True love is something many of us deeply want in this life. There is an image of what that looks like that many of us carry with us, and when it doesn’t look like that, or we can’t find it, we are disappointed. Real life often doesn’t work like that, it’s messy, but it can be even more fulfilling than the ideals we have come to know.
Looking at the motivation for finding love, often begins with us. What we want, what we need, what we look for to fulfill our lives. The problem with that is, it is often motivated by ‘me’. And when we start a relationship looking for our needs and wants to be met, ‘me’ isn’t all that much about love. Suddenly you find fireworks are turning into bombs, you think you made a mistake, this is the wrong person, or that there is just no chemistry anymore. In reality the love has sizzled out and it’s time to ignite a fire.
Dr. Emerson Eggerichs wrote a book called love and respect. It’s premise is based on the idea that men need respect and women need love. You meet those needs for each other, you create love. If you don’t, you start the crazy cycle. But I believe love and respect go hand in hand, you can’t have one without the other. The craziness happens when both partners are focusing on self, rather than the other. Dr. Eggerichs’ methods work I believe because it shifts our focus back to caring for our partner rather than our hurts. It goes back to a simple quote, “treat others like you want to be treated.” It’s not treat others well only if they treat you well.
So how do you cope when your needs are not being met? They will not be, not 100% of the time. How can you love when you are not being loved? First and foremost, love yourself. Be kind to yourself. If you can’t love yourself, you certainly won’t be able to love your spouse. Second, identify your hurts. We all have them, pain from the past, things we believe about ourselves. Whatever you are carrying will certainly spill out into your relationships. Pain breeds more pain. Allow God to heal that, and learn to forgive.
And here is the icing on the cake. Anything you work for will reap it’s benefits. Love is powerful, more so than we realize. Once you have worked on you, started healing, caring for yourself, and loving unconditionally, you will find everything changes. Love gives birth to more love, goodness to more good, positive thoughts to positive behaviours. It has the power to help, heal, and to make the impossible possible. True love is the hardest kind there is. It is literally laying down your life for the other person. Looking out for their best interests, it does not keep score. It is by far one of the most amazing things you can experience in this life. Don’t forget, it can be messy and takes time, but once you can love without selfish ambition, get ready to be blown away.