Since I’ve been an adult, I’ve gradually realized that real love is largely comprised of grit and self-respect. A passion for someone or a field of interest may spark love, but it’s the grit and self-respect that create and cement real love.
Some may ask how self-respect can help reinforce love. It is simple. True love for something or someone is based on respect for them or it. People who do not respect themselves are generally unable to respect others. Bullies are common examples.
The “grit” part is what keeps us moving forward through the hard work.
Christ at our sides makes it much easier to remember that, if we are worthy of His love, certainly, we are worthy of our own. His presence gives us the strength to carry on in difficult situations.
In romantic love, once we create a bond of marriage with someone, it is easy for the loving feelings to disintegrate into resentment and ennui. The other person has dull interests or he/she will not help with the cooking or housework. Life can become quite tense. Soon, we care little about the feelings of the person to whom we have supposedly devoted ourselves.
However, in many cases, with self-respect and a willingness to work at something we said we wanted, the love in the relationship can mature and grow.
Our careers or our hobbies are much the same. I think everyone has entered enthusiastically into at least one job or cause, only to find quickly that said responsibility is a bit more grinding than we anticipated. We often must dig deeply into our self-respect and our grit to accomplish what we say we support.
Sometimes, love for family gets us into these situations. If you’ve cared for ill or elderly or young people past the point of exhaustion, you know exactly what I mean. Even though we may love a family member, sometimes loving them can be very difficult. Grit and self-respect are required.
My favorite love story exemplifying this kind of situation came from a man who gave me an estimate on a car I wanted to sell. Somehow, we started talking about families, and he told me of his recently deceased father.
He talked about his father’s dementia. He mentioned the many trips he made to the home where his father lived. He even retired early to help his father. The most memorable anecdote was about his father’s love for strawberry malts. He said his dad loved them so much that he would ask his son if he had brought him one at nearly every visit. So the man did…even at 2:00 a.m. The man did everything imaginable to improve his confused father’s last days.
At the end of his story, he turned to me and said something like, “I consider it my life’s greatest honor to do that for my dad.”
I was stunned. I don’t know what I had expected the man to say, but I knew God was showing me the requirements of real love.
Written by Becky
The 12:12 Project is sponsored by Katy First United Methodist Church.