Love for Them

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.
John 15:13

Having been married a whopping one year, one month, and 10 days, I'm going to venture a little marriage/relationship advice for those who are as clueless as I was (and still am) as a newlywed. This really applies to just about any relationship, but I learned it primarily in my marriage, so here goes.

Love them the way they want to be loved.*

Pretty simple, right?

We all have different desires in our relationships. Some of them are basic to every person but come with varying levels of need. The point of loving someone is not to love them the way you need to be loved, but to love for them. Love isn't something you do to try to get something for yourself, so it's silly to think that loving them the way you want to be loved is helping them. Love is a verb, an action that implies you are placing the other's needs and desires foremost.**

For example, I feel loved when my husband buys little gifts or flowers for me, writes me notes, and spends time just listening to me talk. He doesn't usually have that much to say, so this works out well for us.

Well, when we first got married, I just assumed he would feel most loved if I wrote him notes to take to work and cleared the evening so we could sit and converse over a quiet dinner at home. These certainly made him feel loved, but they weren't at the top of his list.

My husband feels most loved when I work on projects with him, even if we're not talking. He knows I care about him when I give him time to himself to unwind sometimes. And he is most definitely blessed on the rare occasion that I complete his chores for him. These things are just about opposite to my way of thinking, but they are special to him.

This might sound crazy to some women, and it might change when we have kids, but I honestly couldn't care less most days if I'm always the one to clean the bathrooms and do the dishes. He does those things for me, and I really do appreciate it, especially if we're hosting a party and scrambling last minute, but I don't usually get warm fuzzies over it. Sorry, ladies.

So I'm learning to love for him. I shouldn't have to insert the "for" in the middle there, but it helps me remember that love means denying myself and even what comes naturally to me to love Randell the way he feels most loved. I'm terrible at it, but by God's grace, I think I'm growing.

Like I said, this principle can apply to any relationship. We just need to take the time to get to know our loved one's needs. Let's love for them and not for ourselves.

*A great resource is The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman.
**The important exception to this rule is any form of unhealthy behavior or abuse. If you're concerned this might be something your loved one is going through, or you are being mistreated or coerced in any way, please talk to someone you trust and find a counselor. They can help you work through steps you may need to take to help your loved one or get help yourself.

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Hello! I'm Faith. I'm a verbal processor who wants to love the Lord and love people with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. I write to think and think to write. I don't drink coffee. I am a dogless dog lover. I enjoy hosting large parties in my home, and I enjoy being alone. Join me in looking to Him and pursuing A Radiant Face.


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