NB: A revision of a 1980s script from the Soul Searching series created and first played on Radio 2XS Palmerston North with several songs and background music included. Thereafter it played on several other stations around the country and was printed privately as a tract for free distribution. On reflection it may seem a naive piece as the definition of modern marriage for many has now changed and some of the principles articulated here, which I have broken myself on many occasions, may appear too simplistic. In fact I had not yet married and my first attempt failed after 14-years so maybe I was naive. As a foundational look at what love is though, I stand by what I wrote nearly 40-years ago – Keith Newman Feb 2020
IMAGINE, if everyone loved their neighbour and considered that neighbour an equal to themselves, then one half of the world would be loving the other half and we would all be loved.
Slim chance though, with all our fantasies about what love is. Love has to be the most misunderstood and abused word in our language. If we believed the rumours then love is about sex rather than being the glue that binds friends and nations and probably the whole planet together.
Our concepts are tainted with glamorous preconceptions from love comics and sloppy television soap operas. We seem to have inherited the idea that when Mr or Ms Right arrives on the scene, that's it. Instant bliss, sparkling eyes and childish giggles forever.
Behind the make-up and the perfume, trendy fashions and the latest hairstyles are real people living in the real world. Real people get hurt when relationships don't work out. When days don't live up to Days of Our Lives-Young and the Restless, True Life Romance, Mills and Boone, Penthouse, Playboy or on-line fantasies, real people often blame themselves.
Real love is not the version where damsels in distress are rescued from fire breathing dragons by knights in shining armour. Real love is hard work but it wins out in the end.
The sad thing is that in many homes lonely people who got married are now lonely together; the casualties of romance have written themselves off like spent cartridges and love has become a battlefield.
Nightly people lower their moral standards in the belief that going all the way is the gateway to something deeper. Many of those who open themselves up to heated sexual encounters, quickly learn the meaning of ‘one-night-stand’.
The bedroom is seen as the nest where love is made, where it is created as the result of some sexual conquest, where manhood or womanhood are proven. This damaging and false concept has helped screw-up many people’s ideas of what love is.
Love within marriage can be crowned by mutual giving in sexual embrace, but to suggest that this is making love indicates there wasn't enough to go around beforehand. Love exists outside of our ability to contain it. We are only ever free to give and to receive.
The love that will heal our present rifts is not manufactured in the privacy of bedrooms. In this try-before-you-buy society we are treading roughshod over each other in search of something to make us feel whole and wanted. But with each new emotional casualty our hearts only become more brittle and the goal we have set our eyes on more distant.
Bandage for broken hearts
Often in our experimenting with this thing called love we refuse to make commitments or accept responsibility. We see only our own needs and when we are bored we move on to what we think is greener pastures. Surely love has more to offer than a band aid to patch up wounded souls; more than a bandage for broken hearts.
We need an enduring love. An injection into our systems, disinfecting old wounds and healing us from inside out. True love, when it enters the picture, won't come like lightning bolts from heaven. Real love will take time to birth. Like a child it needs to be raised up and given good examples on which to form its character.
Love cannot be grabbed or demanded - it is a gift which must be shared if we are to appreciate what is contained within its wrapping. Love cannot be captured like some butterfly in a net — it is a response which grows with time or withers with impatience or apathy. Love, like the most exotic of flowers requires careful tending so it can form the desired blossom and exude its unique perfume.
There are many varieties and degrees of love. There is simple acceptance, deep affection, erotic love, passionate commitment and friendship. Each requires a specific environment in which to mature. For stable love, we need a little of each. Sexual love cannot prevail alone.
The love we must search and pray for, is a love that will reach to the person beyond the mask and make inquiry at the heart of each situation. This kind of love is not content with masquerade or hypocrisy — it thrives on honesty.
Too many walls in the way
Our ability to communicate this kind of love is severely limited. There are too many walls in the way. To make our love last longer and stretch further we must have an extra dimension in our lives.
Moving beyond whispering sweet nothings in each other’s ears until our words mean sweet nothing, may well be the first act required in our battle plan.
Our love must extend even to our enemies and those who have done us wrong. In this lies the true test of love. Nothing valuable, nothing worth having was ever obtained without some sacrifice, some price being paid. Anything worth having is surely worth working for. Why should love be any different?
If this kind of love is to come to our planet, our city, street or home, it will have its price. Man's first aid kit of detente, compromise, negotiation, treaties and temporary promises will not bring it about.
Only a change of heart and selfless motive can secure such a beautiful reality. Only God is big enough to ensure such changes. As each human heart opens toward the Creator with a desire to be made right, a little more of heaven can come to earth. God is love; his love is a perfect example for living this life.
God's love can reach out to anyone, no matter what state of decay their humanity might be in. God's love is unconditional. But his love required a sacrifice — his name was Jesus. Jesus was in true harmonious relationship with God.
Through identifying with Christ's death we may also identify with his resurrection life and in so doing find identity for our love. The human heart is the battlefield where love is lost and found. In Christ our victory is assured. The victor’s wreath is a love that transcends even our doubting.
The Greatest Thing
If I had the gift of being able to speak in every language
in all of heaven and earth, but didn't love others,
I would only be making noise.
If I had the gift of faith so that I could speak to a mountain and make it move, it would still be worth nothing without love.
If I gave everything I have to the poor or was burned alive
for preaching the Gospel but didn't love others,
it would be of no value.
Love is very patient and kind, never jealous or envious,
never boastful or proud, never haughty or selfish or rude.
Love does not demand its own way., it is not irritable or touchy.
It does not hold grudges and will hardly notice when others do it wrong. It is never glad about injustice, but rejoices whenever truth wins out.If you love someone you will be loyal to them no matter what the cost.
You will always believe in them, always expect the best of them and stand your ground in their defence.
All the special gifts and powers from God will someday come to an end, but love goes on forever. Now we know so little. the reaching of those most gifted is still so poor.
It's like this: When I was a child I spoke, thought and reasoned as a child. But when I became a man my thoughts grew far beyond those of my childhood. Now I have put away the childish things.
In the same way we can see and understand only a little about God now, as if we were peering at his reflection in a poor mirror, but someday we're going to see him as he really is, face to face.
Then I will see everything as clearly as God sees into my heartright now. But there are three things that remain:
Faith, hope and love, and the greatest of these is love.
These words are taken from the pages of the Bible - from 1 Corinthians 13 to be precise; you can read them in the King James Version, the New International Version or the Revised Standard Version, the Living Bible or The Message. Some of the words are different but the spirit is the same. It echoes the very heart of Christianity and cuts right to the essence of what real love is all about.