While we were having one of our random girl chats, a friend of mine said it is easy to say I love you but when you say Ngiyakuthanda, it carries more weight. Of course my friend is a zulu woman and for her, the vernacular just speaks to her soul.
This made me question how we view the words “I love you.” Not just the the language you use but the overall statement. What does it mean to love someone? Is love a feeling or an emotion? Human emotions and feelings are often fickle so I would like to think that love is neither.
I had a conversation with a male friend of mine and he said he would agree that love is not a feeling. He believes that the love you have for your mother and your girlfriend or your friend is the same thing. “They are in no way different. If we are to say that God is love then all the fundamentals of love are the same no matter what the nature of the relationship. It is the feelings such as lust and passion (in a romantic relationship) that will differ. The problem with society is that we have confused the feelings for love, which is why when those things are gone we believe we no longer love the person and walk away.”
Yes. Wow. I know. I thought so too. There is so much truth to what he said. Love is something that should exist apart from the physical attraction and all else we believe makes for a good relationship.
What I do believe though, is that love is a verb. Therefore love drives the way you behave. What you say, and what you do for the person you have claimed to love. I therefore believe that when you decide to tell someone you love them, you make the decision to act out of the love you profess. You declare that you will be selfless, that you will be kind, patient, true and other components of love.
This brings us to that awkward moment in a relationship when one person is ready to say “I love you” but the other isn’t. What is the ideal way to respond? My mother always says when someone tells you they love you, be polite and say thank you but do not ever feel obliged to say it back because then you are just saying it to please your partner but you do not understand the magnitude of the proclamation you just made.
The 1 Corinthians 13 kind of love. Love that is not circumstantial. Pray to receive it, strive to give it.