A Few Keys to Red Hot Relationships

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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. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

My marriage has endured it’s fair share of love tests over the past twenty five years.  I can say from experience that love is not always something you “feel”, it is not always that ooshy-gushy physical phenomenon of lovey-dovey emotion. But as we endure one another in the way 1 Corinthians 13 outlines love, we find that our relationship remains strong in spite of circumstances.  Perhaps you can relate to the circumstances:  hurt feelings, miss-spoken words, lack of attention or too much attentiveness, and other misunderstandings or frustrations.

Endurance in the heat of the hurt.  When you are angry at your spouse, or your love, do you dwell on the offense?  This is like pouring gas on an open flame.  Our imaginations are so powerful that when we meditate on an offense we tend to fabricate additional scenarios that ‘could have’ happened only to find ourselves more angry and justified in our disposition.  I have conjured up some whoppers in my anger; scenarios so wild I won’t even write them here.  When the negative, reactive thoughts remain unchecked it leads to an explosion of emotions: fear, anger, frustration, bitterness, and even hate.  STOP.  Think about the things that caused you to fall in love with your mate.  Meditate on all of the beautiful qualities you love about him/her.  Put the offense in perspective in relation to all of the beautiful actions he has done over the years.

Forgive. Period.  No “ifs”, “and’s”, or “buts” – FORGIVE.  Have you been forgiven?  Should you not forgive? Resist the temptation to compare the ‘level’ of offense: this will NOT help your marriage. There will never be a fair comparison because you are two completely different personalities with separate preferences and love languages.

Love in Action: Love Languages.  I have said it before and I will say it again: ‘know your lover’s love language.’ Then take action and start loving in their love language; this will have a huge impact on your love life.  [see Gary Chapman’s The 5  Love Languages book].  My husband’s love language is service and mine is quality time.  We have learned to honor these vastly different ways of showing our love.  Today, in honor of Valentine’s Day, my husband asked, “Do you want to go work out together tonight or go to dinner?”  Because I know that he would much rather stay home and work around the house than go to dinner and what I really want to is spend time together I replied, “Let’s workout and then spend some time together at home.”  I will give a little by letting him have some time to himself accomplishing some goals, but later we will watch a movie together.  And we both will feel better after we exercise together. 🙂 Love in action is regularly putting other’s needs and desires ahead of our own. [note: this does not mean to neglect yourself. Please use discretion and balance whenever you receive advice — you are the only one who knows your intimate circumstances.  If you are being severely neglected or abused, seek help from a trusted source].

“And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”  Matthew 6:12-15 NIV

LOVE is……

  • Patient
  • Kind
  • Happy for others’ blessings (not envious)
  • Humble (No Boasting or pride)
  • Honor of others
  • Selfless
  • Forgiveness
  • Rejoicing with Truth
  • Protecting
  • Trusting
  • Hope
  • Persevering

LOVE never fails.

As you humble yourself in your relationship, you will have the ability to forgive as Christ has forgiven you.  And with Christ – “All things are possible” –  which allows you to persevere and ultimately have times enjoying a harmonious relationship.  Yes, you will have times of Ups and Downs, yet when you dwell on the positive and you consider the wise words of 1 Corinthians 13, you will emerge victorious in loving your loved ones, as these principles can apply to non-romantic relationships as well.

Happy LOVE Day!  May you be transformed by love – – forevermore.

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