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How do You Love?

Love is such a critical thing. From the cradle to the grave, we need love. As humans we are hardwired to want and need it. If an infant has their physical needs met but they are not held, touched, and loved they many times do not survive. They experience failure to thrive. If they do survive, then they may have emotional or mental health disorders. Love is essential. 

Most of us know this. We know that we want and need love, but do we know how to go about giving and receiving it? If you are a mom, you will get what I am going to say. You know love for your child, even before you ever saw them. You began to love them when you found out about them (pregnancy or adoption). You started loving the idea of them, before you ever held them. When you did see and hold them for the first time, oh my heavens, you could not even believe how much you loved this little person. You just melted. Your heart just bonded with them forever.


What if we love them with a “I love you no matter what; I love you when you are nice or not, and I even love you when you are not loving me well.”


 Now, the truth is that as we go along and parent these precious little ones there are times if we are honest (well, at least for me) that you do not really like them. Sometimes it is very one-sided. You love, you give, you care, you do everything. They may or may not respond like you would like them to. You still love them, but you may not like them right at that time.  It is hard, but for the most part we don’t walk away, we don't quit, we don;t say I am done. We are forever their mom. We just keep loving (in fact sometimes we try even harder, when we know we are in challenging places or times). It is forever, no matter what commitment. It is a miniature picture of what God’s word says in John 15:13 “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” (ESV)

I think of this often, when I think about the way as a mom I choose to love my children; and then compare that to how I love my husband. Isn’t it interesting that if Johnny is not being easy, if it is a hard season, if he is not making me happy and I really am not enjoying him, that my thoughts are totally different.  My thoughts may go like this: this is not working, he needs to change, he needs to get it together, I am not happy!  I don’t think I ever think: I need to love him more, I need to be more sensitive, I need to give him grace and maybe space. 

Wow! What if I did just that? What if that is how we loved our husbands? What if the kind of forever love we feel for the children God has given us, is not more than what we feel for our husbands? What if we love them with a “I love you no matter what; I love you when you are nice or not, and I even love you when you are not loving me well.”  I think if that is the way I choose (and learn) to love my husband, then I will truly be a part of what it means to love someone well. 


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