Reminder – I am writing for women who are seeking to live for Christ as Lord and who, if they are dating/courting, are only dating/courting men who are seeking to live for Christ as Lord. Of course, if you are not dating or courting, that is totally fine, too!
It is SO easy to try to quantify, analyze, and measure someone’s love for us. I think this is probably part of human nature. Especially for us as women. Our greatest need in relationships is to feel secure. Emotionally secure. Financially secure. Spiritually secure. It can be tempting to constantly try to go through a mental check list to do a check up on our relationships to determine if we are secure or not with each person.
How often does:
- My boyfriend call/text me?
- My mom invite me to go shopping?
- My dad take me out for lunch?
- My best friend drop everything to help me when I am sick?
- My boyfriend visit with me?
- My man put his arm around me?
- My guy pray with me?
I may think if only my loved one does certain things with me often enough, it means I am secure and the relationship is secure. The problem is, this isn’t necessarily true. Relationships contain inherent risk. I can’t guarantee any human relationship will last forever. And even if someone is doing all the things I want as often as I want, these things they do aren’t always an accurate reflection of the heart or of the future.
It can also be tempting to measure the cost of things people do for us as a measure of their love for us – certainly advertisers want us to think this way:
- My fiancé took me to a fast food restaurant, not a fancy place. He must not love me much.
- My parents only got me a $50 gift for my birthday, not a $500 one. Maybe they don’t really love me.
- My boyfriend gave me a 1/2 carat diamond, not a full carat. Maybe this means he really isn’t invested in me emotionally.
- My parents said they will only give me $5,000 for my wedding. Everyone knows that you have to spend $50,000 for a real wedding. People are going to think my parents and my fiancé don’t really love me if we have a cheap wedding.
These things are measurable. I can put them on a chart. I can create statistics from them. I can also choose to make a lot of assumptions about the motives of my friends, family, and loved ones – that may or may not be accurate.
But reality is that the amount of money spent really doesn’t necessarily match the amount of love someone has for me. Plenty of very wealthy people spend millions of dollars on weddings and vacations and their lives are a mess and sometimes their marriages don’t even survive a few weeks. I don’t want to measure someone’s love for me by money.
Another reality is that different people from different families and cultures often have different expectations than I do. Many times, how often someone does something is not a matter of one person being “right” and one being “wrong.” Or a matter of one person being “more loving.” Many times, people are just different. Our differences are what make our relationships more exciting, interesting, and fun. Part of love is that I discover new things about other people and learn to appreciate how they are different from me. I don’t have to try to make them into a carbon copy of me. I can enjoy and accept them for who they are.
INSTEAD OF MEASURING AND ANALYZING…
Instead of constantly measuring and analyzing how people love me and whether I am secure or not, I want to seek to enjoy and appreciate the ways other people show love.
It’s a lot of fun to spend time with someone who is appreciative, positive, grateful, and joyful. To see someone light up with delight when we give her something or spend time with her – that is such a blessing! As I seek to enjoy all the things people do with me and for me, I will find that I am more content and my relationships will likely be stronger than ever. What a joy to be able to lay down expectations of others and be content in Christ alone. Then, I can rejoice when people do sweet things for me. And my response can be a gift to them.
Another good thing to focus on is to see how I might be able to give love to others in ways that are meaningful to them, instead of focusing only on what people do for me. When I feel lonely, doing something for someone else, without expecting anything in return from that person, can do wonders for them and for me.
And even in those times when no one seems to be available, I am never alone. I can be content even then because I am deeply and completely loved by Jesus. He can meet my deepest spiritual and emotional needs for love in ways no human ever could. When my security is firmly rooted in Jesus, I don’t have to freak out even when people may disappoint me. I can be secure no matter what other people may do or not do.
- We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, 2 Cor. 10:5
- 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 wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. 1 Cor. 13:4-8
Sometimes I need to check to be sure I am not idolizing other people or trying to make them responsible for my spiritual and emotional wellbeing. Other times, there may be some legitimate red flags. There are also just the normal bumpy spots in any relationship between two imperfect people. I want to be observant. But I don’t want to make negative, wrong assumptions. I don’t want to act like a prosecuting attorney trying to convict a suspected criminal in court without even seeing any evidence. I want to be sure I am seeking God’s wisdom and discernment and that I am seeing clearly so I can tell if there really are problems on his end or if there are issues on my end I need to take care of. I want to focus on pouring healthy relationship builders into my relationships on my end.
The key is balance and godly wisdom from the Bible and God’s Spirit.
Do you ever struggle with measuring someone’s love to try to feel more secure? What are the most tempting things for you in that area? Have you discovered how to be content and enjoy other people’s love without measuring? We’d love to hear about that, too!
Breaking the Habit of Assuming the Worst – VIDEO SKIT
Taking My Thoughts Captive – VIDEO