The music swells. They gaze into one another’s eyes. The clouds burst and a rainstorm begins, and they don’t care that their white shirts are getting all wet and see-through because they are sharing a passionate kiss.

Somehow you know that kiss will last forever . . . because they have fallen in love.

Yuck.

This is how Hollywood imagines love. How do you define it? Your answer will have a powerful impact on your marriage.

There’s a reason most Hollywood love stories end with declarations and kisses and don’t often show the happily-ever-after that supposedly comes after couples walk down the aisle. Happily-ever-after is a myth. Hollywood love doesn’t hold up in real life.

We need a better definition of love. Fortunately, God has given us one. The best-known Bible passage about love is 1 Corinthians 13:4–7:

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

These verses show us three important truths about love.

Love Is an Action

This passage doesn’t say anything about how love feels. It’s about how love looks and behaves. Hollywood’s version of love feels great. And when we operate on the assumption that love is a great feeling, we set ourselves up to bail out. Once people who fell in love lose that great feeling, they diagnose themselves as having fallen out of love.

God’s version of love is completely different. Sometimes it feels great; sometimes it feels terrible. Sometimes it doesn’t ...

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