(Click here for a video of John reading this Catch.)
For the life of our marriage, quite consistently, my wife has loved me for no reason.
Now in case you’re wondering, that’s a good thing — a very good thing, indeed. Because if she loved me for reasons, what if those reasons changed or if I changed and lost the reason why she first loved me? Then what? What if she loved me because I was a good guy but she later found out I wasn’t as good as she thought? What if she loved me because I could serenade her with my guitar, and suddenly I have a numb hand and I can’t play guitar anymore? No, I’m quite fortunate to have someone to love me like this — for no reason.
To love for no reason is to simply and purely love. Marti is so good at this. She is a love dynamo. She purely and simply loves. It’s not measured; it’s not conditional; it’s not forced. She doesn’t love because she’s supposed to, she loves for no reason. It’s love first, ask questions later. I watch it happen all the time with everybody. She never runs out.
If you think about this, it’s kind of crazy.
Marti has had the opportunity to be amongst people such as Terry Bradshaw, Don Shula, Dolly Parton, and Michael Jackson and she loved them all for no reason, not because they were famous. When she first met me, I was accustomed to being loved because I was “somebody.” I had record albums; I had tours; I commanded an audience. She never got any of that. She couldn’t figure out why people were making such a fuss over me. She just loved me for no reason. In fact, the first time she heard me sing, she couldn’t figure out why people were applauding. After all, it’s just John.
In contrast, my love for her, all too often, has reasons. I place conditions on my love. “I love you if you don’t spend money.” “I love you if you go back to work and support me,” and if she doesn’t, I withhold my love.
Take last night for example: Marti and I, like most married couples I know, are on two different time tables. I’m a morning person, she belongs to the night. At ten o’clock at night, I am done, but she is just getting her second wind. She can go for four more hours. At that point I start to resent her. I play like I’m paying attention and I am not being fair. At that point I am not loving her for no reason, I am resenting her for lots of reasons. So what would it mean to love her for no reason at that moment?
There would be no resentment, no selfish thoughts about how am I going to get through this evening without falling asleep on her (which I have done). There would be only love. And in love, I would engage in spite of myself. I would make a conscious attempt to step out of myself and into her because I love her for no reason. And if I was physically incapable of doing that, I would suggest that we finish the conversation at another time.
Here is what gets in the way of love for no reason. Blame, shame, resentment, regret, conditions, ultimatums, demands, qualifications, expectations, hopes, past glories, and past failures, to name just a few. What happens to these things when we love for no reason? They vanish. There is no resentment in love. None of these things are found in love. They are gone. They disappear. When you love for no reason, no reason can get in the way. It’s not really that complicated.
Nothing can destroy the reason to love when we are loving for no reason.
Jane, my wife, has suffered from porgressively worse dementia (cavernous angiomes?) for the last 10 years. I treat her as I treated my Dad who had Alzheimer’s. By upholding their dignity by not aggravating them, calming their fears, not being correctively critical, and generally meeting them where they are at in their confusing world.
With Jane, as soon as there is something upsetting, I help alleviate that, To me it is bad enough that her life as she knows it is slipping away.. We love each other more now than ever before. It appears that there is no reason for it whatsoever. I have learned to love unconditionally, as John calls it ‘love without reason’, because as he states so well in the last paragraph of this Catch all the nastiness has been removed and only love prevails.
When 48 years ago, I looked into those beautiful eyes and vowed to love her in sickness and in health etc. little did I know what God would teach me with that vow. i do not regret making that vow for a minute, but chose to continue to love her for no reason….Wow what an experience!!! Praise God!!
it took her illness to make me practice unconditional love.
Maybe sometimes it’s easier to have unconditional love for others in ministry outside of family, because we have expectations.
I recently decided to try and help my sister who is getting older, has self-induced health problems and her children and grandchildren have many troubles problems and struggles as well. I am asking God to help me help her. I guess families might call her a black sheep. But if I’m thinking of some kind of ministry again as God is pulling me back, I think that first, I am called to work with them, and help them.
I have an opportunity to provide financial help as a carrot to motivate change in behavior but is it a carrot or manipulation? I ask you to pray with me that God would purify my motives and use this for my growth as well.
I am far away. I have to do this remotely mostly…I get in town several times a year, and so I will need to pray to rely on others unknown as of yet who can assist instead of people with addictions who take her money when she sends them to the store.
I have to pray for God to help her want to change to get off prescription meds that have controlled her life for many years following the drug deaths of two of her children.
I have to pray that God will work in her son’s life who is in prison and after spending most of his adult life in prison, pray that this time, he comes to know the Lord in a real way that will make a difference and maybe he can stay out this time for good.
I pray that I am patient and loving in trying to assist her, more than in the past.
I pray that God takes the I out of and himself in the middle of it. I know I can’t do this. Only God can.
Love has No Memory
Love has no memory. There is no reason for love except to love. Agape Love. There are no conditions which justify unconditional love. Once you place conditions on love it may disappear. I love you if, I love you when, I love you but. Christ loves us because He loves without reasons or conditions. He has compassion on our souls and desires to see us saved. What about you, what will you say to the Lord who wishes to save and love on you? (John 3:16)