Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable -- if anything is excellent or worthy of praise -- think about such things. (Phil 4:8)I think the things we looked at before -- whether photography or a treasury of anecdotes -- is a way of "thinking about such things." It focuses us on the other person, and particularly on the good in them, and so helps strengthen our love and particularly the sense of delight in what is good.
Paul was also very helpful when he assured us of God's love, saying, "Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus." First and foremost that whole passage assures me of the sheer, raw determination behind God's love for us: it is not a flighty thing, easily disrupted. But when I turn to put God's love in action, I need help, and have such a long way to go to reach that level of iron determination to love -- no matter what the circumstances or obstacles. On many days, being determined to love works out to being determined to forgive; that is part of the persistence, as the other person's sin and brokenness will eventually become an obstacle, just like mine will. It also works out to a determination to be there, to be present. God did that for us. And I can see in my own home that the amount of time I spend with my children -- and the level of determination I have to listen to them -- makes a difference. Sometimes, I can't see how to help the shortage of time, like in my heavy overtime season at work this last summer. But sometimes I just find myself doing things that really don't matter so much, and even being annoyed at interruptions. It's a sign of my backwards priorities.
The more I look at the letters in the New Testament through this lens, the more they looks like field guides to how to love each other. (To be continued, most likely.)