Category: Love

Listening our Way to Love

Ask any group of people, such as friends or co-workers, “When do you feel loved?” and the answer will likely include something about listening. When people listen, we feel worthwhile and valued. Listening is hard when trying to start a love relationship, because we’d rather try to impress. Yet listening is one of the strongest ways to say, “I love you.”

Jesus’ example in this startles us. Why the God-man with all the answers would wait to hear our questions is provocative. But that’s just what Jesus did with the woman at the well. Though he knows immediately the answer to her need, he asks a question, listens, and waits for her response (see John 4). Why? Perhaps it is because, in knowing all things, he understands that his listening heart will be partly responsible for her healing.

Continue reading article by Marty Trammell and Rich Rollins >>

How to Love the Unlovely

Q: Gary, I’ve heard you say that we are to “love the unlovely” as Jesus did. But since Jesus is God and perfect, He can do anything! How are lowly people expected to do what only God can do?

Gary: Well the scriptures say that the love of God is poured out in our hearts by the Holy spirit, and that’s how a Christian can love an unlovely person. You’re exactly right: by nature, we are not lovers. We are self-centered and self-righteous. But by God’s help, we can be his agents of expressing his love to an unlovely person.

The Difference Between Giving up and Letting Go

A few years ago,  my daughter had her first job pet sitting and I felt like, at her still young age, she might need a little bit of back up. We took in a toy poodle for the weekend and things were going smoothly until someone (who shall remain nameless here) let the dog out of the house by accident. Our calm Saturday morning at home turned into pandemonium as all 5 of us, plus a few helpful neighbors, sprung to action to find and retrieve this little black ball of fur.

My daughter was in a panic. This was her first real job as a hired pet-sitter and she lost her first client already! Stephen went in one direction on foot, and I went in another by car. It felt like hours had gone by before someone in our neighborhood spotted the little guy under their neighbor’s porch. Picture this: frightened poodle, feeling trapped under this porch (surrounded by lattice), with strangers cajoling and bribing with treats to come out. I’m sure it was a fun sight to watch, but it was NOT fun to experience!

All of a sudden, the little guy FLEW out from under the porch! And by some miracle, I was able to grab him by the collar. And then everything went dark.

Continue reading article by Shelley Hendrix >>

Learning Love Languages

Recently a wife said to me, I’m sending all of my friends to your marriage seminar.” “Really, why?” I asked. “Before the seminar, Bob never helped me with anything. We both had our careers, but it was always my job to do all the house work. After the seminar he started asking me, ‘What can I do to help you this evening?’ I’ll have to admit that at first there were trying and humorous times. The first time he did the laundry, he used bleach instead of detergent. Our blue towels came out white polka dotted. But eventually he learned. It’s wonderful. And it’s been going on for three years now.” Why was this wife so happy? Because her husband learned to speak her love language.

Are You a Doormat or a Lover?

Are you a doormat or a lover? A doormat is an inanimate object. You can wipe your feet on it, step on it, kick it around, or whatever you like. It has no will of its own. It can be your slave, but not your lover. When we treat our spouses as objects, we preclude the possibility of love. No person should ever be a doormat.

We are called to be servants. Jesus said about himself, “I did not come to be served, but to serve.” That should be our attitude. “What can I do to help you?” reveals a loving attitude. “You do this or you will regret it.” is the language of slavery. There is a vast difference between being a servant and being a slave. The servant acts out of love. The slave lives in response to fear.

Coercing Love

One of the five love languages is “acts of service.” For some people, this is their primary love language. However, people sometimes make the mistake of demanding acts of service from their loved ones: “If you loved me you would help me around the house.” true love, however, is a choice and cannot be coerced. Criticism and demands tend to drive wedges. With enough criticism your spouse may do what you want, but it will not be an expression of love. You can give guidance to love by making requests: “Would you please mow the grass?” But you cannot create the will to love. Each of us must decide daily to love or not to love. If acts of service is the primary love language of your spouse, then mowing the grass will be loves loudest voice.

Q&A: Addapting to Love Languages

Q: Gary, is there a way to change my love language to accommodate my spouse better?

Gary: I don’t think we change our love language, but I think we can come to appreciate the other love languages better. Let’s say your spouse is not a “toucher” and physical touch is your language. They didn’t grow up in a touchy feely family, and therefore, it’s difficult for them to reach out and touch. But if they give you words of affirmation, you can come to realize that they’re speaking love in their way, and you can give them credit for it. I think coming to accept love in any of the languages can begin to fill the love tank, and if you’re positive about their responses to you, rather than negative (“You don’t ever touch me!”) they’re far more likely to come to speak your love language.

 

Transcend the Pull of Selfishness

“Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it.” Does that sound “otherworldly”? I, for one, am fully willing to admit that apart from the work of Christ and the ministry of the Holy Spirit in my life I am not likely to be that kind of husband. I am in fact, self-centered and often selfish. However, there is no question that this is God’s expectation of me and all husbands.

As Christians, we must not accept the cultural norm as our standard. Rather, we must recognize that in Christ we have the ability to transcend the pull of selfishness and truly become lovers. Few wives will run away from a husband who is loving as Christ loved.

Hope for Your Marriage

Bob and Janice have been separated for three months. The only contact they have had is when they met briefly with a lawyer to discuss the terms of legal separation. Is there hope for their marriage? Not until someone seeks to penetrate the silence. But let me remind you that one person can break the silence. It takes both to communicate, but only one to initiate the process.

Have you been standing off, refusing to give in and call, waiting for your spouse to make the first move? Jesus said, that if your brother sins, you are to confront him in private and seek to be reconciled. You can’t make him reconcile, but you can seek reconciliation. If your spouse refuses, you have lost nothing. It is worth the effort.

Deadlock vs Wedlock

Most counselors agree that one of the greatest problems in marriage is decision making. Visions of democracy dance in the minds of many young couples, but when there are only two voting members, democracy often results in deadlock.

How does a couple move beyond deadlock? The answer is found in one word—love. Love always asks the question, “What is best for you?” Love does not demand it’s own way. Love seeks to bring pleasure to the one loved. We are called to be lovers. When I love my wife, I will not seek to force my will upon her for selfish purposes.

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