Love- one of the most coveted things in our world, especially amongst women, don’t you think? We long for it, work for it, turn a blind eye because of it, and worst yet, confuse it. This confusion can bring a world of trouble and hurt to our hearts, causing us to be used and not even realize it.
What is the standard for real love? As Christian women, we have to remember that the standard for love was set years ago, when God sent His son to die on the cross for our sins. Sacrifice was given to us, even though He knew it could never be repaid. It’s a covenant that is so important that He gave us the Holy Spirit to keep us in check; to convict us, to protect us. Provision- God always promises to provide for us, giving us what we need, when we need it.
What should real love look like in a romantic relationship? Love is more than just a gushy feeling. It’s more than gazing at each other from across the room or running toward each other across a beach. It’s more than fancy jewelry or dates. It’s more than butterflies in your stomach. All of that is wonderful and exciting, and though it can certainly add to a relationship, understand that love is so much more. Love is a decision; an action. Feelings are fleeting. They fade and change with the wind. Love still stands after all of that has gone.
It’s a high standard, right? Love is God, and it’s perfection. Before you go rolling your eyes at your hubby, significant other or family member, let’s talk about it. Oftentimes, we expect perfection from imperfect people, when we really should reevaluate our situation to then make appropriate changes. For us single girls, reevaluating may tell us that we need to walk away. Married girls- while you shouldn’t cry divorce, your reevaluation may tell you that it’s time to cry out to God. Believe me- He hears those cries.
What should real love look like in friendships? In your friendships, are you the one always giving? Do you have friends that always talk about themselves? When you finally get a word in edgewise concerning your life, do they somehow turn the conversation back to their own issues? That’s called selfishness, and it does not fit into the realm of love. It lends itself into the “use” category, as in, they are using you. Reevaluate and make some changes. You deserve to be loved, not used.
Let’s reflect. Be honest with yourself as you assess any relationships or friendships you’re concerned about.
- Do you feel prized, protected and provided for in your relationships?
- Do you feel undervalued and overwhelmed at your disproportionate output, in comparison to their input?
- While people in your life are not going to die for you, nor do they have to, are they willing to sacrifice, protect, and provide for you? How do you know?
- What are they willing to do for you vs. what are they willing to take from you?
The Bible says the following about how our actions should match our love:
- Luke 6:31 “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
- Mark 12:31 says “The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
- (And we all know the one we hear quoted at every wedding). 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 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. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.”
- How do your relationships compare to these instructions?
- How does your treatment of people compare to these instructions?
I am a divorced woman. I got married when I was young chronologically and young in Christ. I didn’t know, or understand how severely important true understanding of God’s love for me was, before I could determine or accept love from a man. Sis, snuggle close to God. Understand His love. Understand His grace. Understand what He did to show you that He loves you. These are things you need to know in your head and in your heart. God desires healthy love for us to engage in with each other, and He has given us plenty examples as to what it should look like. The Bible is your measuring stick. Use it, and love accordingly. Are you being loved or are you being used?