Relationships: Does True Love Exist?
"A new command I [Jesus] give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”1
A Daily Encounter reader asks, “Does true love exist? I have had three broken relationships. Each one made big promises he never kept. I have tried healing myself by reading some inspirational articles, but nothing worked. I always ask God, ’Why has all this happened to me when I was true to them?’ Is there no one made for me to give me love? I feel my life is full of regrets. Please tell me what I need to do to heal myself?”
The number one issue Encounter readers write to me about is poor relationships. Loving relationships—for which we were created—are vital for healthy and meaningful living. Without such relationships we limp along in the shadows of life eking out a lonely, empty and hollow existence—and very likely will die before our time.
True love does exist but it is a fruit of personal growth, maturity and wholeness—emotional and spiritual—for only to the degree that we are made whole will our attitudes, our behavior, our actions, and our relationships be wholesome.
Speaking personally, I had a lot of emotional issues from my childhood that I needed to acknowledge and resolve before I found the love of my life. That took a deep commitment not only to God, seeking His help, but also for getting the counseling help I needed to overcome my personal issues and deficiencies.
Unfortunately, some Christians are expecting God to bring the "right" person into their life. It doesn't work this way. If we want to be attracted to the "right" partner, we need to be the "right" partner. Only healthy people are attracted to healthy people. Actually, if we are truly honest with ourselves, we can learn a lot about ourselves by looking at our significant other relationships as we are basically as healthy or as sick as the people we are attracted to.
In earlier years why was I attracted to ladies who were afraid to love? It was because I was unconsciously afraid to love. This was because I had felt unloved as a child and was subconsciously afraid of being hurt again. To overcome my fear I needed to acknowledge it and get the counseling help I needed to overcome. Was it easy? No, at times it was extremely difficult but I knew that unless I overcame my fear of love, I would be running from love for the rest of my life. I acknowledged my need when my pain was greater than my fear.
So, like the young lady who asked if true love existed, if you are struggling with poor or impaired relationships, start by asking God to confront you with the truth about you and what it is in you that is causing you to be attracted to bad relationships? Without confronting this truth, you may be floundering in painful relationships for the rest of your life. As Jesus also pointed out, only the truth sets people free.
Then ask God to lead you to the help you need to guide you through the healing and recovery process. Unfortunately, in many parts of the world it can be difficult to find qualified counseling help. However, there is some free online lay counseling that can be helpful. For counseling resources see http://www.actsweb.org/counseling_resources.php.
Suggested prayer: “Dear God, please help me to see that my poor relationships are Your wakeup call to awaken me to the fact that there are unresolved relational issues in my life. Please help me to see what these issues are and help me to find the help I need for healing and recovery. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus’s name, amen.”
1. John 13:34 (NIV).