The Art of Staying in Love Part II
"Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise.... Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit ... always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ."1
In continuing our three-part series on "The Art of Staying in Love" we need to understand that much negative behavior in adults as well as children is caused by not feeling adequately loved. This may have its roots in present relationships or from unmet childhood needs. Either way, when people are acting negatively or yelling, they are hurting and, in a way, however clumsily, are yelling for help. If we can see this and take the time to understand the real cause behind their behavior instead of taking it personally and yelling back, we can go a long way in strengthening our love relationships. Admittedly, this isn't easy but we do need to work at it.
Love is also accepting responsibility. Most of us bring the excess baggage of unresolved issues from the past into our close relationships. For example, the man who didn't get along with his mother and is still angry at her will inevitably take out his hostility on his wife and family. Or the woman who felt mistreated by her father or some other significant male and is distrustful of men will take out her hurt and anger on her husband, and so on.
If we desire to stay and grow in love, it is imperative that each of us accepts responsibility for resolving our inner conflicts that cause dissension in our present relationships. We were not responsible for our upbringing but we are now totally responsible for what we do about resolving any negative effects our past had on us.
Love is more than sex. Love is much more than a physical relationship. It is also an emotional relationship. The man who ignores the emotional needs of his wife and expects to receive a warm response in bed is inviting frustration. Women are not machines to be turned on at will. Sex starts in the kitchen at six, not in the bedroom at nine, ten, or eleven—or even later. A long-lasting physical relationship is the result of an ongoing healthy, long-lasting emotional relationship.
On the other hand, the wife who no longer shows any interest in her husband's life outside the home feels totally shocked when she discovers that one of the younger women at the office has. Many men (and women too) who get involved in extra-marital activity, don't do it so much for sexual reasons but for companionship—someone who will listen to them and make them feel important and appreciated.
To be concluded ...
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to be understanding of and always sensitive to the needs of my partner and my children [if you have any]. Help me always in all ways to be 'as Jesus' to them and they, seeing Jesus in me, will want the same for themselves. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."