Love should be painful
For whatever reason, we seem to have this funny idea that love is supposed to be bliss or that when we get married we’ve somehow achieved a state of “happily-ever-after.”
Well, that’s just not true. Love is actually quite painful.
In fact, if you’re doing it right, love, marriage, and family will be the most painful things you’ll ever experience. Not because they’re bad things, but because to love at all means to open yourselves up to vulnerability and pain. And to love someone completely—as you do in marriage—is to put your whole heart on the line.
True lovewill bepainful. True loveshould bepainful.
To be clear, when I say that true love should be painful I am not referring to abusive, obsessive, or co-dependent relationships; those relationships are predicated upon selfishness and will inevitably produce a pain that’s destructive and detrimental.
No, the “painful love” to which I am referring are those relationships that help us grow beyond ourselves. Because we are all imperfect, we will inevitably get hurt. But that hurt has the ability to make us stronger than before.
Marriage and family relationships are to our hearts like exercise is to our muscles.
Please disabuse your minds of a perfect, painless love; it simply doesn’t exist.Because love isn’t always fluffy, cute, and cuddly.More often than not, real love has its sleeves rolled up, dirt and grime smeared on its arms, and sweat dripping down its forehead.
True love asks us to do hard things, almost impossible things—to repeatedly try to help a sibling overcome an addiction again and again and again, to care for a dying parent, to embrace a wayward child, to comfort someone who is suffering, to risk your safety for another, or to give birth to a child.
C. S. Lewis put it this way:
There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one…Wrap it carefully round
Yes, love is painful. But as C. S. Lewis suggests,we can respond to any relationship with either a closed, hellish heart, or an open, heavenly heart.If you keep your heart open, that same pain can become a purifying pain, astrengtheningpain. If we choose forgiveness over bitterness, that pain can heal instead of hurt. Instead of a pain that divides, it can be a pain that binds.Instead of a pain that breaks us down, it can be a pain that builds us up
So don’t worry that your relationships are painful and difficult.Love will always be quite painful. Instead, worry about how you will react to the pain. Will you respond with a closed, hellish heart, or an open, heavenly heart
SETH ADAM SMITH