From Pam Rohr, author of Blended but not Broken – Hope and Encouragement for Blended Families:
It’s the beginning of a New Year and with it may come new years resolutions. It’s important to continue to look at the different areas of our lives and pick an area to move forward in. I like to say if we aren’t moving forward, then we aren’t just standing still, we are actually falling backwards.
Do you need to work on spiritual disciplines? Or are you focusing on getting physically healthier? Or maybe your stepfamily needs some attention and work.
With the new year just beginning, is a good time to reflect on the past year, where you are, where you want to be and how you want to get there. If your step family relationships need some work, a good place to start is a renewed commitment to love. The type of love I’m talking about is agape love. Unconditional love, an act of your will kind of love. I know, that is really hard to do. And with some messy people in our lives, it can only be done through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Agape love is not a feeling, it is a decision, and it is a choice and a determination to love someone. It’s a choice to love someone who may be very hard to love at times. This is the kind of love God displayed for us when He sent Jesus Christ to earth to die on that ol’ rugged cross. He hung there with our filthy sins applied to His sinless life so that we might have eternal life enjoying Heaven with Him one day. I’m sure neither of them, Father nor Son, felt like doing this but for loves sake, for our sake, they did it.
People fall in and out of love all the time because they are basing love on their feelings. They no longer feel love for that person. But let me ask you, how many of you ever hear of parents falling out of love with their kids? That can happen I suppose, but it’s rare and when it does happen, it is because the parent chose to. There is definitely something wrong there.
So why do we fall in and out of love with our spouses so easily? One day they’re great, the next day we can’t stand them. And if there are enough of those days, we end up divorced. If we base our decisions on our emotions, then we will have unstable lives. We will be tossed back and forth like the waves. We can be in charge of our choices and we can choose to love even when they are unlovable.
This week, we’ll focus on spousal love and commitment. Next week, we’ll talk about loving that unlovable stepchild.
You remember how you felt when you first fell in love with your partner, right? He or she was the most wonderful, perfect person in the world. Then you got to know them a bit better and you began to see some of their faults – and what happened? The feelings you enjoyed toward them, all the time at first, began to wane. That is called the infatuation period of a relationship. Infatuation has been described as extravagant but short-lived passion. It’s about “being in love” rather than loving someone. During this period, you are blinded to their faults and it seems like these feel-good feelings are here to stay.
Unfortunately, they don’t, they come and they go. That’s why it’s important to aim for mature love. Yes, you still will have good feelings in mature love, but when they are not there, you can still be committed to your partner and choose to love them in spite of themselves.
To have a happy stepfamily, the couple relationship must walk in mature love. The husband and wife must be committed to one another. So how do we walk in mature love?
- Being unselfishly committed to your partner.
- Caring about your partner’s happiness as much as your own.
- Release control and lets God change them. Let God decide who is right between the two of you when they won’t hear you. Let God bring peace in your life when all hell is breaking loose.
- Encourage their interests and dreams.
- Allow them to be their true self around you.
- Mature love allows for good boundaries.
- Not always having to be “right” – the relationship is more important than just being right.
- Learning to apologize.
Developing mature love is an ongoing process and it does require trust. Trust is earned and is defined by Webster as: a firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.
Ephesians 3:17b-19 says “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God”.
We can have mature love in our relationships particularly when we realize the love that God has for each of us. We receive His unconditional love for us and then we can give that love to others. When we realize how much we are loved, even with all of our faults, it becomes easier to love others with all of their faults. We can make a decision to love even when we don’t feel like it. Even when they are making us mad. Even when they are pushing all of our buttons.
I am available for coaching if your marriage is not what you want it to be. Do you trust your spouse? Do they trust you? Trust is the foundation for a good relationship. Are you progressing in mature love or are you stuck? You have to work at developing mature love and then work at sustaining it. The work is worth it to have a love that you can count on, to know someone has your back, to be part of a relationship that is significant. It’s great to have a long history with someone. It’s nice to reminisce about “remember when” with your partner.
My husband and I just celebrated our 30th anniversary. No one knows me like he does; I can be fully myself around him and not have to worry if he will still love me. He is my best friend. We have each other’s backs. I know he would die for me if it came to that. I trust him.
It wasn’t always that way for us though. We had to choose to love each other as much as we love ourselves. We chose God’s way. We have grown into mature love for each other and I have to say, it’s worth the work.
Please contact me at nouveaulifecoaching.com. Most of my coaching is done over the phone or through Skype so distance is not a problem.
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