.
One of the things I have found in past relationships is that lust turns in on itself while love opens itself up. Before I really began opening myself up to Jesus I was in relationships I thought were love. We spent all our free time together, we talked all the time when we weren't together, and we enjoyed being alone together. One thing I'd like to point out here and will go in depth with another time is how my parents reacted to this. They prevented us from seeing each other as often and for as long as we wanted because they knew it wasn't a good relationship. We should listen to our parents when they say these things. But today our emphasis is on lust turning in. This young man and I only wanted to do things by ourselves most of the time. We didn't go out with friends or family too often. We were usually alone at his house. We didn't volunteer together or participate in church events together. We sat and watched movies at his place. One sure way to determine love or lust is what you spend your time doing and with whom you are doing it.
Love will want to spend time getting to know friends and family. We often hear people say one is marrying a family not just a person. With marriage come family vacations, holiday dinners, and all sorts of communal activities. Is it not logical to see how compatible one is with the family of a significant other and see if the two families can come together? There will certainly be dinner parties, BBQs, and bon fires with friends. We should see if his friends mesh well with our personality and if our friends mesh well with his personality. True love will want to spend time growing at the center of all these relationships and should be cultivated in this way. Love needs the support of those around us to be successful. The devil knows this and that is why lust seeks to be alone.
In my 22 years on this earth I have made more than a handful of mistakes when it comes to guys. A few things I have learned to keep my eyes open for are: how does Jesus feel, what does my family think, and who are we spending time with. These are all key details to know if we are loving or lusting.
Keep an eye out for part two of this topic where we will discuss what love is.