“Sweetheart, you just told me that you loved me, but yesterday you got mad and cussed me out for not having the house the way you wanted,” I questioned my husband.
“I told you I was sorry. That should tell you that I love you. If you would do what I wanted, I wouldn’t have to get mad and blow up at you.” My husband replied.
Different Definitions of Love
Looking at these two extremes of love gives us a picture of how different each person’s definition and blueprint of love can be. Deep inside, I knew the way my husband talked to me was not loving or right in the sight of God. But I struggled because my husband professed to be a Christian, and he said he loved me. My conflict continued for thirteen years in my first abusive marriage, three years in my second abusive marriage, and thirteen years in my third abusive marriage because I didn’t know God’s truth about love, marriage, and abuse.
My desire to please God by being a good Christian wife had been drilled into my subconscious by misquoted scriptures from my parents, other Christians, and pastors. Their messages reinforced the lie that being a “good Christian wife” meant that I had to let my husband treat me any way he wanted. I was misled and deceived by three dangerous assumptions about love.
Love’s Dangerous Assumptions
- We assume our spouse’s design (perspective, definition, and understanding) of love is similar or the same as our own, especially if we are both Christians. Every person forms their imperfect love design through their understanding, beliefs, experiences, messages, and role models in their lives. All of our first definitions and designs of love come from imperfect people; therefore, we all begin with our unique broken love design.
- We assume that accepting salvation instantly teaches us the aspects of Christ’s love and how to walk in them. We are not taught about the types and signs of abuse and what healthy, unhealthy, and toxic or abusive relationships look like, and what God says about abuse. Even when we feel Christ’s love in us, we don’t automatically know how to love like him. Jesus tells us. “We error because we don’t know Scriptures or the power of God.” (Matt 22:29)
- We assume all people who proclaim to be Christians will love us like Jesus automatically. We are not taught the aspects of Christ’s love or how to live in them. Therefore we each come to our marriages with our unique broken design, even though we may be believers. Without being taught Christ’s love design, we will use our broken one by default while praying for God to help us feel loved by our spouse.
Only Christ’s Love Design Can Eliminate Our Assumptions
The only way we can love like Jesus is to learn his love design. People are just like computers. We can only do what we know how to do. The only way to change what we do is by learning something new and implementing it in our life every day.
In a marriage, each spouse uses their imperfect, unhealthy, or abusive love design to make their marriage conform to their broken definition and understanding of love. Unless we learn and practice loving like Jesus, we will use our broken love design by default. Without Christ’s pure path to love others as he loves us, our relationships will continually struggle in a tug of wills.
It’s time for the disciples of Christ to learn, implement, and live in Christ’s love. Christ’s disciples must learn that his love design originates and operates on the first and second commandments, respect, freedom, responsibility, and healthy boundaries. Christ’s life illustrates how we can live in his love by having an abundance of the fruits of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23)
Loving Like Jesus is Intentional
Loving like Jesus is an intentional commitment. We can no longer say we follow Jesus while we live in our self-focused worldly assumptions about love. We must study God’s word and the life of Jesus and let him reveal any definition, ideas, or understanding that does not align with his.
Jesus tells us that people will know we are his followers by the way we love others. Our words, attitudes, and actions will mirror the love of Christ. If you recognize that you do not know Christ’s love design or that your spouse does not love you like Christ himself, you are not alone.
However, now you have a new understanding of Christ’s love design, and you are responsible for working with him to learn to love like him. It took me fifty years to learn these truths through Christ’s revelations as I studied his life. If I can help you avoid some pain mistakes by showing you Christ’s love design, then my lessons have been worth it all.
As Christ’s disciples, we are blessed to have his love dwelling inside us now and into eternity. Let’s honor our Savior by understanding how to live in every aspect of his love and have healthy, happy relationships and marriages. Only you can change what love design you are using by walking hand in hand with Jesus. Learn about Christ’s love design by subscribing to my blog and by ordering your copy of Quest for Exceptional Love book and or workbook today!