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Monday, March 12, 2012

Am I Loved or Am I Loving?

We had the privilege of attending a beautiful wedding ceremony and took home a message so very important for a successful relationship.

This wise pastor reflected on his past experience of observing what he feels is happening by the time two people seek out his council with fear their marriage is in trouble. He made a point to state that we should not view our partner as the missing piece needed to make us whole. We cannot view ourselves as an incomplete puzzle with our partner as that missing piece. He said it sounds romantic to speak poetic like that but to take it literally puts the partner in the position to feel pressured and in part responsible for the other person's happiness. We are not a possession of one another.

The secret of a healthy relationship is to not to say to ourselves, "Am I loved?", but rather "Am I loving?" To continually question whether we are loved does nothing but put the other person in the position to feel tested and having to prove his/her love. We are told that love is a verb which is very true. To love is an action but we have to stop interpreting every little annoying thing our spouse does as failing us in some way. That "if he loved me he wouldn't be so thoughtless" or "if he loved me he would already know that without me having to tell him".  That pattern of thinking adds to our own insecurity which soon puts a wedge between two people. Insecurity becomes very draining to any type of relationship and the end result is the desire to escape.

To ask ourselves whether we are loving forces us to observe our behavior and how we must appear to that other person. It puts us outside of ourselves in a better position to focus on where our energy is being spent, are we focusing more on giving or receiving. 

The pastor made a point that the 50/50 attitude of each partner giving 50% to the marriage is not how we should view things. If we only gave 50% to our careers we certainly wouldn't get very far. We need to view marriage as needing 100% of our contribution just as we do with our job performance. Couples should not mentally keep a tally of the give and take, who does what. He stressed the importance of communication to remind us how differently men and women think, what is obvious to one partner my be oblivious to the other. When our actions "are loving" we receive tenfold in return.
To feel valued and appreciated is essential for the emotional health of both partners.

In closing his message, the pastor advised for everyone to turn to those they love and say "thank you".

Are you loving?