I’ve noticed that there is a lot of relationship advice out there. There are people who are in relationships, looking to solve problems, or to make things better. There are people longing for a relationship, and are tired of feeling alone. Either way, all of us are very interested in having good, fulfilling relationships, because no one is designed to be alone. God created us to be social and relational. In fact, in God’s creating man, He said in Genesis 2:18, that it’s “not good for man to be alone,” so he created him a suitable companion. We are built for relationships.
However, we are naturally selfish. Our sin nature causes us to be self-centered, in a perpetual yet unnecessary survival mode. It is in our nature to put ourselves first, with no regards for others. You don’t have to teach a baby to be selfish, just let them not get their way, and you will see that baby have a fit. This is why there is such a need for relationship advice, because our need to be connected doesn’t override our need to be selfish. Instead we create a dichotomy within ourselves, that tends to make love hard.
Love, in and of itself, is simple. In the most basic terms, it means to put someone else before ourselves. Their needs and desires take priority over own. We’ve watched far too many movies that depict love to be the sappy, heart fluttered moments of romance, that always ends happily. While these themes are fun to watch, the are also misleading, because they make it look so easy. Love is very simple, but it is certainly not easy, and here are 5 reasons why:
- Love goes against our nature – Most relationship advice centers around selfishness. We are either asking how much selfishness we should accept from others, or how much selfishness is acceptable for ourselves. Letting go of the innate desire to have our own way goes against the grain from which we were cut, making love difficult.
- Love is easy to mimic – Love is not an action, it is an attitude. Love isn’t really about what we do, as much as it is about what we decide. Acts of love are only the outward manifestations of an inward resolve, which makes love extremely easy to mimic. Do the right things or say the right things and people will assume it is love. Unfortunately, people can say and do all the right things, for all the wrong reasons (which leads us to #3).
- Love makes us vulnerable – The one thing that makes love so wonderful, and simultaneously very scary, is vulnerability. To be vulnerable means to be left completely open to a physical or emotional attack. To love, and be loved, means to have the knowledge and means to destroy someone, but never using it. That is a fulfilling notion to open yourself up to someone else like that, and not having to be on guard all the time. But the instinct to survive, and to protect oneself, makes it very hard to open oneself up.
- Love is a risk – Because of #2 and #3, loving someone, and opening oneself up to be loved, is a huge risk, with many implications. Pursuing and maintaining relationships is often the continual assessment of risk and reward. Just like with the stock market, or in business, the greater the risk, the greater the reward (and that’s a scary thing).
- We believe lies – Movies, TV, and music want us to believe that finding love will fix all our problems, making love a goal. God, however, shows us that love is a starting point. Our commandment is to love everybody (John 13:34), and not just those who are good to us, but also our enemies, and those that seek to just use us (Luke 6:27-28). Love is not a goal, it is a command.
No love is not easy. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that relationships don’t require work, sacrifice and compromise. Some of your relational days will be filled will heartbreak and disappointment, but at the same time, you must know and resolve, that it will all be worth it.
© 2016 Derek J. Murphy Enterprises, and I AM KINGDOM Publishing, All Rights Reserved.
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