It was a bright, clear August morning. I woke up at the crack of dawn exhausted because my excitement had kept me up long into the night, but I could not keep myself in bed. I was in a mediocre hotel in a small town
with my parents and had shared a queen bed with my white-haired grandmother. To anyone else it may have seemed like we were just passing through and grabbed the hotel because we were so tired and needed a rest, but I had longed for this day since I was twelve years old. Today was my wedding day. I was marrying not only the man of my dreams, but also my best friend and I was marrying him in the most beautiful place to me in the world.
With Valentine’s Day fast approaching and many people anticipating the release of the film adaptation of the book “Fifty Shades of Grey,” I wanted to write my own thoughts about this. If you are unfamiliar with the story it is about how a young reporter interviews a very wealthy man about his company and success for her college newspaper. One thing leads to another and he asks her out, showering her with expensive gifts and treatment, then comes the big moment when he asks her to become his “dominate” or to have a contract where she will be basically his sex slave. He does all kinds of dominating things to her and she absolutely enjoys it, falls in love with him, and hopes that he will love her back and just not use her for sex anymore.
Are you kidding me? People are going to be lining up to see this movie! I just don’t understand it. It is pornography for women. I too was once a young reporter covering stories for my college newspaper and would have been frilled if a rich, powerful man was interested in me–until he tried to take me bed. I would have slapped him right in the face and kicked him straight in the balls. Call me “old-fashioned” or “close-minded” or whatever you like, but I would not have stood for it. My parents taught me about the fifty ways to show real love–to be happy in this life and the next and I will always, always be grateful to them.
Here is my list of the fifty ways to really love, not just satisfy your sexual wants and strange desires, use someone else and then walk away.
1) Real love is selfless. “Greater love have no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13. When you truly love someone you want their happiness more than you want your own. I know my parents sacrificed a lot for all five of my siblings and myself in order for us to play sports, have music lessons, a roof over our heads, etc. I also know that when I think of my husband’s happiness, more than my own our relationship is so much better. I feel so much more love for him than I knew I could even have. As a parent now of three boys, I would do anything for them. I would give them my kidney, I would give them my blood, I would do anything they would need in order for them to be happy.
2) Real love is being patient. In this world of fast-food, Netflix, and high-speed Internet we have a hard time waiting for things. I waited to have sex before I was married. I was a virgin? How can that possibly be? You may think I am an idiot or crazy, but you are certainly entitled to your opinion. Then you might say, “Well, your husband could certainly wasn’t a virgin then! Men just can’t control their urges. They just need to have sex or they won’t survive!” Believe it or not, my husband was a virgin too. We waited to have sex and it was so worth it. We were both novices and have learned and grown together to find out what we like and what we don’t like. However, we are completely committed to each other.
3) Pornography is not love. Not only was my husband a virgin, but he somehow in this media age where you can view porn whenever or wherever you want, he chooses not to look at it. Of course he was exposed to pornography, but he choose to look away. He chose to keep himself away from it because he knew it would destroy him. I was exposed when I was 8 years old and struggled for years not to look or watch things, but as I grew older I was able to keep myself busy and I developed other hobbies and interests . I was able to remain chaste until we were married.
4) Love is more than sex. You care about the person, not just what parts on their body can satisfy yours. If more people understood this, there would be children who lived in “unbroken” homes.
5) Love is not jealous. If you are truly in love with someone, you will be happy for them and for their successes. You will also be confident in yourself to know that if your partner truly cares about you then they will not seek for pleasure somewhere else, if they do, then it is their problem not yours.
6) Love is kind. It is hard to feel romantic or sexual feelings for someone when they are constantly treating you like you are a piece of garbage that could easily be disposed of. It is also hard to feel good about yourself when you are constantly being controlled by someone else.
7) Love is not easily provoked. I say I love my children and my husband but if I am constantly arguing with them or losing my temper, then I am not showing love. My actions are speaking much louder than my words. I have to constantly tell myself, “I am kind, patient and loving” especially when it comes to my three-year old.
8) Love thinks no evil. It is so easy to say and so hard to do! it is so easy to blame others for our reactions to things. “You made me mad!” We do have control of our reactions and have control of our attitudes and our words. it is also so easy to find faults in others. Truly loving someone (and ourselves) is seeing the good in them.
9) Love is being honest. It is hard to tell your partner that you have made a mistake or that you don’t like something they have gone. But open, honest (but said in a kind way) communication goes a very long way. I know that I am trying to be more honest. When we pick a restaurant for a date, I have been standing up and saying I want to go certain places. My husband knows where I stand. I know we would all like our spouses to be like Edward Cullen, but guess what? They really can’t read our minds.
10. Love is not giving up when things get hard. There are times when things can be so hard in life that we think if we could just run away the things would go away. But they don’t. My husband has stuck by me even when I have told him that I was so downhearted that I didn’t to ultimately give up and take my own life. He truly loves me despite my weaknesses.
11. Love is having faith. You treat your partner as if they are already the most amazing person they could be and they will strive for it. In our relationship, we both believe in a Heavenly Father that loves us personally. If we are struggling, we know that we can pray and ask for his faith and he will help us endure our troubles. He is there for me and he is there for my husband. He is also there for my children.
12. Love is having hope. I have forgotten this the last year as I have allowed despair to overwhelm me and take over my life. No longer! I have must embrace hope for the future of my relationship with my husband and also for the hope of the great futures ahead of my children.
13. Love is white and pure, like the dress of a glowing bride.
14. Love is holding your newborn baby in your arms.
15. Love is seeing your husband hold your newborn baby in his arms.
16. Love is helping a neighbor.
17. Love is playing a game with your child.
18. Love is laughing with a friend.
19. Love can be a smile.
20. Love is dancing like no one is watching.
21. Love is anything that is full of light.
22. Love uplifts, does not bring down.
23. Love is sweet, not harsh.
24. Love is making love not just dominating someone into compliance.
25. Love is holding hands even when you are 70.
26. Love is feeding your child who cannot feed themselves.
27. Love is simple and does not need to be extravagant.
28. Love is writing a few words of encouragement.
29. Love is being a friend to the friendless.
30. Love is being valued and not treated like a possession.
31. Love is eating something your wife cooked even when it doesn’t taste very good.
32. Love is forgiving others even if it is to let the burden of holding grudges go.
33. Love is your husband putting the little one to bed because he knows you are exhausted.
34. Love is taking care of an aging parent.
35. Love is choosing your down syndrome child over the woman who once was your wife. (http://www.salon.com/2015/02/06/a_father_keeps_his_down_syndrome_baby_but_does_that_make_him_a_hero/)_
36. Love is reading one more story even if you are tired.
37. “Love is patience, kindness and understanding even when you don’t want to show any of it.” from my friend Amie
38. “Love is mutual respect.” from my mother in law
39. “Love is sacrifice.” from my life long friend who has struggled in her marriage but has worked hard to keep it together.
40. “Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” -my sister Julie
41. I asked my three-year old what he thought love was and he pointed at me and smiled. Then he said, “When you play with me.”
42. Love is having a three-year old who thinks you are the definition of love even when you know you aren’t. (tears)
43. “Love to me is being Christlike in all things. My husband shows his love to me by letting me be myself and sometimes that means being a total mess and loving me because of what makes me, me! it also is having unconditional honesty, forgiveness and respect for each other.” my friend Staci (she is amazing, miss you girl.)
44. Love is more than saying, it is doing.
45. Love is spending your time with beggars, lepers, sinners, and other people considered “beneath” others when you are the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.
46. “I know you love me when you make tortellini”.–my eight year old.
47. Love is being the kind of parent who sets a good example for their children.
48. Love is being tolerant, respectful, but also willing to stand up and kick butt if needed.
49. “Love is snuggling with daddy.” three year old.
50. Love is still wanting to be around me even after you have watched me dance.
There are so many shades of love. Love is not grey at all. Love is the light that shines through in grey times. Love is what would make this world a better place if we all showed it more to each other. Please choose love!