“You are beautiful. I love you. I’m so lucky to have you.” The flowers, the candy, and a nice dinner. All of these extra touches on Valentine’s day are a blessing. But when the day is done, how are you seeing and treating your spouse? How are they treating you the other 364 days of the year?
How Does Love Go Wrong?
Because we all come from different families and life experiences, each of us has our own definition and design of love. Our definitions and designs all start out broken because we are unaware or not living in Christ’s true love design. Until we can evaluate the health of what we have learned as “normal” communication or actions, we can’t see another way to love. We may not see our love design is broken, unhealthy, or even abusive.
After all the special touches of Valentine’s Day, it’s vital to pay attention to how you treat the ones you love and how you let them treat you. Each of us can only love others the way we know how to love. Unless you learn Christ’s true way to love and become determined to live in it, you are vulnerable to be caught in a difficult, unhealthy, or toxic relationships.
Define What Love Means to Each of You
To help us know the perfect definition and love design, God sent Jesus to earth. Jesus showed us how to live in his perfect love through his life, death, and resurrection.
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” (John 15:9-15 NIV)
Christ’s true love design is found in these two greatest commandments, which are seen in the life of Jesus. He also showed us the aspects of true love through the fruits of the Spirit in his life. These fruits are found in Galatians 5:22-23 NIV. They are love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control.
Matching Your Love Definition to Christ’s
As we live in the greatest first and second commandments and the fruits of the Spirit, it is vital to keep learning more about the aspects within Christ’s exceptional love design. The best way to learn about God’s love is to study the Bible. Studying is different than reading. When we study the Bible, we must be sure that we are reading it in the context of God’s heart and intent.
One of the most famous passages people read about love is found in 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8, ESV. “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 wrong doing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.”
These scriptures describe God’s and Christ’s perfect love. Their love is the love we need to give and to receive. Unfortunately, when you don’t know the context of these verses, and you are in an abusive relationship, you may misinterpret them. You may believe or be told that no matter how you are treated, you must “bear and endure all things” or all abuse. When we operate from our broken love design, we can believe these lies and allow others to disrespect, hurt, manipulate, or abuse us. Victims of abuse need to know these verses are a picture of the love we give and receive. Christ’s love NEVER includes abuse.
Christ’s perfect love lives within the healthy boundaries of the first and second commandments instructing us to love others AS we love ourselves. His loving boundaries have mutual respect, freedom, and responsibility. To love others as you love yourself means you are equal. Don’t fall into the trap of an abuser or the devil’s lies that “Christian love” means that you allow others to hurt or abuse you.
Christ’s True Love is for Every Day
When you choose to be a disciple of Christ and live a life worthy of His loving sacrifice, you will work with him to love others as he did in your life. If you struggle to know what love you are operating out of or what Christ’s love design really is, study the verses in the Bible about love and Christ’s life first. See him through prayer, praise music, in a Bible study, and with others in your church. Grow your personal relationship with him throughout your day.
As Christ’s perfect love lives in you, you can live and love through him. He can’t wait to work with you and transform your mind, heart, words, attitudes, and actions into his likeness. He came so that you could thrive in all his blessings of love on this broken earth. Be brave and love others as you love yourself 365 days a year!
Discover how our broken love design was made and how you can work with Jesus to transform it into his love design. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to be notified about the release of my new book, A Quest for Exceptional Love, Transforming your love and relationships through Christ’s love design.