Love is the reason we are all here on earth. God sent his son, Jesus, to restore fellowship between God and man. The fact that He sent His only son was an example of His great love for us and His desire to restore us. God birthed us all with a love tank that needs to be filled by Him and a tank that needs to be filled by people we interact with on earth. Through His love, we are able to love unconditionally. If we attempt to love unconditionally out of our own human behavior, we will fail. We have to be connected to the power of love in order to love the way God has caused us to love.
When our hearts are filled with selfishness, we struggle to love unconditionally and erroneously believe loving without conditions is impossible. When a heart is selfish, it fails to give love until it is assured love will be given in return. Now, consider if God loved us in this way. What if God only loved us if we loved Him in return? Love is love because it has no conditions and is not based on what others do or don’t do.
You can always tell you are dealing with a quality and good character person by their love walk. Do they treat you the way they desire to be treated? Or, do they just sit back and wait to see what you will do before they act? Be careful of people who can’t give you what they expect in return. This is a classic sign of a selfish heart.
So many people seek relationships with motives that have little to do with love. Many seek relationships for numbing their pain, sex, lust, rebounding from an ex, or just to pass the time before meeting who they really want to share life with. Of course, these are not healthy reasons to engage in a relationship with someone, but these are the actions people take. The Bible teaches us when the head is sick, the entire body is sick (Isaiah 1:5). Thus, we make poor decisions when we are hurting or living off of emotion.
So, the question becomes… what should we understand in order to learn to love better and make better decisions?
(1) Love doesn’t allow anger to mean more than love:
How often have we all allowed our anger or pride to mean more than our love? It’s perfectly OK to be angry, but we have to make healthy decisions when we are angry. We have to be mature enough to get to the root of the problem and have solutions. It’s never wise to put a bandage on issues, because the issues will just happen over and over again.
Really seek to have healthy conflict resolution. Often, when we are angry, we say things we should not say. So, it’s important to manage anger and, for those with serious anger issues, to seek help. Anger issues are rooted in a lack of affirmation of love from childhood, insecurities, and feelings of abandonment. Anger is simply a cry for help. Read more about anger here: Do you make these mistakes with anger?
(2) Love stops you from walking away from people
I’ve been in ministry a long time and, I tell you, I don’t know when this new age thought of walking away from people started. However, it is contributing to the failure of marriages and relationships throughout the world. The Bible I read doesn’t teach us to walk away when things don’t go our way. It teaches us to have patience, kindness, long suffering, forgiveness, hope, prayer, and restoration.
Some of you are thinking right now, but what if this or that happens? Well, of course there are times when a relationship has run its course and there is nothing left to restore or hold on to. However, many of these relationships had red flags in the beginning that were ignored for whatever reason. How we begin and approach getting into relationships will help eliminate being put in bad situations.
Seek to have meaningful friendships before love. If it’s easy to just walk when things don’t go your way, you shouldn’t even be pursuing relationships (at least not anything serious). It’s a sign of selfishness, pride, lack of a love walk, and arrogance. There is a time to walk away and there is a time to stay.
Allow the Holy Spirit to be your teacher and guide and you will never go wrong. If you know you don’t have what it takes to stay around when things get tough… just refrain from entering into relationships because, no matter how good or great someone may be, there will be problems. You are not going to always have your way and relationships are not about having your way. They are about sharing life together.
If you are not responsible enough to love through the good and bad, you are not ready to love or mature enough. Real love will always fight for love and not become a deserter. People who have a limited amount of love on the inside of them can only love you to the level of their love. People walk away easily, because they have a limited endurance or capacity for love.
(3) Love is a choice not an emotion
Love is not about a feeling, because how we feel changes from day to day. We all have daily stress, issues, and challenges that tend to impact how we feel. Sometimes, we don’t feel loved by who we love. Love is not based on how we feel, but the choice we make to love… in spite of what our emotions tell us.
If we only love and treat people based on how we feel, then we simply fall in and out of love. This means we never loved in the first place. We don’t fall in love, we grow to love. Read more here: Love is a choice and not an emotion and The Real Difference between love and in-love.
(4) Love gives what it expects
Love is about giving the very thing you expect. If you can’t give it, don’t expect it. Sounds very simple, right? Well it’s one of the most common relationship issues I see.
You have women and men alike who have high expectations of other people, but very limited expectations of self. They desire other people to accept them as they are, but everyone else should be perfect. If you desire a friend, be a friend. If you desire early morning phone calls, you make them. If you desire a lot of attention, you give a lot of attention, etc…
Do you get the picture? Never expect anything from anyone that you do not give.
(5) Love tells the truth
Love someone enough to tell the truth. When we lie to who we love, we rob them of their choice. Often, people lie in life and relationships for these main reasons:
– To prevent losing something
– To gain something
– To avoid rejection
– Fear of being judged
– To maintain peace
Intellectually, this all makes some sense. However, not being honest will erode away the trust.
Trust is very important to a healthy relationship. Without trust, a relationship is not even possible. Many attempt to have relationships where no trust exists. They go through a cycle of unhealthy ups and downs, never healing the root cause of the trust issues in the relationship. No trust, no relationship.
(6) Love is always transparent and learns to be vulnerable
Trust is like a jar full of marbles. It’s built one marble at a time. If we can’t trust, it’s very hard to be transparent and vulnerable. Vulnerability, like trust, is built and grows over time… both require much attention, focus, effort and hard work in order for couples to flourish. When you are in a relationship and building your marble collection, be mindful… if the jar hits the floor, the trust instantly goes away and you have to start all over again.
Relationships require vulnerability in order for the relationship to grow in healthy ways. People need to sort of earn your vulnerability and vice-versa. When couples become vulnerable, it should be a mutual exploration because this is where true depth and growth begins. Just like love, vulnerability is about sharing our thoughts, feelings, and experiences with people who have proven or earned the right to hear our innermost pains, fears or weaknesses.
Being vulnerable is a very important part of building trust and adding marbles to your jar. Going deep and sharing your souls with each other will bring more connection, trust, and engagement. Trust is a slow and layered building process. There are no guarantees, but your faith in God should always be your guiding force.
I’m glad you read this far, because it means you’ve learned a lot of good information that will help you when put it into practice. Here’s what I want you to do next …
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