Biblical and Practical Thoughts on Parenting, Part 21: Yardsticks for Love

As we continue this series, I wanted to share more wisdom from Howard Hendricks, adapted from “Yardsticks for Love.”

1)  True love involves a responsiveness to the “total self” of the one loved.  You do not fall in love with a body.  You fall in love with a person.  Indeed it is better stated:  “You grow in love with a person.”  In a proper love relationship you enrich the totality of the other person’s life.

2)  In true love there is not only a feeling of pleasure but also of reverence.  Do you ever look at your wife or your husband and think, God gave her to me?  God hand-tooled him for me?

3)  True love has a quality of self-giving.  God so loved the world that He GAVE.  Many people are in love only with themselves.  The smallest package in all the world is the person who is all wrapped up with himself.  But in true love, a person thinks more of the happiness of others than he does of himself.

4)  Love embraces a willingness to take responsibility as well as to accept joy.  A person constantly asks himself, not what he can get out of a relationship, but what he can give to it.  For example, marriage is not just a matter of finding the right partner – It’s a question of being the right person.

5)  True love is marked by unusual joy while in the company of the other and pain in separation.  Magnetism and companionship develops in love.

6)  There is a mutual enjoyment of each other without constant need of physical expression.  It is joy simply to be in the presence of the one you love.  Many of you know the great satisfaction there is just being in the same room with that special one.

7)  True love has a protective attitude.  You desire to shield the one you love from any harm, from any injury, from any damage, from anything that will in any way be detrimental.    Food for thought:  One of the most lethal weapons in a relationship is the little chipping at one another with sarcastic barbs.  This is especially hurtful when done in front of others.  You develop a person only by magnifying his strengths, never his weaknesses.  Take pride in each other.

8)  In true love there is a feeling of belongingness.  The person in love always thinks of himself in relationship to the other person, and it’s a beautiful way to live.  What is he doing?  What is she doing?  What is he thinking?  What is she feeling?

9)  True love has a feeling that you understand each other unusually well.  You feel the same way about important things because there is a fusing of minds.  When a couple’s communication system is developed, each learns how the other thinks.

10)    Love matures.  It is dynamic in its growth.  Real love, centered in Christ, takes on the characteristics of Christ.  It begins to resemble the love Paul described in 1 Corinthians 13.

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