I get asked this question about loving someone fairly often. When you work with young adults and teens in an environment where the subject of love often comes up….the question is inevitable. I used to answer, “I don’t know….You’ll just know.”
Boy was this a misinformed answer.
Now, I have a better answer for this question.
To understand the answer, you have to know a bit about me.
From 1997 to 2008, there wasn’t anything I wouldn’t do for Camp Aldersgate. That’s right. Nothing I wouldn’t do for a place. It’s the summer camp and conference center I’m the director of. And, for 11 years….it was my entire life. I sacrificed everything for that place. And, I have no regrets about that.
It was during those years I had such a weak answer to the question, “How do you know if you really love someone?”
In 2008 I began to pray, “God, please bring me a beautiful wife who will be my best friend forever or completely take away my desire to be married.”
God answered that prayer by bringing Marissa into my life.
At the time she was about to graduate with a Psychology Degree. Dropping her off one evening at her place, she mentioned she was looking at a Graduate school in Virginia. Without hesitation, without thinking….without regret….my immediate response was; “I could easily find a job there.” She agreed and we said goodnight.
A few miles down the road, I almost pulled over. I was overwhelmed with emotion. For the first time since 1997, I was ready to leave Aldersgate. I was ready to turn in my notice, pack my bags and move away. It was instinct. It wasn’t dramatic, it was simply a fact.
I love Marissa so much, I was ready to give up everything for our future together. Willingly and without any part of me being uncomfortable with the idea…I was ready to leave everything for us. Not for her…for us.
This is how Love works. We see it in John 3:16. “For God so LOVED the world, he GAVE….”
You can give without loving, but you can’t love without giving. (tweet that)
When someone now asks me. “How do you know when you truly love someone?”
I answer with this. “When you realize after the fact you were, are or did give up everything for the two of you. You know.”
Just a quick side note….I tell them it also helps if they are older then 20. After all, teens are simply ready to move out of the house…that’s the idea they love. I also give lots of other qualifiers and disclaimers….teens are great to work with, and they are easily confused about love.
Then I get to tell them about the start of when my story, God’s story and my best friend and beautiful wife’s story all came together.
What’s your love story?
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