Why doesn’t my cake look like my mom’s? I asked myself after baking my second flop. I called her to see what I was doing wrong. First, my mom went over the list of ingredients for her recipe, and she uncovered my mistake. I had written down baking soda instead of baking powder. They are both used in baking and have similar properties. However, mom’s special cake recipe needed baking powder. Finding this one truth changed the outcome of my efforts and my reality.

Your Love Recipe

We all grow up formulating our own recipe for love from the messages we hear, our experiences, the relationships we’ve seen, and the world’s ideals of love and marriage. We take our definition and feelings of love into our relationships and often find out what we thought was love, doesn’t work out the way we planned.

We also come face to face with our partner’s individually tailored definition, ideals, and expectations of love. With two recipes of love based on individual imperfect beliefs and experiences, how can we expect not to have love challenges?

God’s Love Recipe

I never realized God created the perfect recipe, design, and aspects of love until I was in my thirties. No one ever told me, and I wouldn’t be surprised if no one told you. After several abusive marriages ending in divorce, I began to study the life of Jesus. He showed me his love is not a feeling. His pure love “is” the substance of all of God’s goodness and it “does” everything to honor Him, others, and yourself.  Just as I needed the right ingredients to successfully bake mom’s cake recipe, I needed to know Christ’s recipe for love to live in each aspect.

Christ’s characteristics, words, and actions helped me understand what my thoughts, words, attitudes, and actions will look like when I love as he does. It also revealed what a marriage looks like in his design with gentleness, kindness, and selflessness. His love revealed the flaws I had unknowingly created in my definition of love.

My studies revealed Christ’s love design is hinged on God’s two greatest commandments. First, to love Him with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength. The second, to love others AS you love yourself.

The equality of loving others as I loved myself made me aware that I didn’t love myself equally. I had been living in a deceptive dishonoring belief and view of love based on my brokenness. I made sure I came last. I never thought of myself as equal to anyone to be a humble servant of Jesus. This twisted belief of serving Jesus came from early childhood experiences and misinterpreted scriptures. I lived out and believed this lie for thirty-five years. I didn’t realize I was disobeying God’s commandment to “love myself as I loved others,” until I studied God’s truth.

Finding Your Truth About Love

We will consistently live up to the truths we believe about ourselves, living deep at our core. Until you choose to look at your truths and evaluate if they honor and serve you and others according to God’s design of love, you will use your flawed recipe of love.

Not loving or valuing yourself as equal to others is one of the biggest hurdles victims of domestic abuse must overcome. They already believe they have to earn love because they are not enough. In an abusive relationship, the abuser uses manipulation, coercion, and degrading remarks to make sure the victim continues to feel not enough, leading them to continue to try and earn their attention or love. The abuser’s goal is not about love but to control the victim like a puppet for self-gratification.

Without believing you are to love others as you love yourself, you will continue to allow yourself to be mistreated or abused. When you are in a hurtful or abusive relationship or marriage, and you realize your love is contrary to God’s design for love and marriage, you have the chance to partner with Jesus and discover what his love “is” and “does.” You do not have to cling to the love recipe you have known, experienced, or come to believe.

You Have the Power to Choose

Like me, you can choose which recipe of love you will follow. Will you believe what others have told you, the pain you have experienced in the past, and the world’s self-focused ideals of love or will you believe God’s love design seen in the life of Jesus?

You can learn to understand and live in the ingredients of Christ’s love as you trust and experience the substance of Christ’s love living in you and flowing out to others. He calls you to live in his love and also to use these standards to receive his design of pure love. A few of these are respect, honor, trust, patience, hope, kindness, gentleness, goodness, and selflessness.

Christ’s recipe for love is an individual lifetime journey that no one can sever. It can also be a shared journey when you and your spouse live in his recipe together. With Christ’s recipe of love lived out individually in each spouse’s life and kept in the center of your marriage, your marriage will be happy and fulfilling. You will face the storms of life together anchored in Christ’s love.

The only way to change the path you are on or the same hardships you may be facing every day is to find a truth you didn’t know or expose a lie you have been believing. God’s recipe for love is meant to be good, not abusive. Isn’t it time to live in the full abundance of Christ’s love individually and in your marriage?

What would happen in our relationships and world if we could follow Christ’s recipe for love?