Valentines + Learning How To Feel Love

Last week, I shared 2 of these photos to Instagram with the caption, “Once in a while, right in the middle of an ordinary life, love gives us a fairy tale. And after a decade of marriage, 4 sweet babies, 10 years of poor college schooling, I still want my days filled with you. I want to plan big and fight for our wildest dreams together. I want to continue seeing you, in your weakest or in your strongest, I want to be there with you.”

We’ve had a lot of years to love each other. And what I’m learning is that when I narrow my focus in finding love in how often he plans the date night or brings me treats + flowers or how often he gives me a break with taking over the kids or doing the dishes, I miss the mark in looking for love. Because while those things are great and have a place, they are not where I’ll find the joy. Because to love is to give ourselves. It’s not about the guy we’re with, it’s not about the money we don’t have, it’s not about anything anyone else can offer us. It’s not about getting what we need out of our relationships. Love is to give. every. bit. of ourselves away. Love is to give even when all we desperately want is to take for ourselves and be pampered. The Lord describes love as kind, patient, faithful, unifying, forgiving, and compassionate. And when I skimmed my scriptures tonight, I found a passage highlighted and bolded in hopes for my soul to feel it’s imprint: “Love seeketh not her own.” If we focus on the things we lack, we’ll only find loneliness in the end. When holidays roll around, and we’re obsessing over what we don’t have, we can’t offer love by sacrificing. If we find ourselves resentful of our husbands not living up to our unmet expectations, we can’t offer forgiveness and compassion. When we make love all about us and how our needs should be met, we suck the life out of love. And in those moments, we’ll feel empty and rejected. We diminish the purpose of love when we “seek our own”.

Next to this scripture, I wrote a note “love accepts all things”. In all of my years of loving Aaron, I’ve learned that it is impossible to accept love from him until I have learned to completely love and accept myself as I am. Not as I should be, not as I’m working to be, not as I’d hope to be. But as I am. Flaws, mistakes, shortcomings, and more. If I have not learned to pave the road towards loving the person I am, how could I trust that my spouse is able to do the impossible? I can’t whole-heartedly let him love me when I haven’t learned to love myself. I promise you, a body free of stretch marks + perfect abs + thigh gap + never losing your temper, and every other place you’ve felt insecurity, I promise won’t make you feel any happier and more beautiful than you already are if you haven’t learned to love yourself as you are right now. So, how do you love yourself? If we look to the world, we’ll feel less loved and more insecure. If we pick apart our bodies and compare our instagram posts, we’ll feel more lost and broken. I’ve been there, sister. Cover those insecurities with love. Become anxiously aware of the way you talk to yourself. Because the Lord has made you unconditionally worthy of all love. And He loves you perfectly and unconditionally. He’ll heal our broken perceptions as we firmly remember who we are and how unique and un-replaceable each one of us truly is. He loves us more than the world ever could.

Photography by Alex Romo: See his Instagram page HERE.

Red Dress found HERE. Use code JANENE20 for 20% off, making it $50!

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