Love is never ever ever selfish.
Love is never present when there are excuses or narratives or explanations. Love does not coexist with those things.
Love is black and white in terms of its presence. It’s either evident or it is absent.
If a person’s behavior is selfish, the only love involved is the individual’s love of self – not of others.
Love is pure. And love is also honest. We cannot make something not honest and not pure into love. There either is love or there is not.
Love is not just a feeling, it’s a commitment. Be it love with a partner or a friend or a parent or a child. And because it’s a commitment, people can sometimes learn that they cannot count on it once any commitment by that person has been broken.
Children learn to believe in love, or not, at a very young age. They learn to trust in love, or not, at a very young age. They learn to live and love and treat others appropriately, or not, at a very young age. They learn based on the behavior of the adults in their lives, and they carry those lessons into adulthood. Those lessons are either their compass or their baggage.
It’s our job as parents to be the absolute best example we can be. We will certainly fail at times because we’re human. But it’s our responsibility to work on those failures, to admit to our children when we’re in the wrong, and to constantly strive to be better. We’re not the parents of animals that primarily need love and care – we’re the parents of little human people who will emulate us and learn about love from us, and we need to behave like it. It’s our job as humans to be good people, and if we become parents that responsibility grows – we will be accountable for how well or how poorly we managed our human and parental responsibilities, in this life and the next.
I can’t read 1 Corinthians 13 and say that even half of those statements apply to me. I keep a record of wrong doings. I get upset with others. I’m sometimes rude. I don’t patiently accept all things. And the truth is I’m not sure I want to work at changing all those behaviors. In some ways I want to remember wrong doings because I think it may help me make more informed decisions now. I have a lot to learn and a long way to go. I’m not the one who cheated, but that doesn’t make me a saint or any “better” at love. I didn’t sleep with my boss, but that doesn’t make me a saint or any “better” at love. I didn’t commit adultery, but that doesn’t make me a saint or any “better” at love.
I feel the weight of the example I must constantly set. That weight is heavy some days. I worry about the example everyone in the girls’ lives sets – the messages we all send with our behavior. I fail greatly some days and that weighs on me because there’s really no second shot at many things. What my girls learn now about love and trust and commitment and honesty will be the compass or the baggage that they carry into adulthood.
1 Corinthians 13: 4-8 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous, it does not brag, and it is not proud. Love is not rude, is not selfish, and does not get upset with others. Love does not count up wrongs that have been done. Love takes no pleasure in evil but rejoices over the truth. Love patiently accepts all things. It always trusts, always hopes, and always endures. Love never ends.