THE SECRET OF BUILDING A
LOVE THAT FLOURISHES
Relationships are complex. Especially the deeper you are into a personal relationship. What is the magic formula or secret to creating thriving loving relationships?
In order to answer this question, we must first ask a different question.
What is the purpose of a relationship between a man and a woman?
If you do not know the purpose of a relationship, how can you know if you are achieving its original purpose? Many might say, “The purpose of a relationship is to make me happy,” and although there is truth in this statement, this answer is not complete. Thus, we must first discover the purpose of a relationship.
To answer this question, we must go back to the very first human relationship and examine the context. That relationship was between Adam and Eve.
In Genesis 2:18 it says this, “The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’”
In this short verse, we see God’s original intention for creating Eve. Adam was alone and it simply was not good. In other words, Adam needed companionship, thus God created Eve. Then we see God's second intention for creating Eve: “I will make a helper suitable for him.” Plain and simple, Adam also needed a helper.
Thus, God ordained relationships: male and female. Adam and Eve’s relationship was designed to remove the feeling of loneliness, by providing companionship, and then to meet each other's spiritual, emotional, physical, and sexual needs: a helper. An entire book could be written about the spiritual, emotional, physical, and sexual needs of your partner, but for the sake of time, recognize this: God designed you to meet the needs of your partner or future partner.
Also note that the scripture says God provided Adam with a helper. In other words, Eves primary role was to help Adam, not the other way around. When women understand this and get behind and support their men, their relationship takes on a whole new dimension. The man feels loved and not undermined or manipulated, and then he does everything he can to show his love and appreciation for his woman.
Now that we have discovered the purpose of a husband and wife relationship, next we should ask:
2. What major character flaw causes relationships to struggle and eventually fall apart?
Obviously, there can be a variety of factors that bring about the 'death' of a relationship, but let’s get to the core of one of the most divisive habits, that over time, can undermine any relationship.
One of the biggest key factors that slowly undermines a relationship is when one or both partners attempt to control or manipulate the other partner.
In order to fully understand this statement, we must define both control and manipulation.
Control is when a person asserts their will upon another person typically through force, threats, or some other means of fear. Control is ultimately an abuse of authority or power.
Unlike control, manipulation is much more subtle. Manipulation typically involves subtle hints of disapproval. Manipulation occurs when a person uses digging, cutting, or sharp words or some other type of behavior to manipulate and change the behavior of another person. Manipulation is also a form of fear and a means of control.
Both control and manipulation can over time, create resentment, deep frustration, and anger in the person being controlled and manipulated. Because both tactics are rooted in fear and not love, they cause division in relationships.
A person who resorts to control or manipulation is afraid to be honest about how they feel in a given situation and thus they either overtly or subtly attempt to manipulate the other person to change. Again, control and manipulation are ultimately rooted in fear, and a lack of genuine acceptance and love for their partner.
A typical example of a manipulative person is when they focus on something they don’t like about your personality, lifestyle, weight, health habits, financial habits, etc., and they subtly pick on those faults in hopes to cause you enough pain to change. This tactic IS NOT love but fear because it’s a form of manipulation.
Oftentimes people who are being manipulated develop deep resentments or even open rebellion toward their manipulator(s) and are uncertain why. Ultimately, their heart is crying out against the disapproval and manipulative tactics and searching for someone who will simply love and accept them for who they are, faults and all.
Let’s take this one level deeper.
A person who regularly resorts to control or manipulation is driven by a selfish mindset. They think to themselves, "You are here to meet my wants, needs, and desires,” thus they manipulate or control others to get what they want. This type of person is deeply flawed and is selfishly motivated and in fact what I call a ‘taker’ in another blog post titled, “Relationships: Takers and Givers.”
On the opposite spectrum is the ‘giver.’ This person thinks, “I am here to meet your wants, needs, and desires and to help you get what you want.” This mindset is obviously rare and completely unselfish. Ultimately, this is what love looks like.
These two mindsets are diametrically opposed and cannot be reconciled.
When you understand the difference between these two mindsets, you can begin to tell who is selfishly motivated and who is love motivated because of how they treat other people. Takers control and manipulate. Lovers accept, approve, and give.
Now that we have discovered the original purpose of relationships and how control and manipulation causes them to fall apart, next we want to ask this question:
3. What elements or ingredients cause a personal relationship to grow in love and thrive?
Before we answer this question, let's define geniune love. Love is total acceptance and affirmation of your partner including all their faults. Genuine love demonstrates itself by focusing primarily upon the positive qualities your partner has by words of affirmation and appreciation, hugs, or whatever method best meets your partners love languages. Thus, it is critical that you understand your partners love languages so that you best know how they feel loved and what communicates love.
Instead of outright control or subtle hints of manipulative disapproval, the person who loves focuses on the positive qualities of the other person and praises those qualities. Love comes across as supporting the other person and their dreams. Love does not force its will or opinion upon another. Love attempts to listen to the heart of their partner and offers encouragement and support to reach for their dreams and goals. Love gives sacrificially of itself to help their partner succeed.
This loving affirmation and acceptance then empowers the other to want to gain more approval from the partner and thus they internally want to change any negative behaviors. Does the partner always change? No, they don’t. But it’s far better to love someone than to manipulate them.
Love is a powerful force. When you genuinely love someone, they can feel it. They might not even be able to express it in words, but it is like a magnet and steel. Love draws closer. Control and manipulation separate. Love empowers and internally motivates. Control and manipulation lead to resentment. Ultimately, everyone desires to be loved.
So, the next time you are having a struggle in your relationships ask yourself this question:
Am I attempting to control or manipulate my partner or am I genuinely loving them?
Hopefully, you learn to genuinely love and accept your partner’s faults and all. Because if you do, your love will empower and internally motivate them grow and change. Your love will magnetize them closer to your heart. If you learn to love like this, your relationship will ultimately be divine as genuine love is the only way healthy relationships grow and flourish.