The Nature of Love
It is an act of the will and a disposition, a free choice knowing all the risks and is willing to endure the bad for the sake of the good in all circumstances. Everyone has the ability to love, but few exercise it, or rather, few exercise it properly. It is an ability that grows more with use. Love is something intrinsic to human nature. Many people try to define it and ail to do so, and not without cause; it is difficult to define without true knowledge of Love. It is rare to find someone who loves truly because it is not a feeling, because feelings fade and therefore cannot be something eternal like true love; it's closer to a verb or ability/activity, because it is active, but it is not necessarily just an action, nor is it an act that is only one once and never done again. It is, as mentioned previously, something that is intrinsic to human nature, something that is involved in humanity's natural goodness that desires to proliferate the good, chooses to, and does so even at one's own risk and cost, since man strives towards the good, and love is the desire to provide for the good of another or for oneself. Love is absolute in its sacrifice and resolves to eternally provide for another's good as much as one is capable. A disposition, an act of the will, or best, a virtue, is probably the best way to describe the nature of love. The purer it is, the more one sacrifices and gives oneself freely and happily for another's good, for the sake of the good alone. One's self is forgotten and absorbed into something much greater than oneself, the Good, and love unites us to the Good. Everyone is interested in love since it is a natural part of oneself, but many get lost and ensnared in counterfeits of love, which is tragic. Porn, masturbation, adultery, fornication, homosexuality and other sexual crimes are glorified because it imitates love, but it never reaches it – that's as far as many people go, reaching for it and being disappointed, but never quite finding it.
If we look at love in a Biblical perspective, this is the way God loves His people, and it is the very love He commands us to love in return as much as we are able. The more we approach Him, the more we forget ourselves and are caught up in the Good, who is God, who loved us first, and the more we are transformed into Him. We may examine the passage 1 Corinthians 13. Love has no pride; one who loves will allow the beloved to insult to his heart's content, so long as the one who loves can do something good for the other. The lover knows there is a risk of disappointment, but disappointment and failure do not deter the one who truly loves. Love then must be patient and persevering; it must be strict when the beloved does something evil, because love seeks to proliferate the good, but must not be without compassion or mercy. Love must be able to endure much suffering if need be, so it must be strong; love must be eternal so that it prevails and does not give up when it seems hopeless. Love then also must be hopeful of all things and unfailing in all circumstances. Love will not come with glory, but will come assuming complete poverty, and will come humbly. Love will come quietly and softly, but will not fail to come and will not fail to be at the beloved's assistance, whatever the need, so long as it is for his good and it is good for the lover to give. Love is not harsh without being gentle, is not cruel without being kind, is not strict without flexibility, is not just without compassion or mercy. Love does what is necessary to provide the Good. Whatever faults the beloved have committed are nothing in the grand scheme; all that matters is the good that is proliferated. All of it is for the good of another. The self no longer matters; it is absorbed into something transcendent. Love unites oneself to the Good and unites others to it. All seeks to unite men to the Good, where there is true peace, wisdom, joy, and rest from the troubles and worries and chaos and folly of the world. Love has no agenda; the self is not of primary concern. Love provides the Good in a disinterested fashion, seeking only the good of another. Love does not contradict truth; love will speak truth honestly and simply, but gently.
Sex has its place in love, but it is not of primary importance; it is a fulfillment of the marriage covenant, and it expresses this love, but what has already been stated must be present first. This sort of love unites not only the couple to each other, but strengthens their unity with God, who is the Good. People instinctually know that sex has something to do with love, but since they do not know God, they do not have perfect knowledge of love, so sex gets overemphasized. It is not true love, but a counterfeit, as I mentioned previously; it is based off lust, off feelings, off a desire for power, off addiction, but none of these things constitute love. Love may have feelings, but they are secondary and not necessary for its existence. Love never seeks to be superior, though it is firm in itself – therefore, Love may appear to be make lovers doormats at times, but lovers are able to see when it is best to be disgraced and when it is not best, for love seeks the good as its end and not just the other person. Love may be attached, but love is not without dignity, though the lover will endure much shame – the lover never disgraces himself through shameful actions, though he may be disgraced by the beloved. Love is noble. I can continue for a long time on the subject of love, but I think what I have said on the subject is enough to suffice.