“Falling in Love”?

“But I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You,” so sang Elvis Presley.  The lyrics say,

Like a river flows Surely to the sea
Darling, so it goes, Some things are meant to be
Take my hand, Take my whole life, too
For I can't help falling in love with you

Many songs, novels and Hallmark movies have promoted the idea that once you have found that one special person, your “soulmate,” that it is inevitable that you will “fall in love.”  This is a common misconception about love.  The devil has blurred the lines between desire/lust, sex, companionship, and love. 

The words “fall” and “falling” have the connotation of an accident, or something unexpected.  At the same time, like the song says, “For I can’t help falling in love with you,” the idea that two people are pulled together by a force they are unable to control.  And, if their “falling in love” was beyond their control, is it also beyond their control when they “fall out of love”?  Elvis and his wife, Pricilla were married for six and a half years before they divorced.

In premarital counseling I don't use the words "fall," and "fell," when speaking of love.  Love (agape) is a choice, a decision.  Remaining in love takes commitment,resilience, and longsuffering. 

John 3:16 tells the absolute truth about God’s love for the people in the world.  To better understand love, consider these two questions.  1) Has the world always brought happiness to God in this loving relationship?  You know the answer (Ps. 95:10; Rom. 3:23).  2) Has God ever stopped loving the people of the world?  John 3:16 gives God’s honest answer to that question.

But the world’s concept of love is that one can fall in love and one can fall out of love; one can jump into a loving relationship and one can jump out of a loving relationship just as fast.  Jesus said of this, “but from the beginning it was not so” (Mat. 19:8).  The bonding love in a marriage (agape) is a love that endures.  God’s teaching on this says, “For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives” (Rom. 7:2a). 

Christians are to be living examples of God’s teaching on love.  Remember that love is not something one falls into; it is a choice one makes.  But for this love to be like God’s love it is to be an enduring love, a love the overcomes the mistakes of others, a love that looks for the good and not the wrong, a love that seeks the best for the one loved, a love that is willing to sacrifice in order to win and retain the one loved.

The greatest love is a forgiving love.  This forgiveness is to be a forgiveness that imitates God’s forgiveness toward you: “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.Therefore be imitators of God as dear children” (Eph. 4:32-5:1). 

Herein lies the secret of a long and happy relationship and, in the end, eternity with the greatest giver of love—God and Jesus Christ.  Who could help “falling” in love with God?  (1 Jn. 4:19.)