Larry Young is a researcher at the National Primate Research Center at Emory University in Atlanta. He studies the neurobiology that underlies pair bonding — what the world calls love. In the journal Nature in 2009, he published an article that claims “love” is the result of a biochemical chain of events. He claims that in the future people will be able to take pills to improve their love and social bonding.
But I beg to differ with Dr. Young. I suppose there is a kind of love that is based on feelings and these are undoubtedly linked to a biochemical chain of events. But that is not the love that God commands us to have toward our fellow man at all. Biblical love is a command that can be obeyed. It is a choice that we consciously make. Several months ago a wife came to our house and talked to Elaine and me. She was ready to end her marriage and divorce her husband. Why? “I don’t love him anymore!” I asked, “What does love have to do with it?” She said, “You can’t live with someone if you don’t love them, can you?” We told her “Of course, you can” and talked to her about the commitment she made to him before God and her responsibility to fulfill her vow. I challenged her to go back to him and treat him as if she loved him, to make it an experiment. She came back and talked to us again a few weeks later, and we continued to encourage her along the same lines. Then we didn’t hear anything for a few months until she posted a message on Facebook. Here is what she wrote:
“After a few months or years of being together, the euphoria fades. Your spouse’s idiosyncrasies, instead of being cute, drive you nuts. At some point, you ask, ‘Am I with the right person?’ This is when relationships break down. The key to succeeding in a relationship is not finding the right person, it’s learning to love the person you found. People blame their partners for their unhappiness and look outside for fulfillment. It comes in all shapes and sizes: infidelity, hobbies, excessive TV, abusive substances. But the key to succeeding is not finding the right person, it is learning to love the person you found. Sustaining love is not passive, you have to work on it day after day. It takes time, energy and effort. Love is NOT a mystery. There are specific things you can do with or without your partner. Just as there are physical laws of the universe, like gravity; there are laws for relationships. If you apply these, the results are predictable. Love is therefore a ‘decision’. Not just a feeling. Remember: God determines who walks into your life. It is up to you to decide who you let walk away, who you let stay and who you refuse to let GO!”