The immortal song by Tina Turner questions, "What's Love Got To Do With It?" Love has to do with everything!
Who do you love? Are you for sure? (Sung to the tune of ll cool j’s song). What is love? How do I know its love? These are age old questions that have been around for centuries. When searching for the definition of love it is mostly defined as a feeling of deep affection for someone or even something. Love is the most universal thing that people are always looking for. It’s the theme for most movies, books, songs and poems! It can make us laugh, cry, be joy filled, hopeful depressed, broken and sad. It is the one emotion that almost every one experiences at least once in their lifetime.
Do you know there is a love that you don’t have to search for! That is God’s love! Love is very important to God/Jesus. It is the one thing he actually commands His followers to do.
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31 (NIV)
How are we supposed to love? What does a healthy loving relationship look like? A great passage to read is 1 Corinthians 13. The first few verses Paul talks about how various things he can do or be but if he doesn’t have love he equates to nothing. 1Cor 13:4-8 teaches about the essence of Love:
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." 1Cor 13:4-8 (NIV)
This is how God loves us! His perfect love. This is how we should love, but because we aren’t perfect this is a good guideline to help us in our relationships.
Let’s talk about healthy relationships (any kind, sibling, parent, boyfriend or girlfriend, husband/ wife, friends); a healthy relationship has all those things. You are kind to one another, patient, concerned for each other’s welfare, truthful, trusting, looking out for each other’s best interests, respectful, not braggarts, unselfish. Love is more than feelings and emotions, it is more of an action. It is what we do even who we are. God is love.
Unhealthy relationship involves dishonor, hurting others, selfish, gloating, blackmail, guilt, finding fault and other countless negative descriptions. If you’re in a relationship where you’re always hurting, arguing, crying, untrusting, depressed – that is unhealthy and it is best not to continue the relationship. The longer you stay the harder it is to get out of it because of bonding. You can find out more about bonding in the “let’s talk about sex podcast”.
Even though the Bible commands us to love one another we need to have discernment about who we start relationships with. Being a good judge of character. Is she/he nice? How do they treat their parents, other family members? How are they with their friends? Do they have future goals they are pursuing? Do they have a right relationship with God? Are they selfish? Do they have a lot of baggage from previous relationships? These are some good questions to ask yourself in the acquaintance stage. It takes time to develop a trusting genuine relationship with someone (I’m talking friends and romantic relationships).
If there are red flags in the beginning now is the time to bow out. Find out more in the healthy relationships post. You can recommend them to talk to a professional counselor or Pastor that can help them resolve issues in their life and to help them in their future relationships. Remember we are only in control of ourselves and can’t really change someone else. We may be able to influence them, encourage them positively, prayer for them, but not give them the real help that a professional can give them.
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Christina Leeman MPH, CHES, writer and health educator, emboldens women to be the She Who Honors God with her all - body, thoughts, words, actions.
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