It can be a struggle today for some to believe in love. Past heartbreaks and broken promises have made many cynics.
But I still believe in love because I’ve been loved before, and because I can see love in others. Love is one of those things that exists even if we don’t believe it does. It can be found in the ordinary, little things of life. Those moments give us a glimmer of hope, a shard of evidence that love is more than a fairytale – that love is real even when we doubt it.
First and most importantly, we can see love in the relationship between parents and children. Usually they are the first people a child meets and the first people to love the child – and they will be the ones who will teach that child what it means to love. Parents do this in the most ordinary ways: they keep their children alive by feeding, clothing and giving them shelter. They give hugs and emotional support and also model what it means for a mother and a father to love each other.
I grew up with wonderful parents who showed me what it is like to be loved unconditionally, no matter what I did (or didn’t) do. I saw them disagree with each other, but still work together as a team. One thing that stuck out to me as a child was how they would have (sometimes loud) disagreements over the phone but every time they would end their conversations saying “I love you.” I remember thinking. “How can they say that when they just had a big argument?” But I learned that when you choose to love someone, arguments don’t change that. I knew my parents loved each other and me no matter what.
If you did not grow up with this kind of parent/child relationship, it can make things difficult, but it does not mean that love doesn’t exist, or that you are doomed. There are other ways you can learn to love, as Alysse shares here.
Another way we learn how to love is through our siblings and childhood friends.. Like many siblings, my brother and sister and I didn’t always get along. I believe children learn kindness and forgiveness best during interactions with their siblings. One of my favorite memories is when my brother and I used to get in loud screaming fights and my mom would send us to our rooms, which were right next to each other. We would spend a few minutes sitting by ourselves in our anger, but eventually we would get bored. Mom would come upstairs and find us sitting in each of our doorways playing Beanie Babies with each other.
Forgiveness is an important part of love. My brother and I learned to love each other even though we are very different. I knew he was always going to be my brother and there was something special about that.
In marriage, I have learned to love more fully. My husband is constantly showing me what it means to love someone wholly. He loves me even in all my weaknesses. He does not barter for my love, but gives it freely. Never once has he said (or done anything to show me) that he requires something in return for his love for me.
There are many different kinds of love. Like I mentioned earlier, I first felt the effects of unconditional love through my parents, the through siblings and other friendships. And I figured out what passionate love was after knowing and marrying my husband. But ultimately, I learned what love is through my relationship with God, who is love. I believe that all these different kinds of love stem from and are reflections of divine love.
God’s love is quite radical:
“ Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)
It’s the kind of love that we wish to believe in, that we are all searching for. It’s also the kind of love that can be difficult to believe in because our life experiences can leave us hurt and confused and skeptical. But if we look closely, we can see the signs of love all around—in the ordinary moments of our lives, whether through family, friendships, or romantic love. Those moments are why I choose to believe in Love.
I believe humans have the capability to love because we are made in God’s image. Each and every person on the planet is able to feel and show love, but it is up to us to learn how to love.