You Don’t Know Love
Very rarely do people learn how to love correctly. Not many can say they saw healthy love between their biological parents or got to see how they effectively handled disagreements. Although you may be one of those people who received healthy exposure, you most likely will date or marry someone who cannot say the same. The fact that it takes two to make it work means there will always be a 50 percent chance that unhealthy modeling could negatively affect your relationship.
No matter what our backgrounds are, we all rack up our fair share of skeletons in our closets. There are a lot of things being swept under the rug that we eventually trip over down the line. There are a lot of misconceptions about love. As the famous quote says, “We don’t see things for what they are; we see them for what we are.”
Do You Hate Yourself?
That’s a strong question, but it addresses a very common issue that many people struggle with.
There are two sides to this coin. On one side, there are those who hate themselves, so they hurt others. On the other side, you have those who hate themselves, so they allow others to hurt them.
Women are nurturers by nature. Men are providers by nature. But when men fail to realize that providing doesn’t refer to only finances, women become devoid of real love. The woman becomes a handmaid instead of the queen she was intended to be. The man becomes a slave master, driving her into the ground. Sometimes these roles are flipped around, but neither way is the way of real love.
The key isn’t just to make it work. The key is to make it work with the right person. A lot of times when we’re dating, we try to make it work with the wrong person, and no matter how hard we try, it just won’t work out. You can’t make a square peg fit into a round hole.
Identify what it is you dislike about yourself so you can begin the work to reverse those lies. Don’t allow life to beat you up and make you feel less than. If you believe you’re worth it, you’ll receive it. You can’t settle.
Believe What They Consistently Show You
Change is possible. Change can happen. We are human, which means we are capable of anything we set our minds to. We built this world we live in using only a portion of our brain capacity. We do not fully understand ourselves or the infinite power and wisdom granted to us by God. So to say a cheater can’t change, an abuser can’t change, or a liar can’t change is to say that God is a lie. God grants man the power to change.
On the contrary, if a person refuses to change, there is nothing you can do about it. Prayer will not change a person who is unwilling to change. Sticking around will not change a person who is unwilling to change. Having children will not change a person who is unwilling to change. Nothing can stop a person from remaining the same or from changing if that’s what he or she desires. As a man thinketh, so he is. Let anyone who refuses to change remain the same. Unless you plan to change for the worse to be with him or her, step aside and let God work on those who refuse to elevate their lives through self-improvement.
If you’ve loved selflessly for longer than you can count and there is no reciprocation, you have a reason to worry. Selfless love must be a two-way street. If you’re sending love out, it must come back. This type of love works like an investment. The love you give comes with a return. You aren’t counting it, but you are subconsciously expecting it. The return of love is what fills you up, as you love with all of you. If there is no return, that means you’re selflessly loving the wrong person or you’re doing too little too late.
Pay attention to love. You can pay attention without keeping score of your good deeds. If there is no love, don’t ignore that fact. That’s something you have to see. As you give of yourself, never lose yourself. Always give from a glad and whole heart. Always expect the same in return. There is a difference between giving to receive and giving with expectation of a return; the former has motives, but the latter has standards.
Mind Your Own Business
Not talking to friends and family about your spouse in a negative way is a practice you must try. The act of not complaining about small things will create more peace and happiness in your life. If you pray about it and take action instead of complaining about it, you may not need to hire a professional. Make it a habit and a practice not to complain to anyone about your spouse.
Keep your business in-house, and watch the difference it makes. I do not mean sit in a burning house. I mean, if it’s not worth breaking up over, it’s not worth fighting over. We get a feeling when something is seriously wrong in a relationship. When things are very toxic, we have to tell someone who will listen. It’s smart to have an ally on the outside if things are toxic on the inside. One mistake people make is keeping quiet when things are dangerous behind closed doors. That’s a mistake you don’t want to make. If things are so toxic that your safety and sanity are at risk, tell friends and family and be on your way out of that relationship.
Listen to your heart. Treat your relationship like a house, but never get trapped in a burning one.
Forgive and Forget
It is not easy to forgive and forget, and it may be one of the hardest things you ever do. If you happen to be on the receiving end of the forgiveness, the responsibility is on you to make up for lost time. You cannot abuse forgiveness. Forgiveness is grace. Don’t ever take grace for granted. Yes, it’s your spouse’s place to forgive you, but it is your place to rebuild trust
Rebuilding trust may mean giving up the passwords to all your devices and being an open book. It may mean doing things differently. You may have to spend more time than usual talking with your spouse. You may have to change your routines or schedule a bit to be more accommodating and present. It may mean starting over from square one, if the offense was that bad. Do what it takes to rebuild trust.
Arguing Isn’t Communication
Arguing involves yelling, screaming, name-calling, interrupting, walking off without notice, and sometimes more. What is healthy about that? Nothing. Arguing can become addictive because of the chemicals released from the brain in a heated argument, followed sometimes with a makeup session of the ages.
When you argue and then make up, there’s a strange feeling that comes over you. The feeling is like ointment on a wound or like a warm blanket in a cold house. The makeup session seemingly fills the void and rights all the wrongs, but rarely is that the case. It feels good in the moment, but a pattern is forming in the brain.
We are so quick with the tongue that we don’t really give our brains enough time to process the situation and make an educated decision. Take your time, and don’t be so quick to express your disagreements. Not everything is worth your energy. Your energy could be used in much more productive ways.
Pick a Captain
There are traditional roles that have been put into place, but that may not work for your family. In some relationships, the man cooks dinner and washes the dishes. Traditionally, the woman fulfilled that job. In many cases, the traditional roles do not fit. A lot of top chefs are men. So why is it we expect the woman to do all the cooking? You have to pay attention to the roles in your household and make sure they fit.
Pick a captain in each area, and respect the order. Collaborate and communicate, but respect each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Don’t get trapped in traditional roles if those roles don’t work for your household. A relationship is about submitting to each other. That means the man will lead in some areas and the woman will lead in others. There should not be an alpha male running every aspect of the household, just as there shouldn’t be an alpha female running every aspect.
Submission Takes Strength
There is nothing that we can’t accomplish if we come together. Loving and respecting your spouse should be the main goal. If both of you keep that goal at the center, the relationship will work. If either of you deviates from the plan, it will fail.
Leadership is service, and submission is strength. It goes both ways, so know which side you’re on in every situation. Accept the role you have to play as different events arise in life. Your role won’t always be the same and it may switch daily, but you have to be okay with doing what you have to do to help make it work. Selfishness will ruin what you are trying to build. Don’t get it twisted. This isn’t to hurt you, control you, or anything of that nature. Keep walking in love.
Don’t Mix Love with Lust
You can’t invite the Devil into your home and not expect him to take over. Lust will wreak havoc on your life if you let it. It will take more from you than you can afford to lose. It will cost you more than you can replace. It’s important to understand the power of lust and use it to your benefit in your marriage and only with your spouse. If you can keep lust and love in bounds, it will strengthen your relationship beyond understanding.
Don’t be tricked into doing what the rest of the world is doing. Lean on and trust in the blueprint for healthy love. Make love revolve around your spouse and nothing else. Keep love in bounds, and indulge in it. Let it make you stronger. Keep finding ways to love deeper, and don’t turn your back on real love.
Keep It Hot
Keep it hot, and keep it fresh! There is always something your mind can get into if you really think about it and get creative. Don’t allow your relationship to fizzle out because you’re complacent. Love should never be complacent.
If you get too comfortable and complacent, you will get replaced by something. I know that sounds a little harsh, but at some point it will come true. It is natural for the butterflies to go away. You will feel like you have done it all and said it all. Say it and do it over and over again, but find a different way.
Love is a job with no retirement. You can’t coast in love. With matters of the heart, you have to get up every day and go to work. If you don’t work it, it won’t work. Don’t ever feel like you’ve arrived. So many of us have been guilty of this. It’s human nature. You have to be mindful of this truth and do everything you can to combat it.