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Marriage and Family

A Loving Love

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03/01/2011 - In the last article, I talked about this disease of selfishness that is running rampant in our community. In order to minimize the damage caused by this disease, we must all take it upon ourselves to be people of integrity. The problem is, integrity can be a difficult concept to define; but beyond the definition, it is even more difficult to enact. The first concept of integrity I will talk about is love. Yes, it is another concept which is incredibly difficult to define and enact.

If you were to go to a library and find all the books you can on love, you would build a rather large pile. Besides the fictional novels, you can find books on loving yourself, loving others, loving enemies, loving kids and probably even on loving pets. You may also find books that argue that love is a feeling, love is an action or maybe even that love is a just a concept for the greater human good. For my purpose, I want to talk about putting love in action.

Acting loving when you feel "in love" and when things are going well is not actually love in action. What you are doing is reacting out of pleasant circumstances and emotion. While it is important to show love during those pleasant moments, it is more important when in conflict. Many people may agree that the true character of a person is tested and revealed during tribulation. A person's love toward another is also tested during times of adversity.

When in an argument or disagreement, make it a point to speak gently and compassionately to the other person. Do not name call or allow yourself to accuse. Find the little things that are important to someone else and, even though it may not make sense to you, give them those little things. Learn to speak honestly and firmly but with gentleness and care. Encourage one another and build one another up. Do this when the other person does not "deserve" it. If you fall into the attitude of "if they did this for me, then I would give it back" then the disease of selfishness has a firmer grasp on you than you may think.

My question is, "How would relationships look if we could put aside the thought that we need to feel love for each other, and rather choose to exhibit love whether it is warranted or not?" The quick answer to this question…it would look different. In order to do this though, we have to put aside what we think our needs are. Most of the time, being loving is going to have to take place when we feel the other person does not deserve it. If you are at odds with another person, and you put this into practice, you may never have to come to an agreement. This concept, in most situations, can be the beginning of a relationship's positive turnaround.

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