PC Alisha Mullett
Love is defined as many things. Physical attraction between two people. Two hearts connected. Mutual commitment, regardless of life’s challenges. But I’m learning that love is more than that…much more.
Before I go into more depth, let’s reflect a bit…
Why are men most commonly classified as either male chauvinists or else passive pushovers? Doesn’t this seem like a no-win situation? After all, how would we as women feel if we are viewed as either domineering or “door mats”?
As a husband or wife, each of us have needs and desires. Some of us may not be as mindful of what our needs are, yet they are still undeniable. And if we’re married, we’ll find our spouse to be a needy person. Each of us are.
I think we need to realize that men who are controlling and demanding have needs just as passive men do. And women who are unassuming “door mats” are likely as needy as their domineering counterparts.
My husband and I have been married for 27 years. We’ve had a good marriage, yet we continue to learn how to love each other more deeply. Our love continues to grow, and along with it comes the realization that we haven’t always known how to love as we should.
For instance, my husband is a selfless person with the gift of mercy and serving. And I love this about him! But when my sweetheart gets too busy serving others, I can have the tendency to feel rejected and unneeded.
My husband has the need for approval, encouragement, and respect. While I have the need for attention and security. When I’m fearful our schedule will be too busy, I have the tendency of becoming negative rather than encouraging and supporting him. This in return enables the cycle to continue as he is looking for approval and encouragement.
You may not be able to identify with this particular cycle, but I’m sure you and your spouse have a cycle of your own. It’s important to identify your “cycle” and to understand what’s at the root of each of your reactions. (Both of you will have valid reasons why you respond the way you do.)
It may be helpful for a man to remember that a wife is usually a reflection of her husband. If her husband is passive or doesn’t put effort into pursuing her and making her feel special, it will affect her self worth and security. A wife’s tendency is to measure her value by the amount of effort her husband puts into her. If she doesn’t feel cherished and pursued, she will likely not be able to properly give what she doesn’t receive.
Men have insecurities just as women do. As women desperately need to be treasured, men need to be respected. They need to be desired by their wife. When they aren’t, they feel rejected as a man, provider, and husband. Men love their wives, but often feel inadequate in expressing or showing their love. We tend to forget that men are sensitive to feelings of humiliation or disrespect! A husband’s tendency is to respond in anger when he feels disrespected by his wife. Underneath this anger are feelings of hurt that need to be cared for.
Love is not about getting our own needs met. It’s not about finding the perfect mate who perfectly compliments myself. Love is not about getting what we think we deserve. It is easy to view love through the eyes of our own needs. In fact, today’s view on marriage is that if you’re not happy or having your needs met, then it’s better to leave. After all, no one deserves to be unhappy. Now I’m not condoning always staying in an abusive relationship, but too many broken marriages are the result of unhappiness and un-fulfillment alone.
I’m learning that love is much more than committing our lives to each other. Love is seeing each other in a non-judgmental way and understanding your spouse’s heart. I’m learning that love is being the first one to forgive. Love is not focusing on your own needs, but rather on your spouse’s. Love is the selfless act of willingly laying down your own needs, rights, and desires to better care for the heart of your spouse.
Ask yourself today if you truly love your spouse. Love for selfish gain is not love at all. It is manipulation and self love. Blissful marital love will never be experienced with a self love focus. Are you sacrificially giving for the good of your spouse? Your marriage will be radically changed when you truly learn how to love.
“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.” 1 Cor. 13: 4 & 5
~Cindy (For The Mullett Family)