Love as a Verb
BY: Troy Murphy | September 2018
The strength of the relationship is exposed by how we treat a partner when irritable, or stressed. Love requires intentional action.
Loving is easy when we feel loving. We feel warmth and closeness and act accordingly. Most healthy and a large portion of the unhealthy act this way. When we feel love in our hearts, we pass it along. There is no glory in this. We are just the puppet of a feeling. But what would happen if we saw love as something that we do—an action; not just a response to a feeling? Loving someone would not be an excuse for poor behavior or selfish manipulations. Instead loving someone would mean we act lovingly towards them. Love becomes an action verb not a noun once possessed we just sit around and reap its benefits.
When feeling comforted and joyous, we naturally treat our partners well—most do anyhow. And if we are involved with someone who is unpredictably mean, while smiling, we should run from their malignant vileness. But treating others well while feeling loving proves nothing. However, how we treat our partner when we feel irritable or annoyed colors a much broader picture of the relationship. These imperfect moments are gifts to expose commitments. Loving action during disagreement, tiredness, and disappointment display the content of our heart. Here in these fractured moments, intentional actions of love give birth to security.
"But treating others well while feeling loving proves nothing. However, how we treat our partner when we feel irritable or annoyed colors a much broader picture of the relationship. These imperfect moments are gifts to expose commitments."
When emotions rumble, we must seize the opportunity to solidify the relationship. When a partner returns home after a has a taxing day at the office, naturally the mood carry home isn’t welcoming and warm; the normal emotional support, gentle glances, and friendly flirts are missing. Too many believe love is a noun, something they possess with certain rights. When a partner fails to engender the warm feelings in their heart, they quickly sour and retaliate. The bad mood from the office explodes into a bad evening at home. One bad day ignites insecurities and morphs into something more destructive. Both partners have responsibility to work through these. One to support and the other to not project emotions unduly on an innocent partner. But in the struggles, needs are left unfulfilled. Love must meet these challenges with positive action, giving support and comfort.
In strong relationships, the roles of receiver and giver constantly switch as assistance is needed.
"Love as a verb isn't dependent on how you feel or even what you think. Instead you make an unconditional commitment to the other person." - Harville Hendrix
Overly-self-focused partners may offer obligatory words of support; but when the superficial attempt fails, they quickly become frustrated, exploding with anger or pulling away with withdrawal. These self-protecting hoggish acts of narcissistic entitlement effectively show their partner that unless you bring your best self to the table, you will not be served. Love is seen as a feeling not an action. When actions don’t create pleasant feeling effects than (with this version of love) you will be punished.
Ridiculous expectations that a partner will always be loving asks partners to be unhuman. We build trust by working through the ebbs and flows of positive and discomforting emotions, knowing we will be supported even during the hurtful, struggling, and anxiety ridden days. This security only is built through the consistently of loving acts given when life doesn’t feel so loving.
The selfish exploit this need, painting a picture of need that never heals, leaving little or no room for a second heart. They seek a medal of honor when they cowardly refuse to give. The cowardly lover claims to be the night in shining armor. When the relationship is at the brink of destruction, they painful chime, “no one will ever love you like me.” They blur the facts, dismiss reality and continue to mistreat. Expressions of love that wait until we are exhausted and ready to flee are self-serving and without merit, merely a forceful attempt to dissuade the consequence of their unloving actions.
This record has played a thousand times, the guilty lover returns just to find, once again, that once love is given, the poor treatment returns. They live in the noun-ness of love. Love is here, I can do nothing and enjoy its presence.
Love is a verb—an action. Not a one-time action, begging please don’t leave me, I’ll change. But the love that exists as a verb that occurs over and over in the small moments when we are tired, sad or angry.
Flourishing Life Society Website search: