What is Love?

It’s so strange to me , how books have been talking to me in whispered voices.

First it was Heavenly Places by Kim Cash Tate.

Then, Faithful by the some author.

And now, “Love and Other Impossible Pursuits” by Ayelet Waldman.

Unlike the first two books I listed; this is not a Christian fiction novel.

This book is so messy. The tale of a young woman who has lusted after, fallen in love with, and had an affair with a married man. The tangled web of divorce, losing a child, step-parenting, and marriage; this book is so filled with emotion and complexity that I couldn’t put it down.

Ironically, in the 2 weeks that it took me to read this book (I’m the mom of 2 children 5 & under…so that’s pretty good reading if you ask me) I was dealing with my own ins & outs. My husband has been somewhat stressed at work, and we’ve had very little time together. The time we have spent together has been somewhat strained and tense, and at times my tears have rocked me to sleep and awakened me in the morning.

Thankfully, our marriage is built on an everlasting covenant with our Father God, and I’m confident that through continued prayer and understanding; this too shall pass.

But it got me thinking.

As I read this book and evaluated my own motives and emotions, I was constrained by the reality of how fragile marriage and commitment really are. We are selfish people. Our wants and needs tend to outweigh our desire for another’s happiness when we ourselves are feeling worn, misunderstood, or unappreciated. Marriage takes great work and dedication. Those are not easy qualities to come by in this society that tells us “Be happy”, and anything less is unacceptable.

I found it interesting that some of the most profound statements I’ve heard about love and marriage….I read in this novel.

“Love and marriage are about work and compromise. They’re both about seeing someone for what he is, being disappointed, and deciding to stick around anyway. They’re about commitment and comfort, not some kind of sudden, hysterical recognition.”
*p.295 Emilia’s father

“We love each other like a man and woman are supposed to love each other. With hard work and fear. With effort and misunderstanding. With moments of ease. And finally, necessarily, with trust.”
*p. 332 Emilia’s thoughts on her marriage to Jack

“The love was so hard to recognize, but I have finally been able to see it for what it is —grace. Grace is when something is more beautiful than we deserve, more elegant and lovely than it should be. ”
*p. 339 Emilia’s thoughts on her culminated love for her know it all, precocious stepson William

Beautiful, isn’t it?

In all our human shortcomings, and tainted perspectives, God gives us the chance to experience love for what it is.

Tell me, in your opinion/research/experience….What is love?