There’s much speculation around how valentine’s day came about, but it’s a day that bursts forth hearts, blooms flowers, and boasts affection as a way that many have adopted as “thee” day to share, show, and speak love. Twenty-four hours set aside to wine and dine. Though for some, flowers and a movie at home are just fine. Whatever way you tend to choose to spend this one day that so many look forward to, or that some dread due to disappointment, this day can be the beginning for many, but I pray not the end for most by practicing sustainable love.
In today’s day and age we are so caught up, in our certain responsibility as those who hold dominion over the earth, on trying to save a world that’s dying, by introducing sustainable design, sustainable living, sustainable agriculture. To take a brief look at how Biblical Hebrew defines sustain, it’s; “to hold; to seize; to provide; to bear; endure; contain; feed; abide; understand (comprehend); guide”. Considering this, in all we attempt to sustain, how often do most actively attempt to sustain love; to sustain love during the ebbs that interrupt the flow that so easily comes when the tide of love is high? Just imagine if not just for a few hours on one day, but a few days out of every week, you can feel special with whomever you deem special to you without a special day! Believe, it is that which you can have by being intentional to…
Design Lasting Love
Per Ecolife Dictionary, “Sustainable design is the intention to reduce or completely eliminate negative environmental impacts through thoughtful designs.” Many, in their heart of hearts believe love hurts. But by definition and Divine design, it truly doesn’t. So, don’t be afraid to love. What hurts in love is not love itself, but instead it’s those things we bring into its environment that is “not” loving; all those things people know if it were to be said or done to them, they’d be hurt. It’s similar to the air we breathe today. A Huffington Post article, titled A ‘Smog Vacuum’ Will Clean China’s Air, Turning Pollution Into Jewelry, talks about a new design that allows people to be proactive and create something beautiful, as they remove toxins from the air. It states that “According to the World Health Organization, more than 80 percent of city residents worldwide are exposed to poor air quality levels.” But, the air itself is not what propagates the ailments many suffer, it’s what is put into it. Like love, air is good. Like love, air is harmless. Like love, air nourishes us. But it’s the pollutants that has been released in it that hurts us. And, like air, the environments of love need a designed plan to regain and sustain its healthiness, by infusing the good, removing the toxic, preventing re-contamination, and improving the plan as you move forward in your relationships. So, truly, love doesn’t hurt, but it does take willing responsibility to do some active work starting with the following steps!
Step 1: Use Eco-Friendly Elements
As you design the love you’d like to experience, it’s the non-toxic contributions that will sustain the health and well-being of you and your loved ones. Truth, trust, kindness, patience, peace, and humble hearts towards each other are non-toxic elements to work towards including into your relationship. Just think about the opposite of any of them, and what it would introduce into your environment of love instead.
Step 2: Clean Up What’s Messed Up
Eliminating wastes, those things that take valuable time away from spending time together. God wants you to work. He wants you to be productive for whatever He has assigned for you to do. Yet, He has also, called you to rest and fellowship with each other, not only with your acquaintances but first and foremost with those closest to you. Considering tendencies and behaviors that are empty, that are no longer useful or helpful, but instead let’s in stress and frustration, is another step in determining what wastes to begin working on throwing out.
Step 3: Continuously Refine the Design
No design is fully at it’s top notch performance straight off the drawing board. There’s always room for improvement; always room to bring forth something that maybe was always there but dormant and not yet put to use. There’s always a new thought or idea that can bring forth a spark. Enhancing and optimizing each other’s potential, and the possible expansion of your love between one another can reignite what made you fall in love in the first place. Additionally, it can help you to discover a few new things to do periodically that will keep the fire burning. Because like old stale corn bread, it’s all too unnecessarily tempting to throw out a relationship that has gone stale.
Daily Live Love
Sustainable living is the “practice” of reducing your demand on natural resources by making sure that you replace what you use to the best of your ability. Love requires you to pour into your beloved and for your beloved to pour back into you on a regular basis. According to 1 John 3:18 NIV, we are reminded, “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” This means that everyday, not just one day, love needs to be confirmed for your loved ones. It’s great, not only to LOL (Laugh Out Loud) with each other, but as Joyce Meyers introduced in one of her tweets, to “Love Out Loud”, as well. Speak it loudly, speak it proudly, announce it publicly, announce it privately! For, additionally, in human make up a craving exists to “Love Others Literally”. By doing this you meet one of the demands in the definition of sustain which, in this context, is that you and your loved ones need “to understand (comprehend)” that the love between you is genuine, is consistent, is dependable, is withstanding, no matter what you may be going through.
Duplicate Lots of Love
The goal of sustainable agriculture is to meet society’s food and textile needs now without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Rarely is the effort to cultivate love considered past the present moment, not only into the latter days of the present lifetime, but into those of the next generation. More couples complain that s/he didn’t do what she or he did in the beginning, and so love anticipated for each next day looks boring. And, what many don’t realize is that it’s not only the couple who gets shortchanged, but also those who are watching. P. D. James once said, “What a child doesn’t receive he can seldom later give.” Love is in popular and great demand. It deserves to be in the spot light, exemplified as a guide, and fed to others to bring its existence into the future. Creating a “Lasso Of Love” around children, family, and friends, and thus replicates it as you give it, because true love is contagious!
Valentines Day has ended. Now what? Hopefully, you will decide to not let love go stale, nor throw it away, but recycle, refresh, and replicate it. Next to all the billions of dollars in tax money that’s spent to restore the earth, love don’t cost a thing… more than dedication, selflessness, and some effort. So that the love shared between you will remain true, because the nature of its authenticity, as 1 Corinthians 13:7,8 says, is “Love always perseveres. Love will never end…”!
Now… I’d love to see your thoughts! Please comment below!
What are some improvements you hope to see in relationships, whether a marriage, parent/child, sibling to sibling, etc.?
When do you think are some good moments in daily living to show more patience to a loved one? And, what specifically would you suggest doing?
Describe your vision of peace in a relationship without suppressing and ignoring a valid problem.
Questions traipse through the trails of our minds often. I can’t image that one of them hasn’t been, even between us as a people, in professional relationships and in family ties, not just romantically, “why can’t we love each other?” In current events, love seems to be shaken out by everything that is often unrealized as an antithesis of its nature. Knowing that, as per John 13:34 NIV “…Love one another. As I have loved you…”, there’s a call on each of us to begin to realize that we are to forsake the embrace of what we so often hold so near, that which is fear. And free ourselves to open up to the vulnerability and receive what was been gifted to us; the purity of God’s love.
Love so pure, basic, the essence of who we are because of who we are, as children of the Most High God who is Love, yet it’s so often elusive, because often elusive is identity. We seek for it over the rainbow, in the valley, in the darkness that envelopes the stars, in the brightness of the sun, at the ends of what’s to the left & to the right, yet so many miss it, though it is really right there. We don’t recognize it within ourselves for ourselves much less for others. As much practice as some of us embark upon we seek it in outside embraces, hopefully, though for some not always, from those with familiar faces. Searching, looking, hunting… true love rarely found, often leaving many with a heart like a ghost town.
Devoid, or waning low, of resources that keeps the economy of love flowing. A place abandoned by the mismanagement of giving our pearls to those who trample upon our treasure. Spaces pummeled by disasters uncontrollable by the power of our own accord, leaving the hollows of our hearts a ghost town. Despite what may have caused the dry places, occupied only by the webs formed by no flow of movement, love can really fill our hearts. You only need to let love reign in your heart and be a host, as in your heart’s town, abides the One who is Love, the Holy Ghost.
Lord! Restore my heart! Turn it into a Holy Ghost town, sparking within me a love as A Host that…
Incites an Invite
Instead of protecting yourself, trying to lock out the negative possibilities that may come with vulnerability, shut out the apprehension and invite in belief that truth, kindness, and support will win. Galatians 5:6 tells us that “…faith expresses itself through love.” Loving someone sincerely makes you want to take a chance in spite of the probability of pain. Inviting others into your inner safe place, and them inviting you into theirs. It takes faith to believe that what was stolen from the stores of your soul can be replaced, and will not once again be taken. It takes faith to believe that what you give away will be replenished, even if not always via a like reciprocation, but absolutely through Divine provision. It takes faith to believe that once starts the ebb and flow between each vessel of source, there will be seen more of who you privately are, and with the ability to accept attention, hang tight with you in peace and comfort.
Activates Attention “…It is more blessed to give than to receive.”, Acts 20:35 NIV Self-care is important but love is selfless. It’s an act to observe what the invited guest of your heart likes, and to be attentive that it is received. I was joking with my cousin the other night about him and his wife, reminding him to not buy “her” any gifts “for himself”! The gift in giving is giving what the other actually wants and likes, not what benefits you. Attention needs to be on those you want to gain or regain, retain and maintain a relationship with!
Paying attention to your friends’ hearts desires; to your co-worker’s, client’s, or employee’s endeavors; or to the aspirations of your next door neighbor who just migrated from another city state or country, can make all the difference. It’s in allowing love to fill your heart and theirs by simply being interested, and willing to assist in any good way you can. There was a lady who worked in a job that she had already come to terms with the fact that God was about to shift her career choice. She had accepted it, and was ready to move on to the next exciting phase of her life. Interestingly, her manager who was just her manager within the organization for a few months, had thoughts on reorganizing the functions of the department the lady worked in. Her manager, not having asked for the sake of listening to groom the woman into her best self, in the direction of her aspirations, decided a new position for her. It was a position that was no where in the line of the endeavors she felt God had placed on her heart to do. The manager’s consideration or curiosity for the woman’s goals was not there. The autonomy of the woman had been attempted to be taken away, leaving her to fulfill the desires only of the manager’s needs. It created angst, frustration, low-moral and drained the woman’s joy until God released her from that job that would have steered her away from what He had planned for her.
Despite where one person is, love is to meet another where they are, and patiently encourage them along the path assigned to their lives. In the moment of the conversation and the carrying out of helpful offers, it’s to make the recipient feel like the focus is only on them. Yet, in the right partnership, relationship, friendship, there is a swaying in the flow of reciprocation that giving each other the attention, without vying over it, will keep conversations, and thus congregation, quite a delight. For knowledge puffs up, but love builds up, and those around you should leave stronger in hope, honor, self-respect, and feeling safe.
As others are invited to the homes of our hearts, with attention aligned away from seeking our own good, but towards seeking theirs, truth, trust, and preservation seals the deal. When others feel like they can trust you with their truth; when they can be sure you are one to preserve their aspirations, hopes, and safety with a steadfastness to refresh and replenish, it strengthens the relationship.
Love says, “Your past doesn’t scare me and if it threatens to creep into our present, I will fight it back ‘with’ you to protect our future.”
Love says, “Thank you for being open about the personal issues plaguing you at home. As your co-worker, I will handle what you shared with me with discretion, and do whatever I can to help take the pressure off of you until things get better.”
Love says, “Son (or Daughter), whatever must happen as a consequence of your actions, we will be here for you in the best ways we can.”
And, with all that love says, love actually does because it is an action word, not always around as something you feel, but always present in what you do. With love as a host in our hearts’ town filled with the Holy Ghost, we can begin shifting the dynamics of what we so often see around us in the realm of the microcosmic space we occupy in the world. There’s no party like a Holy Ghost party, for wherein He dwells, there is Love and Joy! Thus, in being inviting, attentive, and protective, towards others, love becomes contagious. Love becomes tangible. Love becomes fulfilling. And, love dwells within!
Remember, with God all things are possible, even where and when it seems like love is nearly impossible!
I would love to hear from you! Please leave a reply in response to the question(s)/statement(s) below:
What are some other ways you would like to see love increased in your work environment, school, community, or home?
How can you begin to practice at least one “new” way to add to the examples of love you already express?
Share some reasons you think might hinder someone from sharing love in these ways.
There is much to think about, much to practice in light of the two and a half tips provided in Part I of 5 Tips on Readying Yourself for Marriage. But there are a few more that’ll give you a jump start with a spark to help you towards warm bliss even through seasons of wintry blizzards. To continue on with circulating the 4 C’s, the next thing after practicing consideration and communication with your significant other, there needs to be…
Compromise, pointing out a dichotomy in its meaning, in that it’s great to compromise, exercising a little give and take, to bring forth a mend in a rift that resulted out of disagreement or to pursue peace. Yet, it also, calls for caution, not to compromise who you know yourself to be in the eyes of God, your faith, nor core values that are aligned with the Word of God. For to compromise one’s values too much is like playing on a seesaw with someone who is extremely unequal in weight, that if there’s a lean too heavily on one end, one is always up in the air, and the other never gets off the ground. It’s like a mathematical formula, where you and your spouse are the right components in your relationship, two people brought together by God to add to each other, and multiply to complete a Kingdom purpose together, but if the right values are missing and/or incorrect ones are used, you will inevitably get the wrong results. And, it’ll have you wondering, where am I, who am I? So, it’s important to not lose yourself by always conceding your God-given desires. However, make room within yourself, for your special someone, by setting aside some of what you want to allow their Divinely inspired desires to transpire, as well. Some of the most beautiful songs are created by a duet of great talents, those who compromised on which parts they’d sing in their collaboration to follow through on what had been agreed upon. I believe for you that you and your partner can make beautiful music together, as well.
Collaboration requires that you be ready to answer a committed YES! as you ask yourself, “Am I ready to do what I said I’d do? Am I ready to do my part?” Collaboration is a consistency of working with your partner to bring forth the results agreed upon. If you’ve ever worked in a team at work or played on one in sports, you know there’s a dependency on you consistently and reliably performing what you agreed to do. It’s no different in a marriage. The two of you will be a team. Your home is your work place or ball court. Collaborating on tasks and issues makes you part of the solution, and not part of the problem. Winston Churchill once said, “The price of greatness is responsibility.” No matter what stage of the dating game you may be in, surely you want to have a “GREAT” relationship!
Tip #4: Synchronized Symbiosis
One of the most common complaints in a dating relationship or marriage is “She/He expects me to read her/his mind!” So often sought, so frequently expected, yet, there’s often a hindrance that is placed up by one or both that prevents that desired closeness required to enable a synchronization of hearts to achieve that goal. Though being on a level to do that at all times may seem impossible, there is a oneness that comes with being unified not only by The Holy Spirit, but unified by the intertwine of both your spirit and your spouse’s. According to Genesis 2:24,25 spouses were created to come together as Adam and Eve did, become one, and not be ashamed. This indicates a closeness that calls for a level of transparency. An access where your special someone can peer beyond the temporal; clothes, skin & flesh into the depths of your soul. A willingness is needed on your part to be translucent so you can feel safe and comfortable when your mate genuinely feels and says “I love you because I see you, through you, to the true you.” This paves a journey, because it’s not fully instant. It creates a trail to allowing your significant other access to understanding all of you, the parts we all have; the good, the bad, and the ugly. This is not mentioned just because it’s something each spouse should be willing to do but because it’s something the Spirit of The Lord will begin to initiate, when He is that third strand, mentioned in Part I of 5 Tips on Readying Yourself for Marriage. For it is a bi-product of the function of your soul being knitted to the soul of your mate, that gives you the ability, as you yield to it, to develop a choreographed grace to dance across the floors of life with each other. The secret to work in tandem with Christ as the Head of your life is, well… no secret at all. It’s a matter of, as we are taught about perfect love in 1 John 4:18, consistently practicing a love that cast out fears. And, it starts, but is not confined to the boundaries, of your home. For everyone is called to ministry, because at a minimum, even when not called to ministering in a church, one definition of ministering means “the act of serving”, to which we are called. You are called to serving your mate, your children, and your extended family. Your marriage is your first ministry and your home is the soil in which it will be nurtured.
Tip #5: Nurture the Environment
Anything that grows, needs to be nurtured. Marriages can grow or become stunted, so it’s imperative to sow into your relationship by, not necessarily focusing so much on what you bring into it materially, but what you sow into each other spiritually and emotionally. Tilling the soil of your marriage spans much more than I can give you in the space of this article. So, encouragement, appreciation, and refreshing will be discussed to get you going on a good start.
As mentioned above, perfect love drives out fear. One of the intangible things you can give as an act of love is courage. The word encourage French/Latin root meanings; “En-” which is “to put in” and “courage” is “heart”; to give heart, which is a metaphor for inner strength. With encouragement, you can began to destroy the thorns of your mate’s doubts about any shortcomings, challenges, or new endeavors that can cause fear. Give heart that all things can be done through Christ who strengthens. Give heart that their shortcomings are not solely what defines them, but it’s the totality of their design that makes them the perfect piece of the puzzle helping you to further complete the picture of your life. Give heart that as Ecclesiastes 4:9,10 says “Two are better than one… if either of them falls down one can help the other up…” Because, love is an action word. So though it is wonderful to hear and should be said often, showing your soon to be life partner that you are there as a reliable source of support can be very encouraging. And it communicates, non-verbally, an appreciation that God has placed this person in your life.
Showing appreciation is important because it ensures the rocks of life don’t prevent the roots of your relationship from going deeper. It helps to ground your relationship in gratitude, especially during and/or after difficult times. Hardships, those of the past and those you will encounter together, can harden a soul spirit and outlook towards people and life as they are experienced. Appreciation of your future partner’s presence, their thoughts, time, and efforts can soften their feelings, refreshing their hope, helping your special someone feel… well, special, and be more open to you.
Being ready to refresh your mate with new hope; to replace hope that may have been snatched away on any previous day; to wipe away the traces of shed tears; giving them hope that things can be different. Refresh their mind and body as you show your appreciation by periodically doing something thoughtful that temporarily relieves them of normal tasks or duties. Refresh their spirit by simply spending time with each other talking about and enjoying blessings, expressing aloud new dreams and aspirations that the two of you can bring forth through collaboration as the cycle of love comes around again. This keeps your union light, not bogged down by burdens, bringing a refreshing by replenishing vision for a bright future.
Sow Seeds, and nourish your soil helping progress to flow, not Weeds that only to block nourishment to grow. Sow into your relationship the things that propagates potential, fosters faith, and blooms belief within your partner, not only in public but in the privacy of your personal time together. Mentioned in Part I of 5 Tips on Readying Yourself for Marriage, first and foremost of all, inviting and keeping Christ and His Spirit leading at the helm of your relationship is the solidifying factor for it’s strengthening. Knowing yourself before God empowers you to be confident and steadfast in who you are in Christ, and to set boundaries around the values you live by according to the Will of God. Circulating the 4 C’s, by giving your partner Consideration, being open to Communication, Compromise and Collaboration lays a layer of foundation to build towards transparent acceptance. Embracing each opportunity, whether in good times or bad, to build each other up through encouragement, appreciation and refreshing, in thought, word, and deed builds another layer of respect and honor. As Amy Grant said, “Every good relationship, especially marriage, is based on respect. If it’s not based on respect, nothing that appears to be good will last very long.” God prepares each of us for the blessings He plans to give us. As you start implementing these tips, you will be essentially saying “Yes” to the process, while God is also preparing your spouse for you, too. May the God, who is Love, bless your journey towards each other!
Even the greatest love stories have their rough and tumble trying times in the middle, before the story ends in a, for the most part, happily ever after. Have you considered about your future marriage, “Who am I? And how, I wonder, will this story end?” There’s no way to know for sure what turbulence you will hit along the journey of the unity of matrimony, nor any way to absolutely know how it’s going to end, but you certainly can, even if you have yet to find your boo, begin building a solid foundation starting with you. Focus is frequently so intently on how to find the right mate, when we seldom understand what it takes to be the right mate, thinking that to be ready means to simply want to settle down. There has been times that even I have uttered to myself, “how would I feel being married to me?”, as a way to evaluate my own readiness for a union that God will so graciously bless me with.
A comment I just recently read, and caught my eye, offered by Dennis & Barbara Rainey, “A marriage license doesn’t make a marriage. It only gives you the right to start building one.” That made me think of what Jesus tells us in Matthew 7:25 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain fell, the torrents raged, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because its foundation was on the rock.” The idea of a large elaborate wedding and the bliss of a union of newly established love, pleasantly brings thoughts of sunrise and endless days of cloudless sunshine. But, as presented in 1 Corinthians 7:28 NIV, “…those who get married… will have troubles…” Therefore, there will be times you will encounter a muddy puddle you’ll have no choice but to wade through as well as storms to survive, that don’t have to shrivel your marriage but make your tie to each other stronger. Most of what’s about to be shared, you can apply to your life right now, even if you haven’t yet found “the one!“, but maybe you are dating. All, except one that only applies to marriage that will be revealed in part II, can easily be slightly modified to fit, transferred to, and used within, any relationship, such as; co-workers, friendships, siblings, and parents. I say this because the more you practice these tips, the more you’ll be ready when matrimony time arrives, helping you plan & build upon the one and only Solid Rock before you agree to walk the paths of life together.
Tip #1: Stand Strong with the Shining Strand
To insert a caveat, before I get into the reason it’s good to be married, remember that marriage does not always or all inclusively make life easier, nor does it rid or cure you, or your potential mate, the temptations each of you battle or feed before you tie the knot. Though said before the time we had to be concerned about such things, according to God, as He told to Adam in the Garden just before creating Eve, “it is not good for man to be alone.” And as stated in Ecclesiastes 4:12 NIV; “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” In Part II, we’ll get into the why and how the two of you can be nurturing for each other under the covering of Christ, who is the third and Shining Strand.
Covenant relationships are vulnerable to division. Division enters by way of unpleasant issues, those known and unknown, about our potential mate and ourselves. It intrudes upon unions that God puts together because the forces of darkness knows that where there is unity, there is strength and power. The intrusion can be apparent or seem very subtle almost unnoticed. It can come by way of large crisis or behaviors that erode core values that are nutrients of the soil your relationship should be rooted in. As you keep Christ, the Pure Strand of Light, as the head of your daily life in word and deed, He is that added strength that will bind you and your mate together, rendering the issues of life and any personal foibles unable to tear apart what God puts together.
Tip #2: Know Yourself Before God
Part of working with God to strengthen your relationship is leaning on Him to understand yourself. And, though it is not impossible to do if you are already engaged, or married, it’s best to begin before you do so. Back in mid 2010, God started me on a four year (yup, FOUR YEARS!) dating hiatus. As any typical, healthy young woman, I too was seeking to find what I thought was my better half. I now know there are no better half’s when you allow yourself to become whole as God fills your spirit-man with what you’ve always longed for, yet without Him, never can truly find. So, as I began my walk with Christ in late 2010 and continued beyond, the prayers for a Godly husband began. But, he hadn’t manifested. And, if your spouse has not manifested, yet, don’t be discouraged. If God hasn’t decided to set you apart especially for Himself, you will connect with your future spouse someday. Be encouraged, because the mate chosen for you may be going through a preparation process to be united with you, too. And, that’s why I want to share with you my very brief story. As I prayed, periodically, for a husband, a couple of times God gently told me; “Be Patient, My child. Come into the fullness of who you are before I add anyone to your life.” After hearing that, I focused on finding myself, knowing myself, understanding who God created me to be and the plans He has for my life.
When you begin to walk in, and measure yourself by, what God says about you, ignoring what others say, you are getting closer to knowing yourself before God. This helps you to know your gifts and talents, so you know exactly where and in what you are to operate in intentionally, with excellence and genuine inward fulfillment. As undesirable as it may seem, you will know and understand more about what you now consider weaknesses. Some you won’t be able to change, but because of what God says you can accept. Others are ones, that with God’s help you can overcome. And, like the Apostle Paul, you can also receive God’s promise, as shown to us in 2 Corinthians 12:9 “’My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.’…” That is Empowering! Empowering because before the person is added to your life, you are strong, self-sufficient, and secure that you are content with being YOU! Thus, when you cleave with your mate, there’s no loss of core or essential parts of yourself in the effort to put too much of who you are aside to please your spouse. Instead, it is Empowering to be productive, enabling you to communicate, giving the best of who you are to whomever comes into your life! Giving, never losing, because you’re always producing the essence of you!
Tip #3: Circulate the 4 C’s
Usually, I go deeper into these in group coaching workshops, but these are a good start to help you on your way to prepare for your walk down the aisles of life with your potential mate. These are bricks or layers of your foundation where one builds on top of another. Consideration must be present to have the desire to communicate properly. Communication must be present in order to know what you need to compromise about. Compromise is what you will plan with your future spouse to do together in collaboration. And, Collaboration is what actions you both will carry out based on your plan.
Consideration for another, done so on a regular basis without begrudging, is an indication that you have made room for that person in your heart and all that matters to you. Romans 12:10 NIV says to, “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Think back to a time when someone was considerate to you regarding your time, your feelings, your dreams and desires. How did that experience make you feel? What did you think about the person who wanted to hear your thoughts and ideas? Think about how you would feel at the moment of a sense of belonging and significance you would have when you are welcomed into the wholeness of another’s world. It is something that can make you smile! Imagine that for a lifetime, even through up and downs that can make it easier said than done, yet does not excuse the practice of consideration. Thoughtful acts fueled only with your desire to include and integrate your future spouse into your daily activities and long-term plans, plus taking into account their wants and needs, can remove much of the clutter that could possibly cause some trip-ups that were never meant to be inevitable.
Communication is a fundamental foundation to a successful friendship, partnership, or romantic relationship. Even non-human species have a life dependent lean on communication through the clucks, crickets, and cries they use. On a higher level, there is a needed and available bidirectional Divinely created communication plan set up for our relationship between God and us, which is prayer, through which we speak to Him, and what we often forget when it comes to Him, there is listening. What allows us humans, placed between the wild and the Wonders of the Heavens, to be exempt from communicating with each other?
Here’s why communication is paramount to relationships, based on some of its Greek root meanings. To communicate is to be ready and apt to socially maintain communion, which in Greek has been used synonymously with fellowship. Communion or fellowship means being in participation or in partnership with others. And, to communicate within a partnership is to make those around you, in the context of this topic the spouse of your dreams, a sharer in, not only your physical possessions, but also the impartation of what you freely give from who you are on the inside. The word impart stresses that the giver gives something precious to the recipient, as if part of the giver resides within what’s being shared.
There are many reasons, none to be ashamed of, why some find it difficult to communicate, but it is possible to do and to improve. Additionally, it is extremely necessary. For, without it, intrudes the division touched upon earlier, causing consistent misunderstanding and conflict due to confusion, which is not of God since He is a God of order. A perfect example of how powerful communication is, is seen in Genesis 11:1-9, which starts out in the first verse, “Now the whole world had one language and common speech.” This indicating everyone could communicate and understand each other. But, they began to take pride in themselves, cutting God out of their decisions, and started to build a tower to reach the heavens and make names for themselves that God did not want them to build. In Genesis 11:6&7, God says as He sees what they are doing, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come,… garble their speech so they won’t understand each other.” In this scenario, God was not the enemy, but the loving guardian, keeping them from doing something non-beneficial to them. As an example of how not communicating can cause division, as told to us in Genesis 11:8, they were scattered “…all over the earth and they stopped building…” A marriage, however, is something you want to keep building upon over your time together, and absolutely possible because God said that with communication, we can do anything! Think about how strong and powerful your marriage can be! This is a wonderful testament to the power of communication.
To achieve this as much as you can, there needs to be a willingness to discuss anything, even the difficult things, by allowing your mate to express their feelings, thoughts, and mistakes, without judgment or interruption, because it’s your turn to listen. Listen with your heart, not just your ears, but with a genuine desire to understand. Your future mate will want to truly feel like their feelings and concerns matter to you. At your opportunity to express, your willingness to set aside your own fears or hesitations will need to be exercised so you can share your feelings, thoughts, and needs in a peaceful loving and kind way. As I, myself, had to learn years ago as I began my walk with Christ, you have the right to speak the truth in love. Proverbs 15:1 reminds us, because “A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.” Then, you will be ready to plan, problem solve, and make progress through whatever it is the two of you face or endeavor to accomplish!
Yes! I promised you FIVE tips, but you only read two and a half in Part I! So…
At times it seems the most difficult to recover from a broken heart as we are still staring at the broken pieces. It’s only when we choose to look up and peer beyond them that we can see any hope to climb up and over the heap. Now is that time! The broken pieces of your heart is no longer at your feet or in your hands. God has taken over and is ready to do the mending, if you let Him.
Forgive those who left you in your deepest time of need. It was a light shed upon the truth of their nature of choice which made room for another or others who can deliver on genuine faithfulness, love, & loyalty. And, though it may seem as if life has fallen or is falling apart, it’s simply getting started to come together. For, if God allowed you to come to it & He is going to bring you through it, because He has brought you too far to leave you now. Get into your heart, into your spirit, that though they disappointed you, they could not stop you from moving forward, onward, upward, towards your destiny! Activate your healing as you humble yourself before God, hold on to The Rock, staying prayerful and faithful, never being afraid to…
“… approach God’s throne of grace with Confidence, so that [you] may receive Mercy and find Grace to help [you] in [your] time of [ANY] need.” Hebrews 4:16 NIV
The spirit of heaviness is broken off of you now, as the Garment of Praise covers you, and a Joy washes over you because The Lord our God will never leave you, nor will He forsake you! And, Yes, He hears your prayers! So, even if you haven’t yet seen how, believe it’s all working together for your good! Greater is coming! Walk in expectancy!
“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in Me[Jesus].” John 14:1
For quite a few decades, we’ve learned about and may have experienced, first hand, the consequences of poor heart health. Many technologies, medications, and cardiologists have found very effective ways to mend our physical broken hearts; those that malfunction due to hardening of the arteries. The most difficult heartbreak to piece back together is the spiritual heart that no human can touch. The one that can be shattered into pieces due to being fed betrayal resulting in withdrawing from life due to the pain of being unable to gather the shards back together again. The one in which the corridors of love are now narrowed and blocked by animosity towards your significant other who couldn’t resist the enticement lying on the beach, or your best friend who mishandled your deepest secret. Maybe you have shortness of breath because your heart no longer pumps as vigorously due to some sour experience that suffocated your passion, or something very precious was ripped away from you unexpectedly. Or, possibly you have a broken heart due to some of your own past mistakes. This heart, much like your physical heart, cannot be mended by your own hands; nor can it be seen without revelation and enlightenment. Unlike your physical heart, though, no other human on earth can fix it, but entrusting it to God and doing what is much harder to do without His Divine healing helps you to… Forgive. Only then can the sincere true love you so long for, you hunger for, and desire and, maybe subconsciously, thought was buried under the rubble of wrongs can be resurrected.
Unforgiveness makes your heart heavy with the hardness it creates, causing the flow of true love to slow or stop, just like poor eating can contribute to clogged arteries preventing blood flow. And as the blood slows or stops, so does the giving of the nutrients the rest of the body’s needs. What parts of you, and those who are an extension of you in your life, are suffering because they’re not getting what they need? Where in your life does the blockage need to be cleared away so your love, desire, and passion can recognizably flow again?
A few years ago, I was in this place. All my life I was a giving person, but there came a time when I grew tired of doing good. At this point, I had not found my way back to God, thus I thought I had to take the mistreatment against my kindness into my own hands to protect myself. Around 2006, I had decided that I would not invest as much time and generosity into others as I had previously. Why should I give to or do for people who’d only turn on me out of their ungratefulness and selfishness?! The hatred in my heart towards their wrongdoing began to block my love towards others in my life, both those who remained and new people who came. I was never going to allow another family member, friend, or significant other get anything of value from me again. The more I did that, the more my heart became heavy; the more alone I felt; the more I hurt; and the more angry I grew. I felt they all owed me something, and they wouldn’t get another thing from me until I got what they should give! But, sadly, as a result, I starved them… and myself. I was punishing innocent people, and myself for what others had done to me in the past. I had become a person I no longer recognized, nor liked very much, in that I began to only think of myself first, neglecting to see the needs of others. I had become very much like the people who hurt me. Ultimately, I learned that love engulfs pain, whereas inflicting pain due to your own only breeds more of it.
You see… blockage in the arteries of love builds up and hangs around when you hold onto something or someone lost or never gained but strongly desired, leaving you feeling like your blessings were stolen, blocked, missed, or swapped with a curse. These things can be an opportunity that was lost; a love interest that never manifested; maybe major plans that were interrupted by some unexpected life event; or a disappointing family tragedy causing wounds that never healed. Whatever it was for you, that someone else did, or even what you may have done and another couldn’t support, cannot rob you of the joy, freedom, and future God has for you. Release whatever or whomever it is that has you building up barriers to the flow of love, because whatever blocks the love from flowing out, also blocks it from flowing in.
You may be thinking, I don’t know how to let it go. Trust me… I know how you feel. And, I could not do it without God’s help and His direction through His Word. I could not do it without His unlimited understanding of His knowing how and why I felt the way I felt. Nor could I do it without His patient love that gently explained to me that, though for some things I had the right to be angry, I was handling it oh so incorrectly, and was slowly killing my spirit and that of those around me by way of a spiritual heart attack; for just as life is in the blood, so is life in love. I had to learn to Forgive. I had to stop punishing others, or expecting others to repay me. I had to let it go, while clinging to God’s coat and to His every word that taught me that…
Though you may grow weary of giving and doing good to only get shortchanged, put your hope in The Lord by praying for strength and guidance then keep going, for God will strengthen you and equip you to do what’s right in His eyes. Even without anyone else having seen the good you do, The Father knows, sees, and will bless you in ways you could never fathom. Proverbs 3:5 states “Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.” Instead of attempting to take matters in your own hands the only way you may know how, even if it’s by using a form of passive punishment, leave it God; for vengeance upon others who hurt you is His. Your heart is too delicate to carry the heavy burden of anger towards others. Place it in God’s hands and ask Him in prayer to help you to handle these situations according to His Will, and to allow you to see how what they did cannot stop His great plans for you. And one truth that I still have to remind myself of today, is that though others’ mistreatment against you feels like they are rejecting and disapproving you, it often results as a mishandling of a painful wound within themselves that they most likely aren’t aware of. Lastly, you don’t have to protect your heart by yourself. Yes, you need to guard it by using discretion and discernment, but doing that with God’s help allows you to keep the corridors of your heart open while Christ guards your heart and mind, protecting and warning you against any potential harm before it gets too close.
Though you can feel free to pray as if you’re talking to God respectfully as a best friend and confidant, here’s a prayer to start you on your way…
I know that You can do everything and that Your plans for my life are unstoppable, so no matter what has happened in the past, the blessings You have stored up for me are still available for me to grasp. Please forgive me for being unforgiving at times, and help me to forgive in every area of my life. Guide me with Your supernatural wisdom and understanding towards others, and in how to keep a loving heart in spite of future offenses that may come. I ask that You, Oh Lord, strengthen me in my inner spirit by Your power to share Your love generously and genuinely. Thank you God, for Your patient and everlasting love for me.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
The life you’ve been given is yours to live. Be determined to live & not go into hibernation due to past hurts. You are protected in The Lord’s arms. Rest in them! Because when in Christ, whatever comes against you cannot and will not win!
“May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.” 2 Thessalonians 2:16,17 enabling you to… Forgive & Live life abundantly flowing in Joy, Peace, and Love!