Love. Are You Doing it Right?

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We all have things we’re naturally good at. Some of us are natural athletes; some of us are naturally creative; others of us are naturally social, etc. And we all know that feeling we get when we do something that comes naturally to us. We don’t have to work at it. It’s easy—like we were born to do it.  

But what about love? Can you be a “natural” when it comes to love?  

Most of us think love is something we should be naturally good at. We think that when we meet the right person, we won’t have to work at it; it will just work. But a whole lot of statistics and a bunch of failed relationships should clearly communicate to us that most people aren’t naturally good at love—it isn’t natural. Infatuation is natural. Most married people thought love would come naturally once they met the right person. All married people found out it didn’t.

Love takes work. And if you want to know if you’re doing it right, here’s what to look for: 

Love is patient.

Another way to say this is that love isn’t pushy. If you’re in a relationship and your partner is always pushing you to go quicker, further, or faster, that isn’t love. Love always goes at the other person’s pace. If you want a relationship to go the distance, it’s going to need a well-exercised patience muscle.  

Love is kind.

It’s amazing how much kindness is in short supply in relationships. Maybe it’s because a lot of people equate kindness with weakness (and no one wants to be weak). But here’s the truth—unkindness is weakness. Unkindness is a clear indicator that you are too weak to control yourself. Unkindness means you aren’t strong enough to tame your tongue. It means you aren’t strong enough to check your ego. It means you aren’t strong enough to move toward your partner when you want to move away. Unkindness kills romance. 

Love is selfless.

Love puts the needs and interests of the other person above their own. Again, this doesn’t come naturally. What’s natural is selfishness. What’s natural is thinking this relationship is here to meet your needs. What’s natural is believing this person should help you get where you want to go. Relationships won’t survive selfishness. Do you want to know if someone is selfish? Just start giving. Move in their direction every chance you get. And if you find that after you give and give and give that they take and take and take, you should run and run and run.  

Love keeps no record of wrongs.

Have you been in a relationship with a record keeper? You know, the person who is always bringing up the past? The person who knows to the number how many times you’ve been late this month? Who still brings up your ex from ten years ago? Whose favorite words are “you always” and “you never”? So, what does love do? Love forgives and then pretends to forget. None of us can forget the past, but we can act as if we have forgotten. That is what love does. Are you with someone who enjoys bringing up your past? Do you enjoy bringing up your partner’s past? Stop it! Even if you’re right, it’s not worth it. Remember, you can be exactly right and end up exactly alone. No one wants to be with a relational record keeper.  

If being patient, kind, selfless, and forgiving in a relationship seems difficult to you, you are right. None of this comes naturally. But neither do great relationships. They take work. They take making intentional choices. They take love. I want you to be good at it. I don’t want you to make choices that will undermine your relational happiness. I want you to become the type of person that knows how to sustain romance. So start practicing, because if you want to do love right, you have no other choice.