By Ashley McIlwain
See below for a special GIVEAWAY too …
How do we win at love?
It’s a simple enough question, yet the answer seems to evade so many of us. I mean, we search and try, fight and conquer, but yet, somehow it slips from our grasp. After all, we can’t help who we fall in love with and when we fall out of love either, right? We’re just puppets of love controlled by destiny … powerless and helpless.
Unfortunately, this is the very train of thought that leads us to lose at love. We are anything but helpless, powerless, or lifeless when it comes to our love life. It’s odd to me that so many of us control-freak, power mongers become so weak all of the sudden when it comes to our relationships, especially our marriages. The problem lies within our understanding of love.
Love is NOT a feeling. I repeat. LOVE IS NOT A FEELING!!!
The greatest deception of our time is that love is a feeling. That in order to be in love, we must feel in love. And if we lose those feelings of love, then we are no longer in love and are free to walk away in search of those feelings once again. This pursuit of fleeting and fickle feelings of love is what leads so many of us to heartbreak … often many times over.
Feelings come and go. In any given day we may experience two, three, four, or more emotions just by living. Yet somehow we expect to our marriage to produce continuous “happy” feelings. If those emotions dip, as they always do in every situation and relationship, we think something is wrong with our marriage. Our marriage isn’t the problem; our thinking is the problem. Our pursuit of constant happiness is like chasing the wind. There is no way that we can hope to sustain a relationship, let alone a marriage, on feelings. They are as unstable, inconsistent, and unreliable as it gets.
Feeling in love has nothing to do with being in love.
Love is a choice. It’s a commitment. It does not rely on feelings, and it’s definitely not contingent on them. Love does not come and go but rather remains constant, consistent, and without condition. Rather than following our heart, true love establishes the direction and course of our heart. It pushes selfishness aside in exchange for selflessness. Love is a decision that we make over and over again each and every day.
If you want to win at love, it starts with knowing what love truly is. Once you understand that it’s a commitment that you make repeatedly, unaffected by your moods and whims, you will be on the course to victory. Because once we get down to the heart of the matter and determine that we are going to love our spouse no matter what, you’re already moving in the right direction.
You see, every marriage has its “dark days.” Every couple experiences lulls, hardships, frustrations, and road blocks. Be assured that those will come, but that’s why it’s so vital to build your marriage on solid ground. Meaning, if you are committed to loving your spouse as Christ instructs us to (Ephesians 6:22-33, 1 Corinthians 13:4-8), then your relationship can weather those kinds of storms. If you’ve built your relationship on feelings though, it’s like building a house on sand; you will be swept away at the first sign of a storm.
This isn’t to say that there won’t be times that take you to your breaking point and back, but God promises He will never give us more than we can handle (1 Corinthians 10:13). When all else fails, call out to Him. He is faithful (Hebrews 10:23). It may not always feel like He is listening or near, but just like our marriage, we have to cling not to feelings, but to His Word and the promises that He is always near, listening, and working on our behalf. In those times you don’t think you can hang on and love your spouse the way you know you need to, call out to Him and allow Him to help you through (Psalm 62:5-8).
If you want to win at love, you have to start by knowing what love is. It’s not what we see in movies or television shows, and it’s not what we read in romantic novels. It’s so much better than that! Those are temporary and unsatisfying attempts at gratifying the flesh. They are knock-offs and rip-offs. They are feelings that imitate the real deal, but like a drug, it’s just a momentary high that leaves us searching for more.
The real portrait of love endures beyond the here now, and it’s much, much bigger than how we feel. It’s durable, satisfying, rewarding, and fulfilling. It’s exciting, fun, and hard work all wrapped up into one. Winning at love starts with realizing that your marriage is a lifelong commitment that is both a blessing and a responsibility.
PLEASE READ INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY to ensure eligibility! LEAVE A COMMENT below on today’s article to get entered to win our PADFOLIO GIVEAWAY compliments of Heather Thompson’s Blessings Unlimited (EVERYONE MUST LEAVE A COMMENT TO GET ENTERED). For additional entries do one or more of the following (each item is clickable to take you where you need to go) AND MAKE SURE TO INCLUDE WHICH YOU DID IN YOUR COMMENT BELOW!!! If you have already done any of the items listed below (for example, you “liked” us on Facebook prior to this giveaway), make sure to still include which you did in your comment below (ALL ENTRIES WILL BE VERIFIED, so please be honest)!!!
Entries must be received by Friday, October 19, 2012 at midnight Pacific Standard Time. Winners will be selected randomly and notified by email. Make sure to add firstname.lastname@example.org to your contacts to ensure delivery of the email. Winner will have 3 days to respond before winnings are forfeited. Open only to those living in the U.S. (So sorry )
Special thanks to Heather Thompson for so generously donating these items for today’s featured giveaway! Please make sure to check out her Unlimited Blessings website today!