Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness (c)2017 Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministry
For women anyway, (must come from that standpoint since I am one), the concept of a knight in shining armor coming to the rescue is either embraced or dismissed. Strong women on both sides share the universal need for unconditional love. If that includes wanting a partner to soften or remove emotional pain, so be it.
Men I suspect are hoping for a softer love, an adoring fan. Men with great hearts who would never take advantage, and instead seek equality in a love relationship, still need unconditional love. If that includes wanting a partner to offer comfort, so be it.
True love is not about sex, buying a house, having a family, great vacations, or making money. Some or all of these are hopeful outcomes of true love. Just as a car does not stop being a car even if it’s engine freezes, so true love exists beyond our expectations for it.
Men and women disappoint in relationships. That is not always out of meanness, yet we are human and naturally selfish. Extending kindness and sacrifices like time, energy, a listening ear, and learning to communicate love in the way a partner hears it best, takes an effort. Much of it pushes personal agendas aside.
Selfishness by its nature is tempted to force its own way. Good people can occasionally cross over to the “me, me, me” way of thinking. This is temporary and worked out through communication, repentance, and perhaps mental health care. There is a chasm of difference between disappointment when a relationship does not meet the needs of both people equally, and power and control.
Power and control are the opposite of self-sacrifice, no matter what a partner may claim. Manipulation (trying to force one’s personal agenda through deceit – half-truths, broken promises, or playing emotional games), is a form of power and control. Threat of the removal of love is a type of coercion.
Exerting force over another’s body, purposely twisting a partner’s words thus creating confusion, and causing a person to question the value of life or trust, is abuse. If one member of this duo has to set aside a sense of individuality so the other can feel good about himself or herself, this is abuse.
Hot or cold, tension and dread, fear and self-doubt – these are attributes of an abusive relationship. A predictable cycle begins with calm, tension, abusive behavior, the “I’m sorry”s, and then calm again. Over a period of hours, days, months, or years, this cycle is unending. One could draw it on a chart.
No one has to settle for abuse.
True love does not act like this. True love consists of valuing each other above disappointing moments and difficult circumstances. True love is described eloquently in the Bible as, “ Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NIV)
It goes on to add, “Love never fails.” Since humans disappoint from time to time, what can “never fails” possibly mean?
There is Someone who is capable of maintaining perfect true love and meeting our needs all the time. Perfect love emanates from a perfect being, a Spirit we call God. God’s very nature is love. It is impossible for him to lie. He offers mercy and justice. He promises to never leave.
Sacrificing His one and only procreated son for the sake of us mere mortals, proves His is true love. Taking us into His heart before we even chose to love Him, is confirmation His love is unconditional. His loving arms at times are almost a physical presence.
This is my Valentine’s Day wish for you. As Saint Paul once said, I pray that you will “grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge.”
In other words, come to know your Soulmate.
Today’s Helpful Word
“He restores my soul…”
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NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.
If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help is yours.
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