Ever hear the saying that love is sacrifice? Nothing is truer. When it comes to love, many people get confused on what it truly is. Many people think that love is a noun, “I`m in love,” however, love is a verb. Love is choosing that person over yourself. When God calls us to love everyone this is what He meant, we must always put others before ourselves. How great would that be if society could do this?
Dictonary.com defines love into two main categories, the first one is feeling, the second is lust. “A feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend” the second definition is “sexual passion or desire”. There is a difference between lust and love. Lust is not of the heart, love is. Lust is wanting someone's body for your personal use, wanting them sexually, something you can experience even if you love someone.
Wait until marriage to have sex.
If you are dating and love someone and are lusting after them, in my Catholic and personal opinion, you should not have sex with them. If someone truly loves you, it`ll show and it`ll shine. Besides, if that person truly loves you, shouldn't they be okay with waiting? That is, indeed, what would happen in an ideal situation. If you love someone, lust will come eventually, you may fall every now and then, that`s okay. You just have to make sure you get back up again and try not to fall again.
One way I like to describe love is a cycle. While you love someone, you often fall in and out of love with them, this is perfectly normal. There is a difference between being in love with someone and loving them, but I`ll get to that later. While you are on the downside of your cycle, not in love with your S.O., this may be when it's hardest not to give into lust. While on the downside, occasionally that love will be replaced with lust, but that`s when you fight back and win.
Another reason why you shouldn't have sex while dating is because dating holds no promise. If you are saying “My boyfriend gave me a promise ring, isn't that enough promise?” well, sorry to say but the answer to this is also no. Through a promise ring is a good sign that he is serious about you and he wants to marry, it's not good enough. If he is serious about marrying you, then he can and should be serious about waiting to have sex. The same goes for being engaged, being engaged is most likely the toughest time to say no to sex. Yes, being engaged holds more promise than a promise ring, but there have been plenty of couples to break up while engaged. My older sister broke her engagement, as an example.
What exactly is love?
Now, I know I`ve been taking the no sex until marriage route but there's more than that to love. As you know the name of this article is “The Sacrifice of Love”, and when I choose that name “love is sacrifice” was going through my head. Love is many things, but I would say it's sacrifice most of all. This can be in a romantic relationship or a friendship. Love can be staying up with your boyfriend just because you know he's lost a lot of sleep due to farming and you want to show him he's not alone. Love can be willing to drive your 15-year-old friend two hours just so she can see the friend she's in love with. I`ve done both these things out of love. Once you are in a marriage, love asks for more sacrifice. Love asks for sacrifice financially, time-wise, and so much more, but it is worth it.
The greatest sacrifice of love, however, I would say is giving yourself so that others may live. “There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends” John 15:13. The greatest example of this, of course, would be Jesus and the cross.
One thing that I feel is important when it comes to love is that love is putting another person in front of you. For example, you see that guy or girl you love? Keep them in mind. Now think of the person you dislike the most. (Notice I did not use the word hate because we are called to love) What if the person you loved (Let's call them Jordan) was dating the person you dislike (Tyler)? So Jordan and Tyler are very happy together and they both want to get married. You, however, may not be a big fan of this. Let's say you had a chance to break Jordan and Tyler up. You would get Jordan, and Jordan would love you, but she wouldn't be as happy with you when she was with Tyler. Would you break them up so you can be with Jordan?
If you said no, congratulations, you are being selfless and want the best for Jordan. If you said yes, I`m not going to tell you that you don't love that person because I have no way to say if you're in love or not. What I can tell you, however, is how much you love Jordan. You may love them, but I believe you love yourself more, which doesn't mean a bad thing.
Now, it is a fact that Jesus calls us to love everyone, and not to hate them. In the paragraph above did you realize that I used the word dislike? You may be asking how you can love someone and still dislike them, well, my friend, the answer is simple. When you love someone, ultimately you want the best for them, but because you love someone doesn't mean you're in love with them. This is how we are able to love someone yet, dislike them. You can dislike someone's personality, their face, how they treat people. You can dislike them all you want, as long as you love them and want the best for them.
Do you have love in your life?
Imagine you are driving, and you come to a red light. You look next to you and there is a 17-20-year-old, and they flip you off, for no reason. Are you going to respond by flipping them off with hate, or simply waving with love? I got this example from a great priest. He came to a red light and a young woman flipped him off because she saw that he was a priest. He could have responded by flipping her off or racing her as the light turned green. Instead, he turned to respond to love, he simply waved back and prayed for her.
I once went on this religious retreat called “Quest”. It was an amazing experience. Quest is made for those who are freshman and sophomores in high school. I went as a freshman, during this time I was of the world. Quest did not seem to do much for me at the time, but it did so much. When I went to Quest, I did not fully love myself, however, in time, I came to love myself. I`ve always had an urge and a will to love others. I did love God, however, I did not think he actually loved me, or he actually noticed me. I was proven wrong.
The main theme of Quest is three circles of love, they look something like this.
As you can see the circles represent Jesus, yourself, and others. What this retreat does is it teaches you that in order to love, you first must love yourself. After you love yourself you can love others. After you love others, you will come to love Jesus. After you have love in all of these places, you will be filled with joy, or Jesus Others Yourself.
I have filled this joy before, and it's such a heavenly feeling. Joy, to me, is a sign that you are on God's path for your life, however, this is not always the case. You can be on God's path and not experience joy, it's just a matter of if you`re going to let your Father love you fully. Even then, we cannot grasp how much God loves us, it's too much for our small human minds.
When I experienced this joy, it was on a Steubenville trip. At this time I was dating Andrew (names have been changed). However, the relationship was falling apart, I was discerning breaking up with Andrew or not, when I knew in my heart I needed too. At Steubenville, God gave me a vision, something I could not deny, no matter how much I tried. At this moment, I was surrounded by love and joy of our Heavenly Father. Not too long after that, I broke up with Andrew and started dating Dayton. As Dayton`s face was the vision.
Love is sacrifice. Love is sacrifice. Once you have been with someone long enough, eventually you are going to get tested. Those of you who are married know what I`m talking about, perhaps even some of you dating. When my love was tested I was in a two-year relationship. Love, I believe, is the only thing that got Dayton and I through it. The details aren't important, what is are the lessons that have been taught. This was the hardest trial my relationship has undergone, as of current. It taught me a few important lessons:
Lesson #1: Love IS sacrifice
I always knew loving someone was going to require sacrifice, but I never knew how much love could take, I never thought it would take literally everything in me, but it did. It was to a point I felt I couldn`t control myself. I felt as if lust had overtaken me. I was scared, I was fighting it, but it felt as if it was too strong. I was practically throwing myself at Dayton (not in a good way). However, out of love, he did not let me give in. Once I realized he was choosing to love his future bride over me, it gave me the strength to continue fighting this demon called lust.
Lessons #2: Loving someone is a choice, not a feeling
I stated earlier the difference between being in love and loving someone, this applies here. Love is seeing the worse in your partner and choosing to stay. If you were simply in love, seeing the worst in them *may* turn you away. If you love them then you would make a choice. You may either choose to love them or let them go. Love is a choice.
Lesson #3: Love stays true, no matter how hard it gets
I`ve had moments in my relationship where I truly believe the only thing that has gotten us through those trials is love. It really is true when it is said: “For without love, I am nothing.” However, no matter what trial comes, true love, will win. It stays loyal, loving, honest, etc.
Lesson #4: Love isn't as easy as the movies make it look
Movies portray love as simply kissing someone. Love takes work and a lot at that. Sadly, life is not a Disney movie. Being in love, there's absolutely those “fairy tale moments” but it's not like this all the time. When you're in love, it's not like how Disney makes it look, there are trials. One of the most difficult lessons I have had to learn with love is that you'll most likely hurt that other person, or you’ll get hurt by them. This isn’t a bad thing, however, it’s a good thing. You’ll most likely get hurt through trials. Trials are typically a blessing in disguise.
Lesson #5: Love can last without sex
It may not seem like it, but there are plenty of relationships that last without having sex. It is possible, and these relationships tend to be the most healthy ones.
Lesson #6: Love comes with respect, trust, honesty, and forgiveness
Love is a great thing, and it comes with respect, trust, honesty, and forgiveness when it is true. This stuff comes naturally, you cannot force it.
Lessons #7: You can't help falling in love, not even if you try to stop it
You know when you're walking and you trip? You fell! And this was out of your control. Falling in love is like this, no matter how hard you try to control it, you're gonna fall! But love, if you allow it, can be such a beautiful thing!