“The love language of all good marriages is self-denial. The same is true for enduring friendships and for authentic community” (Burk Parsons).
“Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had” (Philippians 2:3-5).
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (I Corinthians 13:4-8, NIV).
Love protects relationships from destructive conflict – from divisive rivalry.
Love is “the most excellent way” (I Corinthians 12:31). “These three remain: Faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love” (I Corinthians 13:13).
Should we wait for the feeling of love?
“Often we speak about love as if it is a feeling. But if we wait for a feeling of love before loving, we may never learn to love well. The feeling of love is beautiful and life-giving, but our loving cannot be based in that feeling. To love is to think, speak, and act according to the spiritual knowledge that we are infinitely loved by God and called to make that love visible in this world. Mostly we know what the loving thing to do is. When we ‘do’ love, even if others are not able to respond with love, we will discover that our feelings catch up with our acts” (Nouwen).
Look to the One who loved us first, our great God and Savior (see: I John 3:16-18; 4:7-11, 19).