What Does Love Look Like?

Image courtesy of imagery majestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

When I was a teenager, my teeny-bopper heart longed to be married when I was eighteen. I know, looking back decades later, I see the folly of that heart’s desire. I equated “married love” with acceptance. I pictured a man (or man-boy at eighteen to twenty years old) embracing me for who I was, loving me with abandon and being mine forever and ever amen. Yes, you’re allowed to laugh, I was the epitome of youthful naivete.

I know people who married young and are still together. If I had married at eighteen, I probably would have been divorced by twenty-three. I grew and changed so much as a person in those five years. Though some of the waiting years between eighteen and when I met my husband were tough, I’m so glad now that I waited for God’s best.

When I married at twenty-eight years old, love looked much different. It doesn’t look like someone placing me at the center of his universe. Thank goodness! It doesn’t look like him always catering to my needs. I’ve discovered the joy of giving and receiving in my relationship with my honey. I am his second priority, right after his relationship with Jesus. There’s something indescribably wonderful about being cherished by my man. The commitment he lives out each day, the sacrifices he makes, the patience he extends when I’m writing like a mad woman–these are priceless gifts of love.

I love making sure our home is a place he wants to come home to. In our relationship, love also looks like: cuddling up together to watch a movie and munch on big bowl of popcorn. Or, giving him space and down-time for his introverted side to regroup after a difficult day. Love is knowing what his needs are and doing what I can to meet them, even when it’s inconvenient for me.

Love is giving and receiving.

Your turn: How did love look to you at eighteen? How do you describe love now?

Happy Valentine’s Day!

12 thoughts on “What Does Love Look Like?”

  1. Hi Jeanne!

    Wow, you and I are a lot a like! I wanted nothing more than to be married asap, and like you, I would’ve been divorced by 23!! For one thing, I wasn’t serving God (even though I’d been raised in church and knew better) and I would’ve settled for an unequal yoke. Plus, I had a wicked temper that hadn’t had a chance to mellow with time. By the time I met my husband (at 25) I was a little closer to the woman he deserved. We married right before I turned 26, but I don’t think I fully appreciated his wonderfulness until our car accident in 2007. He has stayed with me, picked up the slack, and made countless sacrifices to help me to find my second life in writing.

    If someone brought me a bunch of photos and asked me to pick which man I thought I’d marry, I’m not sure I could’ve picked him out of a line up, because I would’ve been looking at his appearance rather than his heart, and he wasn’t my “type.” (I was into big guys with dark hair and dark eyes…he was tall and skinny, and blonde!) I am so thankful that God completely ignored me, and instead gave me an amazing man who showed me what unconditional love looked like and taught me how to give it to others. And, without him, I wouldn’t have my other two favorite men, my two teenage sons.

    Our best friends got married right after high school…she was only 17 and he was her legal guardian for a few months until she turned 18! We met them much later, but even after five years, they were still growing up. Sometimes I think they stayed married the first ten years just to make it to their high school reunion and spite all the classmates and teachers who said they wouldn’t last. It was rocky at first, but as they’ve aged (and mellowed) they’ve settled into a wonderful and loving relationship. It just took a little longer because they were still growing up.

    Thanks for sharing your heart!! The more I get to “know” you between our blogs, the more I look forward to finally meeting you!


    1. Heidi, your words bless me. 🙂 I look forward to meeting you too. I’m so glad God gives us the best gifts, even when they “look” a little different than the ones we pick out for ourselves. And, if we study our men, I bet we’ll continue to find the “wonderful” in them. Yes? 🙂 Happy Valentines Day from one friend to another.


  2. Jeanne, love your blog! You definitely have a way with words. I felt just like you did. To me it also meant security. I wasn’t a Christian then and didn’t understand that marriage and true love was more about serving than being served. I am so thankful God had me wait until just before turning 30 to be married. I, like you, would have been divorced within a few years had I married earlier as I needed to experience the fullness of Christ’s love first.


    1. Sandy, security was definitely something I wanted too. I like how you expressed it at the end of your comment: “I needed to experience the fullness of Christ’s love first.” Beautiful thought. Thank you so much for stopping by!


  3. Great post, Jeanne! I’m so glad I found your new blog! 🙂

    I’m 26 and still waiting on God to send the “right” one (if it’s in His plan for me). I don’t want to settle for what my sometimes still naive heart wants. Your story is inspiring to me and encourages me to hold onto God’s promise–that He wants the best for us, His best for us, not what we think we need.

    I actually did a guest post today on Johnnie Alexander Donley’s blog about waiting on God’s timing in the department of romance. 🙂 Here’s the link if you’d like to read it. http://johnniedonley.com/2013/02/love-letters-not-given-by-morgan-tarpley.html

    Happy Valentine’s Day, Jeanne!


    1. Morgan, I’m so glad you stopped by! Trust me, waiting for God’s best in a husband is sooooo worth the wait. 🙂 I’ll be praying for you in this waiting time. 🙂 I’m popping over to your guest post now. Happy Valentine’s Day to you, too!


  4. At 18, I thought I’d found (and lost) the love of my life.
    Ah, the ignorance of youth.
    I like to say there’s a whole lot more to happily-ever-after than the fairy tales tell us.
    And real love is all about sacrifice — and staying the course even when you feel like there’s no reason not to.


  5. That should be: Staying the course when you feel like there is no reason to.
    Typed that sentence too fast!


    1. You’re right, Beth. There’s SO much more to “happily ever after” love than the fairy tales say. Sacrifice and staying the course. Definite necessities for life-long love. 😉


    1. I love that, Jennifer. Love has seasons. What a great thought. Happy Valentine’s Day. I’m guessing by now, you’ve enjoyed that amazing dinner you described the other day. 🙂


Comments are closed.