‘The depth of our personal relationship with Jesus directly affects our choice to partner with him and transform into his love design or to keep operating from our imperfect, broken love design.’
Tom grew up in a strict Christian home. His father was domineering, and his mother was quiet. If his mother displeased his father, he degraded and blamed her. His mother tried to be happy, but she continually fought depression and anxiety.
As a teenager, Tom noticed his mother was wearing long sleeves during the summer. One day, when his mother thought no one was home, she took off her long-sleeved shirt over her tank top. Tom came home early from school and saw purple bruises around her biceps. He asked her what happened?
“I fell.” She said.
As Tom got older, his father stopped hiding the abuse to his mom. Tom asked his mom to leave his dad several times after he witnessed his father’s abuse. His mom refused to leave his dad or get a divorce because God hates divorce. Tom grew angry with his father and at God for not protecting his mom.
Tom couldn’t wait to go to college and be free of his dad. While going to college, Tom was drawn to a girl named Cindy. She was a happy Christian woman full of life. He felt so happy and alive when he was with her. They started getting serious, and Tom became domineering.
Cindy questioned the change in his behavior. She explained her definition of love, like Christ, was respectful, noncontrolling, with healthy boundaries. By the time Cindy explained her definition of love and her boundaries. Tom flew into a rage. He told Cindy that she was being too sensitive and a religious fanatic.
Cindy drew healthy boundaries. She gave Tom time to choose to learn respectful love or to continue using his unhealthy broken love design. Tom chose to remain angry and to blame Cindy for making him angry.
Cindy ended their relationship. Tom missed an opportunity to learn and to live in Christ’s love design and stop living in the cycle of domestic abuse. He chose to keep doing what he knew instead of experiencing the true love he saw and longed for in Cindy.
Salvation Does Not Instantly Make Our Love Like Christ’s
Tom chose to keep living in the love design he had come to accept as “normal.” Because his concept of God was skewed by his experiences, and he had not personally sought and studied who God was, Tom struggled to see Cindy’s definition and design of Christ’s love. In his frustration, Tom chose anger and what he knew instead of being willing to learn something new.
Being raised in a Christian home, accepting Salvation, loving Jesus, and going to church doesn’t mean you know and live in Christ’s love design. It does not mean your marriage will automatically be happy, easy, or free of domestic abuse or violence. God designed you with free will. Only you can choose the design of love you will use in your life.
Christ’s Exceptional Love Design is Your Hope and Healing
To have an exceptionally happy marriage, you must partner with Jesus to replace your broken love design with Christ’s exceptional love design. Unless Christ’s love design is the origination, foundation, and compass for your individual love and marriage, you will continue to use hurtful words and unloving attitudes. You and your spouse will continually fight and be frustrated. You will be vulnerable to fall into the cycle of domestic abuse and to pass the devastating behaviors of abuse onto your children.
It is time for the disciples of Christ to become intentional about which love design they are using. It is time for the children of God to learn and to live in Christ’s perfect love. God and Jesus have filled us with ALL of their love, and now it is time we live in it!
9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. 12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. John 15:9-12 ESV