You have to give of yourself

First of all, we must understand what love is. Love is not just a bunch of feelings and emotions. Love is not just sex.

I like what Wintley Phipps said in an interview: “Love is when you choose to be at you best when the other person is not at their best.” He also stated, “Love is when what you want is never important, but what the other person needs and wants is always paramount.” Simply stated, it’s not just about your needs.

A secular music artist talked about a 50/50 love, but over the years I have learned that love is not always 50/50. There are times in a relationship when you may have to give more than your mate.

Let’s look at the real expert on love, the Bible. It tells us in John 3:16 that God so loved the world that He gave. Love is about giving of yourself. 1st Corinthians, the 13th chapter, is the book on love; it tells us what love does and does not do. When you look at this chapter, you will have a greater understanding of Wintley Phipps’ quote.

To bring this home, the bedroom is not where love begins. Love starts early in the morning with you consistently giving of yourself to your mate throughout the day. The bedroom is the final expression of the love you have put in your relationship throughout the day.

— Winfred Logan, Heart to Heart Ministries 

Have a weekly ‘check in’ moment

An old metaphor for the human personality is that we have both good and bad wolves within us. The good wolf is loving and life-giving, and the bad wolf is selfish and life-taking. A task of becoming a loving human being is monitoring ourselves and feeding the good wolf and not the bad.

We do this through nurturing trust, understanding, patience, not giving up and looking for the best in our partners. We celebrate those we love by sharing household responsibilities and daily habits of warm greetings and by showing that our partners are a priority.

Having a weekly check-in moment where each lists five things you like about one another is helpful. Ask what you could do for your partner that would help them know you love them. Share your hopes for what you’d like to do together in the future, as well as each partner’s own dreams and how each can help them be accomplished.

Use “I” language and ask questions such as “I wonder” and “I feel hurt when” rather than “you” language. Say “I’m sorry” when you are wrong and forgive them when they are wrong.

Take turns doing things the other enjoys. Pray for your partner daily, and have a mission for God you do together.

We feed the bad wolf within us through allowing feelings of distrust and irritation to rise, demanding our way, putting others down, thinking of ourselves as superior, holding grudges, being impatient, looking for the worst and taking care of ourselves first.

It is well documented that pornography, addiction to video games, alcohol or drugs and social media can build walls of separation in relationships.

The wolf which grows is the one which is fed.

I am grateful for persons who have generously offered me the positive messages of love. I hope to offer the same, but confess that I have to wrestle the unloving wolf within.

 — Dale Clem, First United Methodist Church, Anniston