(In conjunction with “Become What You Desire”)
I hate using the preface “as Christians”, because it can be so wrongly placed but "As Christians", the greatest commandment is
A. Love the Lord your God with all your heart... and
B. Love your neighbor as your "self".
This is FOUNDATIONAL to EVERYTHING else in our lives... EVERYTHING. It is confused sometimes since in order to love another, we must first learn what it means to love God and then learn what it means to both be loved by Him and to love ourselves.
Love is not a "soft" word by any means. It is so often misunderstood. A person who has poured themselves out in love will know this all too well. Love takes risks and gives, not based on what is deserved but based on what it has to offer.
If God is "love" then we can see so many facets of love that are overlooked in our personal relationships too often, both friendships and otherwise. Love is a "commitment" word. A person who is in pursuit of loving God and learning to accept His unconditional love for them will learn also to love others and will show evidence of it; and those who are on that path will also recognize it and be drawn to it.
I am building from the bottom up, without self-love and respect; there will be nothing to give another. These are foundations we must build personally if we are to have healthy, Godly, lasting relationships.
LOVE THAT STOPS PROGRESSING IS DEAD: As "Christians", we "owe" this love to one another because God first loved us. We are commanded to love, as "He" has freely loved us. Love does not use, abuse or squander another for its own gain, no matter what. It does not take revenge or demand to always be right. It does not point the finger outward but it looks inward and concerns itself with pleasing "God" not man or oneself.
I personally do not think that learning "true" love is the easiest thing to do because true love puts a demand on the deepest part of us; but it is absolutely possible if we are willing to grow. It asks us for things we are not already doing and giving and it moves us to "willingly" give what we would never have given before. Love is always "progressive" it never stops developing and expanding; when it does, it is no longer alive.
LOVE WAS ALWAYS INTENDED TO BE “GIVEN”: I don't believe we are to pour ourselves out to just anyone, anywhere without wisdom but I do believe there are places and times where God requires us to give because "He" gave, not because we are keeping score.
Though I have never been married, I would dare say, learning how to give freely as a "personal choice" understanding the value of "giving freely" to what is likely to be the most significant relationship in your life, is one of the most important components to both peace and unity in a home. It is also amongst the greatest investments you will ever make in your life. It assumes the best of the other and keeps bitterness out.
Love was always intended to be "given". And this love gives because it “can” not because it “has” to. It gives because it finds true joy in fulfilling the needs of another. A person who has learned to love like this does it because they believe in the value of giving freely without expectation. They understand that all things cannot be measured with the natural eye. If it is the man God has given you, it is a no brainer, pour it out. He’s your personal garden to tend to.
I understand this is a somewhat “foreign” concept, but think about it. To be so free as to be able to be a blessing to the ONE man that God has assigned you to be a “helpmeet” to and to do that with all your heart and without reserve. To have the freedom of heart, mind and soul to be able to be the “wife” that God has called you to be, to uphold that “role” with the utmost integrity and sincerity regardless of whether or not you “feel” like it. Marriage is not a party, it is a “partnership” and each has been given roles by “God” to fulfill in that partnership.
A PURE HEART: With this premise of "Love", we are to think, view and respond to others from a "pure" heart, not one of malice and bitterness and a person who has been hurt, violated in particular ways whether it was before they were old enough to choose or if it was after, may need to work on their own heart before having the capacity to be in a relationship where they have something to truly give and where they understand themselves enough to be able to communicate their own thoughts and needs without intense emotion, manipulation and/or unrealistic expectations.
I believe we unconsciously attract who we really are (whether we know ourselves well or not) so if we are "stuck" in the past, we could likely end up with someone who is also "stuck" in the past and the two together are a recipe for disaster.
If we lived in a “perfect” world, we would already have been prepared for this level of relationship in marriage and we would easily move into it without reserve; but since we do not, these are things we must approach “intentionally” in our lives. If you are “reserved” when you consider being a “helpmeet” and you have a “defensive” response to everything anyone says about “submission” and being a “helpmeet”, there is a very good chance that you are either 1. Emotionally unhealed from former abuse and/or 2. Misinformed as to God’s original design for marriage and the family.
At the end of the day, in order to experience the best of what God intended for marriage, we must be our personal best as wives. I understand that the “men” have their own issues and I will leave that to the “men” to deal with; as for “us ladies”, let’s challenge one another in our views towards men and marriage. This bitterness and anger is perpetuating generations of the same. Learning to love as God loves is the only chance we may have at experiencing something better for our future than what we have experienced in our past.