I recently spent time talking with a couple that was experiencing a lack of intimacy. Their question was simple, “What do we do?” After the traditional pause and non-verbal reactions from the couple they continued, “You know what we me… We want to learn how to fall in love again.”
This is when I said, “What is love to you?” Fast forward…. many couples talk about how they “feel” in love rather then the "action" of love. This is the main topic of much of the sessions in my office. It doesn’t matter if they are coming in for a pornography addiction or a spiritual development session. Learning how love is an action, and is one of the biggest paradigm shifts I help people develop in their relationships.
I think the clients I meet are tremendously insightful. I have found many of them if given an opportunity could help other clients I work with. So with that said, here are a few ideas that my clients and I have found talking about love.
LOVE ACTION IS... a making a daily commitment to admit your accountability , weakness, and failure and to resist the temptation to offer an excuse or shift the blame.
LOVE ACTION IS... being willing to invest the time necessary to discuss, observe, and understand the relational problems you face, staying on task until the problem is removed or you have agreed upon a strategy of response.
LOVE ACTION IS... being willing to always ask for forgiveness and always being committed to grant forgiveness when it is requested.
LOVE ACTION IS... actively fighting the temptation to be critical and judgmental toward another while looking for ways to encourage and compliment.
LOVE ACTION IS... making a daily commitment to resist the needless moments of conflict that come from pointing out and responding to minor offenses.
LOVE ACTION IS... being lovingly honest and humbly approachable in times of misunderstanding.
LOVE ACTION IS... being willing to have your life complicated by the needs and struggles of others without impatience or anger.
LOVE ACTION IS... being more committed to unity and understanding than you are to winning, condemning, or being right.
LOVE ACTION IS... being willing, when confronted by another, to examine your heart rather than rising to your defense or shifting the focus.
LOVE ACTION IS... making a daily commitment to grow in love so that the love you offer to another is increasingly selfless, mature, and enduring.
LOVE ACTION IS... being unwilling to do what is wrong when you have been wronged, but looking for concrete and specific ways to overcome malicious with respectable.
LOVE ACTION IS... being a good student of another, looking for their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs so that in some way you can remove the burden, support them as they carry it, or encourage them along the way.
LOVE ACTION IS... being willing to invest the time necessary to discuss, examine, and understand the relational problems you face, staying on task until the problem is removed or you have agreed upon a strategy of response.
LOVE ACTION IS... admitting the high value of trust in a relationship and being faithful to your promises and true to your word.
LOVE ACTION IS... talking kindly and gently, even in moments of disagreement, refusing to attack the other person’s character or assault their intelligence.
LOVE ACTION IS... being unwilling to praise, lie, manipulate, or deceive in any way in order to co-opt the other person into giving you what you want or doing something your way.
LOVE ACTION IS... being unwilling to ask another person to be the basis of your identity, meaning, and purpose, or inner sense of well-being, while refusing to be the source of theirs.
LOVE ACTION IS... the willingness to have less free time, less sleep, and a busier schedule in order to be faithful to what God has called you to be and to do as a spouse, parent, neighbor, etc.
LOVE ACTION IS... a commitment to say no to selfish instincts and to do everything that is within your ability to promote real unity, functional understanding, and active love in your relationships.