"Let us not love in word or talk, but in deed and in truth." I John 3:18

Timeless Words About Love for Your Valentine’s Day

The snow is flying sideways like rice at a wedding, and I’m reading Lore Wilbert’s blog post about marriage. She writes:

“‘We don’t treat our home like it’s the place where we can ‘be real,’ as though every other relationship in our lives deserves the fruit of the Spirit, but at home we can drop the facade and level all the pent up frustration of the day at one another.’ I said, ‘[My husband] should get my best self, the best of the Spirit’s fruit in my life and heart, not the worst self.'”

Having said that, Lore acknowledged that that this kind of marriage talk usually elicits a few eye rolls from the jaded cynics among her readers.  “Just wait,” they say.

My patient husband and I experienced some of that in our early married life as well. “This won’t last,” jeered the nay-sayers.

Even so, thirty years later, we still refuse to submit to the “Just wait” narrative about our marriage, and are persevering in our commitment to live as “heirs together of the grace of life”–which includes loving each other by being grace-givers–“our best selves”–here on this country hill

After all, as believers, we want the people who know us best to love us most. That’s counter-cultural, I know, in this world of picture-perfect posts and curated images offered up for virtual strangers to “like.”

If our everyday lives  are where the fruit of the Spirit is most visible, Truth becomes more important than sentiment. We need a durable love that will sustain us through home improvement projects, sick kids, and tired middle-aged bodies and souls.

Since it seems that all the important words about love have already been written, and written well, I have been paying attention to them. This curated collection from some of my favorite writers and thinkers is offered to anchor our thoughts in a biblical understanding of love–with one cautionary message to parents from a source that might surprise you.

As we plow our way into February and join the world in celebrating the holiday of hearts (in which love is most discussed but perhaps least understood) let’s bring with us the understanding that love, romantic or otherwise, is a 365-day-per-year laying down of our lives for the beloved.


John, the Beloved Disciple

Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” (I John 3:18)

C.S. Lewis

“Is it easy to love God?” asks an old author.
“It is easy,” he replies, “to those who do it.”  (From The Four Loves, 288)

“Do not waste time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbor; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him.”  (From Joyful Christian, 140)

Elisabeth Elliot

“Love is willing to be inconvenienced.”  (From Mark of a Man, 118)

Thomas Merton

“The beginning of love is the will to let those we love be perfectly themselves, the resolution not to twist them to fit our own image. If in loving them we do not love what they are, but only their potential likeness to ourselves, then we do not love them: we only love the reflection of ourselves we find in them.” (From No Man is an Island)

Karen Swallow Prior

“Charity–godly love–cannot be separated from truth. Not just lofty transcendent truths, but the truth about the here and now and all the reality it entails–including our mortality. Truth is true and love is loving only in its application.” (From On Reading Well, 151)

Wendell Berry

“Love in this world doesn’t come out of thin air. It is not something thought up. Like ourselves, it grows out of the ground. It has a body and a place.” (Hannah Coulter, 88)

“You can’t give yourself over to love for somebody without giving yourself over to suffering.” (Hannah Coulter, 171)

Luci Shaw

“The risk of love
is that of being unreturned.

For if I love too deep,
too hard, too long
and you love little
or you love
me not at all
then is my treasure given,
flown away lonely.

But if you give me back
passion for passion,
return my burning,
add your own
dark fire to flame my heart
then is love perfect
hot, round, augmented,
whole, endless, infinite,
and it is fear
that flies.”   (Polishing the Petosky Stone, 75)

Eugene Peterson

Love is one of the slipperiest words in the language. There is no other word in our society more messed up, misunderstood, perverted, and misused as the word love. Complicating things even further, it is a word terribly vulnerable to cliché, more often than not flattened into nonmeaning by chatter and gossip. The most relational word in our vocabulary ends up being all me directed, all self.”  (As Kingfishers Catch Fire, 37)

Bruce Springsteen

“Those whose love we wanted but didn’t get, we emulate them and that’s the only way we have, in our power, to get the closeness and love that we needed and desired.” (Comment about his parents from On Broadway)

Madeleine L’Engle

“Love isn’t how you feel; it’s what you do.” (The Wind in the Door)


“And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
(Matthew 22:37-40)

As we celebrate Valentine’s Day, let’s abide in love, but let’s not lose sight of it’s true meaning amidst all the red tissue paper and glitter.

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.” (Jesus from John 15:9)

With love,

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Heart Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash

I link-up with a number of blogging communities on a regular basis. They are listed in the left sidebar by day of the week. I hope that you will take a moment to enjoy reading the work of some of these fine writers and thinkers. You can look for me this week at Purposeful Faith#TellHisStoryLet’s Have CoffeeFaith on FireFaith ‘n Friends and Grace & Truth.


59 thoughts on “Timeless Words About Love for Your Valentine’s Day”

  1. Wonderful love quotes, Michele! I especially liked the one from Thomas Merton. Letting those we love be themselves is a hard lesson I had to learn early in my marriage. It also reminds me that all love is reflected Love. I had the same quote from 1 John in the post I wrote for this morning. Great minds… Happy Valentine’s Day to you and your hubby!


    1. Yes, I saw that we are writing from the same launch pad this morning!
      And I thought it was especially interesting that you and your husband define love in such similar ways! Good match!


  2. This is a great collection of quotes, Michele! And I agree, this is a time of year when love is celebrated but not always understood. Thank you for calling us back to reflect on what it is really about!


  3. Where Love is, so are we, and so is God. Anyone who takes joy in Love, takes joy in their existence as a human being, takes joy in God. God is Love. Therefore LOVE! Paulo Coelho – The Supreme Gift. I hope you don’t mind me adding my quote to your wonderful collection x


  4. So true. We can be less loving to those we live with. But it is in those everyday moments, those times where we are behind closed doors and no one is listening or seeing us that our true nature comes out and the fruits of the spirit are most tried. Partly because of the history and past we have with those in our home. A stranger can say something and we can laugh it off. But when a loved one says the same thing, it can start a wildfire. We can also get tired of doing the right thing all day, and just come home and let it all hang out and say exactly what is on our mind. Love in close community takes work.


  5. These quotes are beautiful, but I think I love the opening thoughts most. My husband should get the best of me not the leftover angry pieces. I love him so much and I donor show it enough. A great way to prep myself for his birthday tomorrow and a week of love


  6. What a great collection of quotes on love. I like “Love isn’t how you feel. It’s what you do.” It illustrates what you’re saying here: “We need a durable love that will sustain us through home improvement projects, sick kids, and tired middle-aged bodies and souls.”


  7. I love the quotes. Love is definitely action and commitment, not feelings. Feelings will come and go, but we can choose love no matter what. C.S. Lewis said it much better but when we choose to be loving, it’s amazing how our feelings get in line.

    My husband and I are much the same as what you expressed. By God’s grace, we seek to love each other with His love. We are very different in so many ways. We don’t always agree on how we see things, but we treasure each other’s viewpoint and gifts. Love is a better way.


  8. Michele, I LOVE this post! What wonderful quotes on Love! Just one more that is such Truth from 1 Corinthians 13…”Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” Many blessings to you sweet friend!


  9. Happy Valentine’s Day a little early, Michele. You’ve compiled so many great quotes about love. All of them point to the truth that love is a verb—a decision, an action, a choice—regardless of convenience or want to. Thanks for sharing these.


  10. After reading your quote from Lore, I had to go over and read her post. So good. We think of home as the place when we can “let down our hair,” so to speak. But, as she said, those folks we live with deserve our best, our most yieldedness to the Holy Spirit working in and through us.

    Love the collection of quotes. I have been wrestling with the idea of love as doing rather than feeling for years. It’s possible to do the right thing for someone without feeling particularly warm and fuzzy about it. But then 1 Corinthians 13 speaks of serving with great sacrifice, yet without love. So I am trying to get my head around all of that, asking God to help me be loving, yet serving even if I don’t always feel it. One area I wrestled with this the most was our care-giving years.


    1. I also loved that description at Sayable, and just the hopefulness that refuses to give in to a cynical eye roll over marriage long term. We can still lean into courtesy and graceful speech.
      I also struggled with this during my season of caregiving. I may have done all that was asked, but I may or may not have done it with as much love as it required, and, sadly, my response was often shaded by the spirit in which things were demanded of me. Still, no excuse.
      We are definitely a work in progress, aren’t we?


  11. yes, love is hefty, hard work. but we don’t go it alone … the Spirit pours it out as we invite Him to do His work in our lives.

    all we need to do is get out of the way and let Him flow. easier said than done, yes?


  12. What is it about visiting your blog that I love so much, Michelle? Every time I come here I know I’m in for a treat. You are quite the writer, my friend, and I really appreciate your posts. They deliver every time, and this one is no exception. I just love the way your blog has an air of simplicity, there’s not a lot of hype here, yet the words are as powerful as the best of anything that’s out there in cyberspace. Oh, and I love the quotes! Thank you for that. Until we meet again in cyberspace. 🙂


  13. Those are some great quotes about love! I especially liked C.S. Lewis’ profound quote asking if “it is easy to love God – yes, for those who do it.” I think the same question can be asked in regard to our neighbors… We can love if we choose to do so! Love is action.

    Thanks for sharing, Michelle!


  14. I love reading this collection of love quotes, Michele. And from such a variety of people. We ALL are wired to want to give and receive love! Thanks for collecting these in one place for us.


  15. The loving just as compassionately at home, with my family is definitely an area I’m currently really trying to focus on. I want my kids and husband to feel that I care deeply. They know I love them but I’ve noticed I want them to feel that I cherish them. This just gave me some added nudging to keep on keeping on even more so on the tougher days! Loved reading all the quotes! #RML linkup 🙂


    1. We have such a “celebrity” mindset now with social media that it’s easy to fall into a pattern of curating an image and then being completely incongruent with it in real life. To me, this would be such a sad and lonely way to live.


  16. So many beautiful and reflective words. There’s something so calming about your post, I just can’t put my finger on it. I especially liked Luci Shaw. So powerful! Thank you for joining us for the #dreamteam and hope you had a lovely Valentine’s Day.


  17. Michele,
    Dare I say that I “loved” this post along with the quotes?? So many different facets of love. I still think of our pastor’s words as he married us…”Each day, may we attempt to out-love each other.” They have been good words to live by. Loving others involves suffering, sacrifice, and the willingness to be inconvenienced. Love leaves us vulnerable, but oh the joy of love returned. Awesome post!
    Bev xx


  18. Wonderful love quotes. One of my favorites is “Do not waste time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbor; act as if you did. As soon as we do this, we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him.” (From Joyful Christian, 140)

    Thank you for sharing with Grace & Truth Link-Up. I hope you had a wonderful Valentine’s Day. Maree

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I enjoyed this post, Michele, as I have been thinking on “love” earlier this morning. May God help me to align my words and my actions so that they always reflect His love in my life and through my life. May He deposit His love in my heart so that I can love others like Him. Blessings!


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