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Thursday, October 11, 2007

What is "real" love?

It seems so many people are confused about "real" love. The divorce rate is staggering. Parents disown their children and children seem fine with refusing any kind of relationship with parents or extended family.

Yet, in a recent survey conducted by The Associated Press and MTV on the nature of happiness among America's young people - people ages 13-24 listed "more time with family" as the most important need in their lives. It seems that need is expressed in the media and advertising more than it has been over the last 25 years.

So why the difference in the media now vs. then? Polls are notorious for bad information and they are controlled by the current slant of the media. But it can also reflect true feelings if we step back and look that the forest - not the individual trees.

Societies will believe anything if you shout it long enough, know how to use propaganda and give them incentives to want to accept your philosophies.

There has always been an element of every society that "does it wrong". They take a basically good concept and twist and turn it for their own desires. They use the system and selfishly hurt the good that could come from that philosophy. For example, the 40's -50's lifestyle. Mom stayed home and provided a clean well-ordered home. Dad worked hard to provide an income. Children were required to be mannerly and the home was quiet and calm - a paradise away from the busy world. Everyone was encouraged to have a faith and those that didn't weren't allowed to force their views on those that did have a faith. Hence, Leave it to Beaver and Andy Griffith.

Someone -- probably a very dysfunctional person decided that since he/she didn't have that type of lifestyle that it wasn't real. So they began to discredit it. The propaganda begins. A throw the baby out with the bathwater type attitude began. Those lifestyles were fakes. Mom really wasn't happy. The children were taken to the woodshed and beaten and the Father was secretly having affairs.

Yes, there were a few dysfunctional families around. But they were not the normal. As the propaganda grew, the psychiatrist climbed on board and then the media and soon we were told that the happy homes of the 50's just didn't exist. As a result we began to act accordingly. We were taught that our children were better off in a daycare. We told ourselves that Mom's that work are happier and that Dad's have no influence on their children. You know the routine....

Crime increased. Children took drugs. Divorce grew. Father's are unhappy. Children are abandoned. Every mom polled in any poll anywhere admits that she feels guilty.

What's wrong? We need love. We are built with an insatiable desire to be loved. Daycare, schools, counselors, teachers, communities, social programs, doctors and friends can never provide the love that we need.

We need the love that says "when everyone else in the world leaves you...I will be here."

We need the love that says, "If you mess up I'm gonna kick your behind."

We need the love that "holds us and just lets us cry."

We need the love that "demands respect and holds the standard high."

We need the love that "is on our side and working to help us even when we are wrong."

And most of all we need sacrificial love that says, "I will never put myself above you. I will always think first about our relationship and second about your needs. Only then will I think about me."

Ahhh....but we have been conditioned to believe that putting others first will put us in danger of being abused. Well....your right! In the process of real love, there will be times when you are taken advantage of. Duh....it won't be a sacrifice unless you do some sacrificing. But if you have built a great relationship, then the other person in that equation will be working to find a way to put you first as well. In time, you will be the recipient of sacrificial love.

Here's the real fact that we don't want to consider. If you are giving "real love", it shouldn't matter if you get it back. Because....if it matters then your love is only a bargain. What you are really saying is "I'll do this for you if you will do this for me." And if you say that - it's not real love.

So my darling teens and spouses and parents.....there's only one question about whether you are giving real love.

"Do I love this person enough that you would be happy to suffer the rest of your life in silence just to know that they were cared for?"

That's a huge decision. Yet it's a question that you can ask before you commit to marriage, before you have a child, before you adopt, before you ever say - I love you.

So many relationships are broken because the answer for the participants has always been - "me first."

Every situation must be judged on it's own facts. But so many times I've watched spouses ruin marriages because they stubbornly wanted their own way more than they loved. It wasn't that either were bad people or that either of them were necessarily wrong. But the compromise couldn't come because one or both of them were selfish.

I've watched young people enter into doomed marriages because they thought the feeling of love was more important than the sacrifice of love. Feelings last for a moment. Real love lasts a lifetime. Unfortunately, they had the mistaken idea that one party could overcome the selfishness of the other party by doing all the giving. It just doesn't work that way. In a good marriage both parties must give 100%. While hubby is trying to give everything he can to support and love his wife, she should be in a race to out give him. Both spouses should want to love each other to death. And neither of them should ever feel any pleasure in hurting the other. They would never rag on them in public, make jokes about them to friends or even discredit their abilities in private. Their job is to lift the other person to their highest. Real love never tears the receiver down.

That same love can then be transferred to their children. Working hard to lift their children to their highest and not only being providers but cheerleaders for their lives as well.

What is real love? Real love is sacrifice in action. If you don't have that....you don't have real love.

Here's a quote from the survey. Kristiana age 17 said, "They're my foundation. My mom tells me that even if I do something stupid, she's still going to love me no matter what. Just knowing that makes me feel very happy and blessed." The study went on to say that most young people in school think marriage would make them happy and want to be married some day. Most also want to have kids. More than half say they believe there is a higher power that has influence over things and that religion is very important. NO ONE said that money makes them happy but over half said their heroes were their parents.

Parents - don't listen to the media! You children don't want money and all the trimmings...your children want real love. They want time with you. Spouses...forget the extra hours at work so you can buy something new...instead begin giving of yourself.

Real love is being there. Real love is giving. Real love is sacrificial.

"A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you." John 13:34

How did He love?

"For God so loved the world that he GAVE his only son." John 3:16

God loves you,

Debbie

1 comment:

Michael May said...

Well, Debbie, this is one I really needed to think about long and hard. Real love is always a two way street, it has to be or someone will get hurt...bad. I struggle every day to try and "out-love" my wife, but past wounds remind me of how my Love was once taken advantage of and used against me. I have no doubt in my mind that I now have a great wife and that I am safe in her love for me, but as anyone who has been seriously wounded knows, that pain never quite goes away and gets in the way constantly.
I challange anyone who reads this to keep in mind the people who love you. Whether it be a parent/child relationship, brother sister, friend/friend, or husband/wife, love them completely despite their faults and annoyances and never, ever take advantage of their love for you.