Valentine's Day and the True Standard for Love

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Hi guys and Happy Valentine's Day! I felt inspired to share a post centered around love because this holiday inspires love and/or romance for so many people. For me, I always looked forward to the chocolate and pretty pink and red themed cards or decorations. However, I know that many people can feel lonely and sad on Valentine's Day as well. So, I wanted to dig into what the true standard of love actually is and how I've been challenging myself to love more genuinely. I hope the words placed on my heart will be encouraging for you. 

standard of love

The True Standard for Love

Like so many, I faced some serious issues in the only serious relationship I've ever had. I believe that sex (outside of a marriage commitment) contributed to those issues. Regardless, having experienced some of those common relationship problems myself, I am able to look back and reflect on the ways that we didn't live up to the true standard of the meaning of love.

According to the Bible in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8,
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. 
These verses reveal that the way love is often portrayed in the media and as observed in everyday life is superficial and/or incomplete. The romantic aspect of a relationship is the one that is typically displayed, especially around Valentine's Day. However, I feel like that aspect is superficial all on its own. So many sexual relationships fall apart because of deeper emotional and/or spiritual issues that can't be addressed through the simple, physical act of sex. I do believe that sex is important and should be limited to a marriage relationship only, but it can not be the foundation of a relationship.

Inspired to Love Better

I was recently inspired by a post I saw on social media (sorry I can't remember who posted it to give them credit). The post was a message to those believing for a God-ordained marriages. It stated that if we are believing for a spouse who will love us in the way God intended them to love us, then we should be preparing ourselves to love in the same way. That message really spoke to me. I began to reflect on my past mistakes. Although I can honestly say that I put my all into my previously mentioned relationship, I didn't take the unequal output of effort very well. 

As parents we had to depend on each other, but no matter how many times I tried to work as a team and plan and create a future, it was clear that that wasn't the true desire for my ex. It frustrated me because he didn't understand or didn't acknowledge the imbalances in our relationship. So, I began responding and reacting from a place of anger and hurt. I was impatient, unkind, irritable, and resentful. Looking back, I am ashamed and it even hurts me a little knowing how far I had deviated from who I wanted to be.

Even When it Hurts

I'm not saying that if you are in an unhealthy and unfruitful relationship that you have to stay there like a doormat, but you still have to respond in respect and love. You have to keep your peace. In my relationship, when the communication and everything else really fell apart, God began to speak to my heart and play back how badly I had reacted. I listened and began to set intentions to change my behavior. Don't get me wrong, I would still get caught up in my emotions pretty often. However, I was trying to make an effort and prayed more for God's help with my reactions. I even tried to involve my ex in things that God was revealing to me. After a while, God placed it on my heart to stop. I was passionate about following God's word, but my ex wasn't or had a different idea of what that meant. I was frustrated because I couldn't fix it alone, but then I started believing that maybe God had different plans for me.

That's when I started depending more on God and going on my faith journey that began last Spring. God was able to help me to see that I shouldn't take the rejection so personal and that maybe my ex couldn't, didn't want to, or just wouldn't be the partner I thought I needed him to be. In addition to that, it had nothing to do with me or my worth. It was also tough because I wanted our son to have a good example of a healthy relationship. Still, God loved my ex and I was not justified in trying to hurt him because his decisions were hurting me. God saw what he was and was not doing, but He was more concerned about my character and my heart. I had to remember that God is love and it was His requirement that I also act in love. God had been kind, merciful, and longsuffering with me even when I was living outside of His will. I faced the consequences of those poor decisions big time. However, I felt that God was trying to redirect my steps and to trust Him.

Dreams & Encouragement

I believe God has placed the desire in my heart to be a wife again. Back in the day, I was not the little girl who dreamed of a wedding or a beautiful wedding dress (I've always been down for the wedding cake, though bahaha). So, I used to tell my sister that I could see myself eloping or getting married in a courthouse. She would get upset, but I used to really only dream of that real deal relationship, where I was married to my best friend, secure in the strength of our relationship, and appreciative of one another. However, that dream was forgotten. Even so, if that is a dream that has resurfaced, I have to face and let go of the disappointments, hurts, and harmful habits that I have developed. I have to practice loving myself again by applying those Biblical principles above, as well as loving those around me.

Oh and I want to include a little testimony. Being conscious of the true standard of love has also made me more patient and has improved how I discipline and even speak to my son. He is only a toddler, but our relationship is changing for the better. I am still big on discipline, however I am much more patient in teaching him how to behave. Therefore, he is much less defiant and defensive when I give him instructions he doesn't like. My son is truly a headstrong kid who doesn't like being told what to do, so that is always really frustrating for me. Nonetheless, it's so surprising that regardless of how basic these principles seem, actually applying them makes such a huge difference and brings so much peace in our relationship. Awww my heart is actually swelling right now thinking about it. :) Praying about it also helped significantly to the point that his preschool teachers even noticed a difference in his behavior. It's all glory to God of course.

One Final Note

If Valentine's Day is hard for you because of what you see on social media or what you are seeing other couples do around you, here's a challenge for you. Pray about it, study those Bible verses above, and prepare yourself to be that husband or wife that you and your future spouse would be proud of. It is not an easy thing, but it's better to bring those good habits into a future relationship because the love we expect to have should be reflected in how we love another person.

Thank you for visiting and reading this post. You are welcome to share your experiences or revelations when it comes to love and relationships if you'd like. Thanks again. God bless you.

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