Love in Love

Everybody wants to be loved. But what does that really mean? The terms, “I love you”, and “I’m in love with you”, are overused, underused and often misunderstood. 

Some people tend to link love with romantic relationships. This is a big shortcoming for love. Love is so much bigger and greater than just romance. When used in a relational context people say I love you. In the initial stages of romantic relationships people will say “I’m so in love with you”. Let’s break down these terms.

By definition

*Love*

 (Merriam-Webster) 

-A strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties. Attraction based on sexual desire. Affection and tenderness felt by lovers. Devotion. A beloved person. Unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another. 

(Bible 1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

– 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.
Then the scripture goes further to say,

John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 

Self-sacrifice is the ultimate form of love. Loving somebody else more than you love yourself. 
The dictionary definition, focuses on mainly physical aspects. Anything physical will eventually perish. The biblical definition focuses on actions, emotions, feelings, and focuses on the betterment of another without the intent of personal gain. Weber, when done correctly the personal gain is so great and so fulfilling because you have learned how to love and you will have fulfillment. The biblical definition of love is a difficult type of love, but I believe it’s the only solid type of love. It is unconditional. That is the love that people truly desire. To be loved unconditionally. Persevere through hard times and not to fade away. 
People tend to say, “you said I love you too soon”. I don’t think there is ever a “too soon”. I believe that love is a choice. You choose to unconditionally love somebody. There is no timeframe for when you can choose to do so. I favor the biblical definition of love. If you meet those qualifications there is no timeline. It’s good, healthy and admirable to love somebody. And it’s selfish for you not to tell them. It’s amazing what changes in a relationship, romantic or personal, when one truly feels loved and when one truly feels that they are accomplishing the art of being loving. 
Clarification needs to happen. Love is too often tied to romance. When in fact love is a lifestyle you should be striving to walk in. 

When people say, “I’m in love with you”, that is VERY different than saying, “I love you.” To be in love, is to be infatuated with somebody and to be pursuing them. Everything around you fades and you focus all your energy on one person. People tend to say that people are crazy for saying they are falling in love. They say “it’s too soon to tell” and that “it’s just a feeling.” Well, the feeling of falling in love in this sense is a feeling. It’s a good feeling at that. You like the way that you feel with this person. It feels good to be wanted and pursued and to have somebody who desires to please you. Those are all beautiful things. You like their physical affection towards you and you are falling for them. Keep in mind…. these are physical things. It’s part of it but it’s not the whole picture. It’s not complete until it is proven and sustains. That doesn’t mean that the process of falling in love is not happening. This means that you were letting down your walls and you were letting somebody into your heart. This doesn’t mean that it’s perfect love, it just means that it feels good and you’re falling into the process of love. With romance it begins there. Those feelings can come at any time. They are just feelings and not actions. So you can’t say you truly love the person. However, falling in love is a process towards achieving romantic love with a person. If somebody tells you that it’s too soon to say I love you, they’re probably bitter and have brokenness in their own heart to deal with. We are all bitter at some point. Bitterness is not healthy. That is not loving. It is wrong. Love is a healthy thing. It should never be scorned or blown off. Even if the definition is not met, when somebody moves to say I love you, they have a deep feeling towards an individual that needs to be expressed. 

There is never a right time to say I love you or to fall in love. But rather there’s a right way to love and to fall in love. You dont want to fall in lust. Physical attraction is the first thing that draws us to most people. It’s easy to lust and we end up getting to know them physically/sexually before we even know them mentally, spiritually, or personally. Once we cave to the sexual aspect, the other elements are missed and a solid foundation was never placed. If you build your house on a solid foundation it will last through a storm. If there’s no solid foundation and you build your house in the sand, it will fall away in the storm.  
Anytime you have sex with somebody, you are giving them the deepest most intimate part of yourself. That is why it’s so difficult to let go of somebody you have been intimate with. Sex has become an addiction. It has become an action. People have devalued sex by having random hook ups and friends with benefits. Sex is a beautiful thing it was designed by God to be so. There is a reason that relationships fail and hearts are broken. It’s because it was not built on a solid foundation. Sex is great, it’s fun, but in and of itself is not fulfilling. When you have somebody that you are in love with and that you can honestly say, “I love you”, to, the intimacy and passion and sex is greatly increased and you can feel the difference. It’s not the same feeling that you get with a random hook up or casual sex partner. It’s just not. It may feel good physically, but you will be emotionally, mentally, and spiritually hurting and not understand why you can’t heal and move foreword. If you’re trying to get healthy, you can’t keep living in unhealthy ways. Until you are ready to make life changes, you will never truly heal and you’ll never be healthy. The inner satisfaction and true joy of finding the right form of love and finally being fullfilled radiates from an individual and everyone around consider friends. You feel different, you look different, and you live different. Life without love is a life lost. You don’t have to feel lost. Learn to live in love and begin the journey to truly understand what it means to love. When you find it, you will know. True love never fails. 

Just say, “NO”. 

How many times have you taken a day off and said, “today is my day”. And then you pick up your phone…. And the day is no longer yours. In order to have time to give away, you need to make time to get away. 
We live in a world of busyness. REST is just missing a few letters to read as STRESSED. We add too much to rest and then it becomes stress. Stress is DEADLY. Many evidenced based studies show the negative impact of stress on our life. Rest is the easiest cure yet we never get enough. 

We need rest. Sometimes when we get away from everything we take a vacation and we take our friends with us. This is not getting away from everything. This is taking your life with you and you are not truly getting away from it all. There is a difference between traveling and vacation. 

So many times, we find our identity in our work. This is not who we are. The problem is that we feel as though people need us. That’s just it. People don’t need us. Everyone is replaceable. That’s life. We can give more of ourselves when we are fulfilled and recharged as opposed to just being and constantly draining ourselves. How can you be inspiring and of use to somebody if you are no different and no more passionate than before, because you never stepped away to learn more and get rid of the old and allow yourself to receive the new. 
On the 7th day of creation, God rested. How in the world do we think that we don’t need what God wanted. We need rest. Sometimes we need to simply learn to just say, “no”. …. And when you say, “no”….. Be okay with it. Otherwise the stress from your regret or saying “no” will eat you alive and ruin your rest. Set boundaries in your life. 
We live in a world that doesn’t stop. We work so much and push ourselves so hard that we are literally killing ourselves. 

You don’t have to have the answer for everyone, everytime, everywhere. Take time for YOU. 

The Polish Woman-DONT JUDGE

Today I went to the hospital to drop off a prescription and when I was in the parking garage trying to park I had quite an interesting experience… There was an SUV that kept backing in and out of a space trying to get out. There was at least 10 cars behind me waiting to get past this car. Finally when the driver pulled in one more time before she reversed the three cars in front of me zoomed past and I followed around we were all frustrated. I looked back at the car and it was an old lady in there.. The remaining cars that were waiting continue to zoom past behind me. I parked one floor up and I had a feeling that something wasn’t right. I walked down to the next level in the parking garage and went up to the car door of the lady that was again trying to reverse out of a space. I went to her driver side window and asked her if she was in need of help. She said, “yes I am”. I said how about you get into the passenger seat and I drive your car out of here for you. She immediately got out and went around to the passenger side no questions asked. As I drove down a couple of the ramps I talked to her to try to figure out what was going on she said that she had eyes surgery today and it was supposed to wait but she had to get back home right away so she left the office early. Her family was too busy to drive her to her eye surgery today. I told her that it was not a good idea for her to leave right now and that she should wait. I sat in the car with her for 20 minutes while she told me stories of her coming to this country with only five dollars in her pocket. It didn’t look like her eye condition was getting better enough to drive so I parked her car in a different spot and brought her inside with me to fill my prescription. While we waited for my prescription to get filled and we had lunch and continued to chat. She was the sweetest 80-year-old lady I have met. Of course I am biased towards Polish people but she had a lot of wisdom to share and she had quite an interesting story. Once her vision came back to normal I walked her back to her car and made sure that she got out of the parking garage okay. She thanked me and told me that God sent an angel to help her today and that she was very grateful. I learned a lesson in humility today. I was so frustrated and angry at this person who could not back out of the space and was holding everybody up while in the meantime it was somebody who was struggling and needed help. I need to exercise Grace more frequently in life as much as has been given to me over the years. We are in such a hurry so many times that it’s hard to see what’s really going on around us.

Friends vs. Acquaintances

A bomb just went off and all the banks have been destroyed. Money is no longer an element in society. Anarchy is taking over. It is now, every man for himself. Homes are being broken into and innocent people are getting murdered. Supplies are limited. Who are the people in your “circle” that you would stand next to in that scenario? Who would have your back and share their supplies with you until your time ran out? Who would you want to spend the last week of your life with if you knew there was an impending air raid? Who are your “friends”? Who can you trust? Who do you invest your time in, and why?

There is a difference between friends and acquaintances ( people you have met along the way) people who invest in you and build you up as a person are friends. People who you say “hi” to at social functions and have as a Facebook friend don’t necessarily count. Who is investing in you as a person and your future. Who can you go to when your car breaks down at 3 am…who do you value as a person? Who will bail you out of jail when you get a DUI and wont tell anybody else about it and wont treat you differently? These are things I think about when I decide who I am going to put time and effort into.

We put so much time, emotion and emphasis on the relationships we have in life. That is good- community is key to survival. In life, one of the biggest hurts we face is the loss of a person close to us. We lose people daily in many ways. Some die and some move away whereas some are romantic relationships that ended and others are friendships that grew apart. Either way- it is a loss. It is important to validate that each loss causes pain. With every goodbye, you learn.

The key point is that each person you come across in life is for a purpose. Sometimes that purpose is to get us through a hard time in life when we didn’t think we had anybody. A person will come out of nowhere to be “your person” through that trial. In time, that person may fade out of your life yet sometimes they stay. Sometimes we enter into romantic relationships that don’t last. We have to go into relationships knowing that each relationship you enter into will either end in a breakup, or you will end up together. That is part of the process. Each person that you meet may not be the one you end up with- however, they were there for a purpose. Yet each breakup we face we are devastated- why?

When romantic relationships end, we tend to get lost in aloneness and lose self worth thinking that we will be single forever because we lost the one that we wanted to be with. If you ended the relationship then you made the right choice- it wouldn’t have been an option in your mind if it wasn’t the right decision. If that person left you it is important to remember that there is no use wasting your emotions on somebody that LEFT YOU. What you do with yourself and your future no longer includes them. It is hard to face that but it is true. You WILL miss them. That is also part of the process, but remember that you weren’t the one who gave up. When the relationship is right, that person wont just walk away. If it is TRUE LOVE then they will love you unconditionally and work through ANYTHING. When you experience a broken heart think of it as a blessing from God. It is your reminder that He saved you from the wrong one. You dodged a bullet, so to speak. Nonetheless, it will still be painful and it takes time to make peace with that.

When your friend circle dissipates and you start to feel alone, it is natural to feel lonely. Your best friends may enter relationships and start investing their time in a significant other rather than you. That is hard to accept and it is easy to resent their new love. However, if the roles were reversed you would do the same. It is a natural part of the process. Some of your friends may get married and start having kids. It is fun to see the baby here and there, but eventually you realize that you as a single person don’t fit in with the married people and their babies. You just don’t. Not yet. That is hard to accept as well. The key here is to accept that as normal. It’s the cycle of life. Singleness is NOT a bad thing. It is fun and exciting and it is typically only for a time period. Don’t waste that season of singleness in misery worried about who is the right one. If you don’t remove yourself from that previous scenario of your previous friend circle and create a new one then you will get depressed. We all do.

We have to realize that our community of friends is ever-changing. People will come and go from our lives at different points in time. We need to be open to making new friends and entering into new circles in order to avoid getting lost in aloneness. Holding on to the past of how things “used to be” is delusional thinking. Move forwards not backwards. Things will NEVER be the same…that doesn’t mean that is bad- It will just look different. People will be in your life for a specific reason….or they may just be there to help you through a season….and sometimes, JUST sometimes, people stay in your life until the end. Those people are rare and those relationships should be cherished. It is important to note that a relationship takes two people. That means each party needs to invest time and effort into it.

If you come to a point where you are investing a lot of effort into people and you are not getting the same return as you used to, that may be the point where you have to stop and realize it may be time to let go and move on. You only have two hands. Holding on to two hands that don’t want to hold yours back will take up your energy and your hands. Free yourself up for people who WANT to put the effort back into you. Stop crossing oceans for people who wont jump puddles for you. Life is short. Spend your time wisely with those who want to spend it with you. Don’t force relationships. You will be fine….just fine…..

Love or Lust

Hollywood paints the wrong picture of the love story. It shows people who meet and fall in love. It gives us an unrealistic expectation of what love and relationships are like. The difficult issues in life that affect relationships on a daily basis are not presented in the films. The love is covered in Lust and it is based on a physical attraction. Love endures, lust does not. There are many issues in relationships such as: Whether or not they want children, how the finances will work, where the kids will go to school, religion, purpose and direction in life, and moral standards. These are issues that are not touched on that make or break the relationship. The Hollywood picture of the perfect relationship of falling in love and everything just “working out”, leads to the increased divorce rate. Just because you love somebody does not mean the relationship will work out. Many people forget that. Relationships are tough! The word “relationship”, scares a lot of people.

Regardless of how hard people try to fight being in a relationship, ultimately everybody has the fear of being alone. Many people date around and are “seeing” a lot of people at once. They are afraid to enter into a relationship because they’re afraid of making a mistake. The painful truth with that is, any relationship you enter into either ends in a happily ever after, that may include a marriage, or it will end in a divorce or a break up. That’s all there is to it. The relationship will come to a crucial point where you need to decide to end it or move forward in the relationship. Acknowledging this at the beginning, will lessen the hurt when it has to end. Dating is a risk, but it is an informed risk. In the situation where somebody is dating around with many people at once, a lot of people get hurt. If the person is not forthcoming about what their intention is with each of these people, that leads to heart break. The fact is, if you don’t give a relationship a try, you don’t know whether or not you could be happy with just one of the prospects.

Let’s be clear: dating is exhausting. It’s hard to sit down and tell your story to one person on Monday and repeat it on Tuesday and again on Thursday and Friday. It’s physically exhausting to date. When you are monogamistic and you pick one person to spend your time with and to invest in, you have more time to find out who that person is and whether it can go somewhere. If you spread yourself thin amongst many people at once you will get nowhere with any of them because you can’t possibly give yourself out to that many people and have any return on your investments. Granted, if you are seeing one person at a time and you realize that there are nonnegotiable’s that you guys cannot work out, then it only makes sense to end the relationship before you go further. That is a step that most people miss. They continue in a relationship even though they know that at some point it will fail. Again, this comes from the fear of being alone. Most people do not have enough self-worth to know that they will be just fine after the break up. Anybody who has gone through a break up and has found love afterwords has realized that there is hope. This is just hard for people to grasp at the time. We have all been there. Regardless, you won’t know whether or not the relationship can work past the obstacles unless you try. If there are two or more things that you want to change about a person then that is probably not the right person for you.

People can change, yes. Statistically speaking, people don’t change for the better. You can at least give it a try, but again, it is an informed risk. A lot of times what is stopping these people who date around with a bunch of people and deny themselves a relationship status, is the fear of being “taken off the market”. They are afraid to be exclusive with one person because they fear losing out on a bigger, better option. The issue with that is, if you’re afraid of losing out on a bigger, better option then you shouldn’t be in a relationship right now. You are just destined to break a lot of hearts. Yes, you are looking out for your own happiness, but that is at the expense of others. That is when ethics and morals come in to play. You can do what is right for you as long as you don’t hurt anybody else. When you are dating like this, your motives are wrong. Looking for a bigger better option shows internal motives that you don’t want exposed on the outside. Unfortunately, this is very common in today’s dating world.

You need to know what you are looking for and don’t settle for less. That doesn’t mean to be opposed to settling down. Know your non-negotiables. BUT – When you’re ready to settle down, make sure that you are not settling.

Couchsurfing

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This past weekend was my first experience with couchsurfing. I was hesitant at first, but I LOVED it. I had such a great time! For those of you who don’t know what this is: couchsurfing is where people from all over the world who like to travel will open up their homes to travelers to stay with them and in return when those people travel to new destinations they will look up who is hosting in the city that they are traveling to and then stay with them. Through this process you gain references for your future travels…. But the best part is… You meet people from all over the world and lean about different cultures. You are able to make friends from everywhere.

This 1st experience of mine I researched the person that I stayed with in Chicago and he had a lot of references. I took a girlfriend with me so that I wasn’t alone. I played it safe!! The host we stayed with then told me that there would be a guy from Australia, a guy from Rwanda and two people from Indianapolis!!! That made me even more excited to stay there and meet people. I know that this is off the wall concept, but this is a great way to connect and meet people. It is a great community and they are all like minded individuals.

Europe- I plan to use this concept when I go backpacking through Europe in July- August. So this was a great start and I’m looking forward to more experiences such as this!!

Sex: The Market Value

If you’re having trouble getting into a relationship with somebody where you want to get to know them first before you have sex you may find that this is hard to do. Relationships and dating are more complex these days than ever before. Values are being lost in translation. Emotional barriers have been put up that makes sex seem like an everyday task that has less meaning. Boundaries have been dropped because they’re not taking into consideration by the partner anymore. Women feel in many cases as though they need to have sex in order to keep somebody. That is quite the wrong way to start off a relationship. Anybody who’s been through several different relationships can trace back the reason. Most times it comes back to the fact that you had sex too early in the relationship. Once you enter that physical portion of the relationship is hard to go back to square one and start the basics. There are now expectations. There is a reason for this. Sex has gotten cheaper. It can be traced back to simple economics just like anything else. Marriage rates in the United States has hit a low. The revenue of the online dating industry is at an all-time high which is $1.049 billion. Romantic relationships are becoming more complex to navigate these days. Less couples are moving their relationship towards marriage. Marriage is getting delayed.

Sex can be looked at as an exchange each person involved is getting something from the other person. At face value, it may appear that they are giving each other the same thing; Intimate access to each other’s bodies. But there is more going on than meets the eye. Men and women both appreciate sex. Studies have indicated that men and women experience sex differently though. On average men have a higher sex drive and women do. It may be linked to testosterone or whatever other factor thrown out for the reasoning for this, but men are more sexually permissive than women,they instigate sex more than women and they connect sex to romance less often than women do. That’s just the way it is. That doesn’t mean that’s the way it supposed to be. Women tend to have sex for reasons beyond pleasure. Women’s motivations for sex tend to be, expressing love and receiving love strengthening there commitment affirming their desirability and relationship security. So when the exchange happens and men want sex more often than women do women use sex as a resource and the women decide when it happens. So when the women have the reigns in the relationship it comes down to pricing.

Women have something of value that men want badly. Something that men are willing to sacrifice for. So how much does Sex cost for men? It may not cost them anything more than a couple drinks and a coffee or a nice date with respectful attention or all the way up to a commitment with shiny diamond ring, meaning they will be together exclusively. But the prices vary widely between relationships. In some cases women give it away for nearly free and others it’s a high demand such as the engagement ring. So if women have the rains and have so much power why don’t women charge more? The answer is because it’s not entirely up to women. The market value of sex is part of the whole social market exchange system in society as a whole. From an economy standpoint, if you will, where men and women learn from each other. Women learn from magazines,media and friends what is “supposed” to be expected as an exchange for sex. So that brings sex away from being a private matter between two consenting adults. It is more of a basic supply and demand. When supplies high the prices drop. Since people won’t pay more for something that’s easy to find. But if it’s harder to find then the price goes up. In our current society, men know that sex is cheap these days. As long as they know where to look. We got to where the market of sex has dropped so drastically because of technological shocks that have altered the market. Inventions such as the birth control pill have allowed men and women to have sex without the fear of an economical setback such as a child. This lowered the cost of sex. Before contraception sex in a relationship took place as individuals were trying to find a mate. Someone to marry. Sex didn’t mean marriage, but a serious commitment was a common requirement and it was geared towards marriage. Since the olden days all the way till now, dabbling in sexual relationships means the possibility of having babies. The original purpose of the birth control pill was to prevent pregnancy. The data now reveals an unexpected side effect; it throws the mating/marriage market into disarray. Having sex and thinking about marriage have become two separate entities.

There is now a split in the market. One side of the spectrum are largely pursuing marriage while the other half is pursuing sex without the risk of having babies and not creating a family. There are more men looking for sex then marriage and there are more women looking for marriage rather than just sex. Language of online dating reinforces the reality of the split market. Men tend to write that they’re looking for fun while women right that they’re looking for marriage. They look for only serious inquiries and no games. This dating market causes a big problem for women. They certainly call the shots when it comes to short term sexual relationships, because they have as many men in their courts as they want to be because the men are always looking for an easy sexual relationship more commonly than they are a marriage. This allows women to be more selective in the short term relationship scene. But the reverse is true when they want to settle down. The options are not as endless. We tend to hear about man’s lack of commitment but the blunt reality is purely economic. Women massively outnumber men in the marriage market which means men can be picky about which woman they want and they can insist on sexual relationships before the commitment. Men are in a position to maximize their reward. And they can invest fewer resources. Why do men do this? Because they can! This agreement and unspoken pact from the past of a higher market value of sex has vanished. In this new world where having sex no longer means babies and marriage becomes optional. Women no longer have each others backs and now they’re each other’s competition. When women compete for men they tend to do so by appealing to what men want. Which means they give into sex sooner. And here’s what women have wrong about men. Men are not afraid of commitment at all. While women hold the keys when it comes to sex the deal is that men are in the driver seat in the marriage world. They can navigate it exactly how they want to. From marriage to fun to planning to fun to marriage to fun. Men’s virility doesn’t expire a certain age as women’s does. So what’s the rush for man? Talk about having the upper-hand! So it’s no surprise that now the average age of marriage in the United States is continuing to rise. The ages of people between the age of 25 and 35 getting married is continuing to drop. There are factors that contribute to each of the trends. Young men are failing to adapt to contemporary life. When attractive women will still go to bed with you, And give you sex for practically no commitment or effort.

Life for a man just isn’t that bad after all. Because men tend to behave as well or as poorly as the women in their lives permit them too. Economists have said that women working together on this task force would be the best way to bring the price and value of sex back up and to get control of this sexual imbalance. This would raise the market value of sex for everyone. But this is not seen among women today. Not yet. If women gathered together and demanded a higher market value for sex and relationships we would be seeing more impressive relationship status. There would be longer relationships, more commitment, and more longitudinal relationships. There would be fewer premarital partners. For a woman to know what she wants in a relationship and to let the man know clearly, this is her power and economy. But these things are not occurring. Because today the economics of sexual relationship clearly favor men And what they want even if what they are offering in the initial exchange has diminished. And it’s all thanks to supply and demand.

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