My husband recently told me that he's not sure he loves me, not sure he ever really has.
You can probably imagine my reaction - mouth wide open, mind slightly freaking out, emotions trying to reconcile what he was saying. It turns out, it's not as bad as I thought - in fact, it was a refreshing way to look at life and marriage and love. Let me explain.
I was feeling nostalgic and asked him if he remembered the first time I told HIM I loved him. Yes, I was the first one to say those all improtant 3 words. Of course he remembered. I asked him if he was going to say it to me that same night. He said something like "probably not...I don't know." Hmmmm.... So I asked him - did you love me then? He said "I'm not sure" (again - shock). Then - to top it off, he said something to the effect of "I still wonder if I do." Not a good thing to say to a woman - especially your wife.
So, I decided to not cause him much physical pain and instead let him explain.
His thought process was - what really is love? Sure, I care about you, I even like you a lot (gee thanks). I cherish you, and desire you, but do I really love you? Do my actions really show that? Do I always put you first, even to my hurt. Do I daily lay down my life for you, do I continually give all of my for the sake of you? I certainly try to, but I am not sure that I always DO love you.
I guess I've always thought of love as the "I can't imagine the next five minutes of my life without you," type of thing. Definitely it's more than the ooey-gooey-mushy feeling of infatuation. But, I've never thought of it in the terms he put it in. I would have to say he is right though.
I know my husband "loves" me according to what I think love is - I have no doubts about it. I also know that I admire and "love" him all the more for his view on what love really is. It is a blessing to me to know that he wants to love me with a Christ-like love and is not satisfied by the worlds, or my, definition of what love is.
Most definitely, I an not an expert in love. In fact I'm not sure anyone really is. I don't think any of us can ever attain the level of love demonstrated by God, by Christ. I can try to, I can strive to, but believe love will only be complete, will only be perfectly manifest, when we see Him face to face.
So, when I feel that mushy feeling welling up inside - will I decline to say those three words and chose to claim that "I am really trying to love you?" I don't know. I doesn't quite have the same feel - but quite possibly holds more truth.