Earlier today I was looking over the various topics we’ve been discussing here. We’ve talked a lot about how to choose love and how to express love – from the way we act, to the way we argue, and finally to the way we forgive. While these are all important things, it occurred to me that something was missing. Love, after all, is a two-way street. Knowing how to ‘give love’ is essential, but so is learning how to ‘accept’ love.
Start With You
It’s difficult to feel valued and loved when we don’t think we deserve it. In fact, it’s nearly impossible to trust someone else’s choice to love us when we’re having difficulty making the same decision. Work on being kind to yourself. You are worthy of being someone’s choice.
Stop waiting for the other shoe to drop. Don’t look for the ulterior motive. If you have chosen love, then also choose to let go of fear. Trust in your spouse’s decision to love you.
Receive the Compliments
Do you tend to downplay a compliment? Before the next “Oh, really, it was no big deal” escapes your lips, stop. Learn to smile and simply say, “Thank you.” Too often we confuse pride with boasting. Stop. It’s ok to accept genuine praise with a genuine thank you, and nothing more.
Don’t Wait for Big Overtures
Recognize small acts of love. The great love stories of literature, film, even music, are littered with grandiose gestures of love. Sometimes we get so caught up looking for the big sign in our own lives that we miss the more amazing, simple sentiments that pepper our every day. Did your spouse reflexively turn up the radio when your favorite song came on? That’s a gesture of love. Embrace it.
Look to the Father
Max Lucado once wrote, “Begin by accepting your place as a dearly loved child. ‘Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us’ (Eph. 5:1-2 NIV, emphasis mine).”
Just think about that. We are capable of giving love to others and of receiving love from them because God first loved us. How amazing is that?
Challenge: Work this week on choosing to be kind and loving to yourself. Open yourself to being loved without condition as God loves us.