Why I’ve never been a fan of “The Five Love Languages”

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I’ve sat on the post for years now. Trying to figure out what it is exactly I don’t like about this book, what bothered me so much about the concept behind this idea. And if I could sum up my thoughts into one sentence it would be this:

I think it’s a cheat book that doesn’t actually allow you to experience the full intimacy of real love.

Now that’s a pretty bold statement for a book with the tagline “The secret to love that lasts.” I didn’t come to this conclusion lightly. I wanted to like the book, especially as a relationship blogger, especially as a Christian. I kept reading and reading and couldn’t help but feel something was missing, something was just off.

You can’t work your way to love. Actions are the result of love, not the other way around. Sure, you can choose to do nice things for someone but we can’t assume the root is always love.

Actions are a choice. Love is not.

As I read the book, I started to notice a common theme of doing all things mentioned with whoever I was dating at the time. I was excited to. I looked for opportunities to do each one.

Words of affirmation.
Gifts.
Physical touch.
Quality time.
Acts of service.

I did these because I love. I watch and observe. I notice little things. And I started to pick up on what he liked best. I think that’s what made it more special, honestly. Not that he had to tell me but that I cared to notice. You see, love and hurry don’t mix. Yet, this is what we’ve become accustomed to knowing, to doing.

When the Bible speaks of love, patient is the first attribute mentioned.

However, we live in a world of hurry. Efficiency. How can we get there quicker, faster, sooner.

We hurry with God.
We hurry with our spouse.
We hurry in our relationships.

The result is lost intimacy and counterfeit love.

I don’t want a cheat book. I want to figure it out on my own. I want to figure you out on my own. Isn’t that part of the fun?! I want someone to intentionally get to know me because they love me and want to know everything about me.

Not she told me she likes gifts so I will give her gifts. Or I will make time for him because that’s his love language. It’s not the gifts we are after, the time, the acts, the touch, the words… No, it’s the heart. A heart that’s full of love. That manifests itself through these common avenues. We chase these areas because they give us some glimmer of hope, perhaps a spark of love that satisfies us for a moment. But true love, real love is so much more, something so much deeper.

When real love hits, it’s not as complicated as we make it out to be. We won’t be chasing bandaid approaches that have a way of masking what is otherwise a loveless relationship, hanging by a thread. No, when you find love from the Creator of love, you won’t be able to help but love. Something changes. Your default changes. And all these tools and assessments will simply fall short when compared it.

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The movie “Me Before You” certainly lives up to its name

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I had wanted to see this movie ever since it came out in theaters. Though confused by the name, I thought it to be another romantic love story. Perhaps another cheesy chick flick. But wouldn’t “You Before Me” be more appropriate? Unfortunately not with this film, as the underlying tones promote selfishness masked in a smoke screen of selflessness.

Clarke is a young girl looking to help her family make ends meet. By society’s standards, I’d say she already had a somewhat normal boyfriend, Patrick. But then Will came into the picture. Will was the total package having money, fame, success, and good looks. His life drastically changed when he became paralyzed from a car accident two years prior though. His girlfriend, his best friends fizzled out. Clarke meets Will when she gets a job being his caretaker and through time, a deep love begins to form.

They bring a new level of excitement to each other’s lives. A deeper love they didn’t think was possible. So many are alive but never really live. Clarke quickly became the reason Will woke up every morning. Though he couldn’t do the things he once did, he was feeling the things he’s never felt before. However, he couldn’t get over the fact that he couldn’t be who he wanted to be anymore, who he once was. His value came not in his capacity to love but in his ability to perform. And it was this thinking that led him to believe he couldn’t give all he felt Clarke deserved. But if he only would have known what she needed all along… What she really desired… What made her really feel alive… Will chose suicide. Some may only dream of experiencing the type of love Will and Clarke had and yet, Will threw it away. Will didn’t see how Clarke felt; he saw a life he didn’t want to live. He didn’t just rob himself of love. He also took it away from Clarke.

What is love? Will says he wants Clarke to go live her life, now with money and the freedom to chase after her dreams. But what he fails to see, what he fails to mention is that a life without love is no life at all. What makes us alive, what makes this life worth living is one full of love, which is the only thing that can lead to true happiness, to true joy. You see, Clarke may go through life without a care in the world in terms of money and freedom. She may chase her dreams. But her life will never feel more alive than when she loved and felt love from Will. Love understands how rare that loves comes around. Love understands that’s all this life is really about. Love says “you before me.”

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I can make the bad guys good for a weekend

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And so can you. But is that really what you want?

He will go to church with you.
He will do some cute devotionals with you.
Pray with you.
He will wait to have sex after marriage.
Whatever you desire spiritually.

But the key word here is “you,” not him. Not what he truly wants or desires. Been there, done that. You do not want to know what I’ve tried to make work. But he wants us so isn’t that good enough? I wish it was but that never works long term. There are too many internal struggles and a whole lot of resentment. God’s grace and a changed heart are the only times I have seen it work out and there were many problems in between. Respect for him is what is lacking and respect is what we want most.

I was listening to the radio and people were calling in to say what changed about their spouse once they got married and the only two mentioned had to do with a wife (now ex-wife) not realizing how religious her husband was prior to them getting married (she says he changed) and another saying after getting married to her husband in a catholic church and him attending church with her while they were dating, she found out he was atheist. Who do we blame? Is someone really at fault?

We either dumb down our faith for the sake of who we think we want to be with or our partner will amuse us by doing, attending, thinking, saying what it is they think we want. I wish I was immune to this fatal trap. An amazing personality, good looks, intellect… They intrigue me and I convince myself they probably have a good heart deep down. And maybe they do. But that doesn’t mean they are the one for me. And it doesn’t mean they are the one for you. I think there is something empowering about feeling like we impacted a guy. They changed their ways because of us. This is how we can quickly become the cause of our own destruction. Because at the end of the day, while you may make the bad guys good for a weekend, they are still bad guys.

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If it aint love why does it feel so good

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Jason Derulo’s popular, catchy song I caught myself dancing to until I decided to look up the lyrics. Describing how her body is a blessing and questioning how something could feel so good if isn’t love. Another by Selena Gomez exonerating that she can’t keep her hands to herself over and over again, only to hit the point of truth “I mean, I could but why would I want to?”

This is our culture. This is society today.

I’ll tell you why it feels so good, because sin feels good. I’ll tell you why you’d want to, because sin feels good only temporarily because sin isn’t good. Sexual sins feel good until you spend time alone with your thoughts and emotions, realizing the love you long for isn’t there. Gluttony feels good until you don’t recognize yourself anymore. Addiction feels good until you realize instead of controlling your next fix it’s controlling you. Lying feels good until you forget what truth is. Stealing feels good until you realize you don’t even want what you stole. Even murder feels good until you’ve realized you’ve already lost your soul.

Several things feel good in our instant gratification society. In a culture of promotion of self-love, we are taught to seek our own happiness. The problem with this is we don’t know what real happiness is. And even more disturbing is the fact that the cost to others doesn’t even seem to be considered.

Colossians 3:5-6So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world.  Because of these sins, the anger of God is coming.”

One thing I’ve learned as I’ve grown in my relationship with God is that God desires what is best for His children. He doesn’t give us these scriptures to harm us but to help us. He warns us against:

Sexual immorality, not sex within the confines of marriage
Impurity, not purity
Lust, not love
Evil desires, not good ones

God hasn’t made harmful things. The world has twisted and distorted the good things He has created only to put them where they don’t belong. And then we wonder why we live in a world of heartbreak and loneliness.

I think if we really thought about it, we’d realize the ones that truly love us are the ones that see beyond their feelings. The ones that see us before themselves. Ones that desire to keep us pure. People that are not looking to use our body to fulfill their immediate desires, but are looking to protect our bodies until the day they are able to commit and love us fully for the rest of our lives. If it truly is love, I pray we show that in our actions that reach beyond simple feelings of self-satisfaction.

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5 reasons why I will still talk to your boyfriend

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And so begins another controversial topic. I need to choose my words carefully as to not sound like I am purposely trying to be a home wrecker. I believe in being loyal but it can be a very scary thing when we become too loyal to the wrong person. I don’t believe in cheating but I do believe in getting to know someone you like. So let me tell you why I will still talk to your boyfriend:

  • He’s a great guy. Obviously you are dating him because you see some great qualities. I see those too.
  • We have similar interests. Whether he is a co-worker, a school colleague, a church friend, or a political debater, our paths may have crossed because of similar interests. Maybe he’ll be a friend for a season, maybe for a lifetime.
  • We have similar morals/values. It’s hard to find people who appreciate my morals and values, much less agree with them. If he does, he is rare and I want him in my life.
  • We’ve got chemistry. Whether our personalities are the same or opposite, we just click. We laugh at the same corny jokes. He can keep up. We just have fun.
  • He’s not married. Sometimes people date out of comfort. I wish I had a dollar for every time someone’s told me they didn’t see themselves marrying the person they are currently dating.

We settle because we don’t find anything better. Dating is to see whether or not you want to marry that person. I don’t know why we are so afraid to talk to people in relationships or let our partner talk to others. I wish we could all be a little more open and less insecure. Maybe I’m too idealistic. Maybe I believe too much in trust and communication. But. If it’s meant to be, it will be. Whether he ends up with you. Whether he ends up with me. Whether he ends up with someone else. We’re all just trying to maneuver this same life while making the best choices possible. I guess I have faith and hope that someone will understand the prize I am and not want to be in a relationship with anyone but me. If he does, maybe we aren’t right for each other in the first place.

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You can’t stay in a good relationship while waiting for a better relationship

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You just can’t. This has happened to me a few times now and it blows my mind. Guys that are in relationships and will break up with their girlfriend if I will date them. The catch? They won’t break up with them if I say I just want to be friends. They want commitment. Commitment I can’t give. Commitment I shouldn’t have to give. And they stay with their girlfriends because of it. Some are now single, some are in new relationships, and others are still with the same girlfriend- perhaps married now.

I don’t get it.

Okay, maybe I do. I’ve been tempted to settle. The thought that no one better will come along has crossed my mind more than once. So I make excuses and try to make it work. But the peace just isn’t there and something doesn’t feel right. But it’s better than being single. Or is it?

I don’t think it is and that’s why I’m still single. Are we really that afraid to be alone? So many people jumping from one relationship to the next. Securing their next partner before letting go of their current one. You want to think it’s romantic- that they are willing to give up their current girlfriend for you but it’s not. Not when they won’t give them up for themselves. I could never be with any of these guys because I can’t respect someone who doesn’t respect themselves. They deserve more. And their girlfriend deserves better.

What is so hard about deciding what you’re looking for and waiting for it? Why can’t we set our standards high and ensure we are meeting those same standards? Maybe it’s because we lack faith and hope. Faith that God has someone out there that’s perfect for us. Not perfect, but perfect for us. Someone that brings out the best in us and loves us all the same when the worst comes out. Hope that He’ll bring them in our lives at the perfect time. Not when we are needy. Not when we are desperate. But when we are full. Complete in Christ. Because it’s then, and only then, can we see our potential partner as a beautiful complement to our lives instead of fighting for them to complete us when they can’t.

I can’t tell you who to wait for but I have a feeling you already know.

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Today’s society doesn’t date… and 3 reasons why I kinda like it

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So many articles about how the dating culture has gone from a guy knocking on your door with flowers to Netflix and chill. Mostly girls complaining how they hate what dating has turned into. While I definitely don’t agree with the Netflix and chill hook-up culture, I don’t think I was too fond of the serious dates either. Because that is what they were whether we want to call them that or not. So much pressure. Trying to balance our desire to get dressed up and feel special versus actually falling in love with someone we admire, respect, and love. And we sit here complaining about guys running away but I completely understand why they do.

1. You don’t know yet if you even like the person. Why in the world would you date someone if you don’t know if you even like them?! So many people say that is what dating is for but I beg to differ. Dating is to get to know someone you already like on a deeper level to see if you want to marry them. I’d like to spend some time with someone before deciding whether or not I want to date them. I think the reason guys act like girls are crazy and clingy when they send too many texts or make it very clear they like them is because the guy doesn’t know yet if he likes the girl and that’s okay. So instead of risking hurting the girl or leading her on, he bails. Well that or he tells the girl he just wants to be friends and she freaks and feels rejected. Dating implies certain expectations of feelings. And if those feelings aren’t returned, we immediately refer to the guy as a jerk. So we choose to hang out. People act like this is a bad thing but I actually think it’s pretty genius.

2. You don’t have to be afraid to go out with other people. Loyalty is huge for me and dating implies a certain level of commitment. But I don’t want to be loyal to you if I don’t even know if I like you yet. We know it is frowned upon to date more than one person at a time. So in that case, it isn’t really fair to say you will date someone when you want to keep your options open in case someone better comes along. It sounds bad but is that so wrong? Because we don’t want to commit if we don’t know enough yet to commit.

3. It’s not as serious. People say this is where insecurities are born. But if a guy or girl is hanging out with you, they like you. Maybe as friends, maybe as more. Regardless, why can’t we just enjoy this time? I don’t want you to think I like you even though I kind of do because it might not be enough. And I might not show all my feelings because I need to work through them and I don’t want to give you false hope. And honestly, if you are too quick to say you have feelings, I can’t help but wonder if it’s me you like or the idea of me. This is why I would run. This is why guys run.

All this being said, if you like someone or think you might like someone, never be afraid to tell them. Open communication is the best but you have to know yourself before expecting someone else to fall for you. Don’t rush something just because you are in love with being in love. There is nothing wrong with feelings. But I’m afraid oftentimes these feelings we think we have are more about attraction and wanting to be in love than actual care for another person. So instead of stressing out, wanting to go on a real date, hangout with people and see who you like. But whatever you do, don’t blur the lines by bringing physical stuff into it. That’s when most of the problems occur.

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4 signs he has no intentions of marrying you

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One of my friends recently updated her profile picture. It was a picture of herself… Alone. Without Steven. Where was the picture of her and him? They have been in a relationship for 8 years!!! I decide to creep; I click on her profile to see no existence of Steven. No sign of their relationship. How do you erase 8 years of your life like that?! Maybe you can on social media but it’s much harder to erase them from your heart. I have a love/hate relationship with these scenarios; part of me is like “aha, I was right” because I somehow can see these things coming but then the harsh reality sets in and I’m extremely sad. Heartbreak is never something to be happy about. I normally brush these off and move forward but this is like the 5th relationship I’ve seen severed within the past month! I can’t help but wonder if I’m the only one that sees this. I wonder if these girls see the warning signs but choose to look the other way. I know I’ve done that. Emotional attachment is one of the strongest forces I’ve felt. I hope you’ll keep this post around when you are in a relationship. Not as 100% factual but as something to consider when you are struggling with a current relationship, current feelings.

  1. You aren’t visible. When I’m with him, I don’t see you. And this is manifested in several different ways. He doesn’t really talk about you. It’s hard to know whether or not he is even in a relationship. He doesn’t do his best to include you in his events. Social media has made this a little difficult, as well, because some people are more private with their relationship than others. But I’ll be honest, I don’t normally post much about a guy unless I’m ready to commit. You want someone who is proud of you. Someone who wants to show you off. Be sure you don’t make excuses for him.
  2. Marriage talk is taboo. He doesn’t like it when you mention marriage and insists on just enjoying the moment now. He doesn’t like to commit to any long term plans. Moving in together is not a step in the right direction either. One of my friends was ecstatic that she and her boyfriend were finally moving in together after ten years- she thought it was a step in the right direction but he was only trying to appease her a little longer which leads to the third sign…
  3. He appeases you. He will get creative to keep you calm. I like to call these “shut up” gifts; things to keep you quiet for awhile. He is basically going through the motions but his heart isn’t really in it. He doesn’t want to hurt your feelings and he likes you, but just not enough. You want a guy who will think about you constantly and buy you things and do things for you simply because he wants to. Because he knows how happy it’ll make you.
  4. He is easily distracted. Basically, he is interested in other people. You have to be on the lookout for this one. I remember being out one night with a group of friends and I started talking to this one guy who seemed rather flirty. I realized he had a girlfriend when she walked over! There is a fine line between being friendly and outgoing versus being flirty and interested in others.

These signs aren’t rocket science but it takes a lot for a man not to string a woman a long and a woman to know when to let go.

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February Fakes: Why I’d date an atheist over a “Christian” Part 1: Jake

February FakesOne reason: because you’re not. You’re not a real Christian and I don’t appreciate you making me feel bad for questing your faith. Things you said, choices you made- something just didn’t feel right. But you were good. A smooth talker. And I fell hard and fast.

It seems fitting to start with you. My Facebook Timehop just reminded me of the time you texted me ONE THOUSAND times while I was on a flight just to have them all appear the second I turned my phone back on. It didn’t seem creepy, possessive like at the time, rather funny and comforting to know I was always on your mind. You’d text me all the time. I thought it was because you really valued me but you were just making me dependent on you. But you were the one with the dependency problem. You always had to have someone. So if I wasn’t “good enough” I knew you’d find someone else fast to give your undivided attention to. This made me so insecure.

You charmed me from the get go. You went to Bible college. Not only did you agree with a lot of my thoughts, you added to them. Your testimony. Your testimony intrigued me. You had a past, a really bad past. But I never judged you for it. It wasn’t until who you used to be started to feel like who you were now.

We studied the Bible together. Now this was scary. We’d memorize scriptures together. You encouraged and helped me to spend more time with God. I was the one that confused my love for God with my love for you.

There was so much hurt from the beginning of our relationship that I knew you weren’t right for me. But you knew just what to say, just what to do to keep me from being open to anyone else. I was your saving grace. I brought out the best in you. All the other girls you attempted to date were second to me and that fed my ego so much. You’d date them until they fell hard for you and then you’d disappear. I knew because you did that to me. Not physically but emotionally. You had wrecked me. You wanted to leave me before I left you. It was a shame that your self worth came from how many girls you could get to fall for you. Your occasional “she reminds me of you” and the songs you’d send me that made you think of me. They were your way of keeping me on a short leash.

I struggled so much. My heart knew you weren’t right for me. I questioned your motives, I questioned your faith. I really did. But my heart also loved the way you’d make me feel. Even if it was all a lie. You were the best manipulator, the best con artist I had ever met. I wanted to believe you really loved God but I knew. Everyone on the outside would say you loved God but I still knew. I was the only one that challenged you; I suppose that is what made you love and hate me at the same time.

Fast forward through many ups and downs. Times when I said I needed a break to think. Times when you needed a break because I had pushed the wrong buttons. You’d always come back. Because you knew I really cared. They always come back.

Christianity was just a phase for you. It took me a long time to come to terms with this. It’s where you felt you belonged and had a family for a little while. It was more about what you could get from God rather than understanding how much God loved you and what you wanted to do for Him. You never had a relationship with God. The second the opportunity arose, you got back with your old friends and became the same person you once told me you were. I think that’s the true test of just how strong our faith is. Are you a Christian based on culture or based on your personal relationship with Christ? When you have that personal relationship it doesn’t slip away so easily. It’s stronger than any family bond you’ve ever experienced. It was bittersweet to watch this transition. To know I wasn’t crazy when I was the only one challenging your faith. The Holy Spirit is a wonderful gift that we tend to suppress for the sake of “not being judgmental.” It’s nice to see the real you now. For once I get to see the real you. And as sad as it makes me to see you living a life so contrary to who you once said you were, I’m glad you aren’t claiming to be something you never were anyway.

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Read the intro to February Fakes here

I was afraid to break up with you

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I have yet to meet someone who has enjoyed breaking up with someone. Sometimes someone may feel a sense of relief but the act itself is never fun. Someone always gets hurt. The only way to avoid this is to never date. But we all still date, risks known. Whether we choose to acknowledge or deny those risks is up to us.

I was afraid to break up with you for you. I didn’t know if you could handle it. You had been through a lot and I knew you had let your guard down with me. I didn’t want you to regret that. Our relationship was your life. What would you do if I left? I honestly didn’t know if you were stable enough without me. This is hard to write. I didn’t know it had gotten this far. The same thing that attracted me to you was the same thing that is pulling me away. I can’t mean that much to you. It’s too much pressure. Aside from wondering what will happen to you, I never wanted to hurt you. Ever. While I still think you’re a great guy, it’s possible to be a great guy and just not right for me, right?

I was afraid to break up with you for others. We say do what’s best for you but we all know others are always affected by our actions -by our decisions. It’s never just your life. Our families- so intertwined. So much pressure, so many expectations. What would they think if I broke it off? Could I still be friends with your family? They’ve treated me like I was their own. I don’t want to lose that. I don’t want them to think I was just using you. I don’t want them to think I don’t love you. Because I do love you. I’m just not in love with you.

I was afraid to break up with you for myself. You had become my life. I don’t know if I could do this on my own. I was so scared. What if I don’t find someone better? Who would I talk to if I needed to vent? Who would celebrate with me when I’d graduate? I was so afraid to be alone. Is it bad to say I was afraid you’d hurt me for hurting you? How did it get this far? I was afraid to be with you and afraid to be without you at the same time. This is all too much.

And then I learned the best thing for everyone- you, me, our friends, our families was to break it off. I’ve known all along. Because it’s not fair to you, not fair to me, not fair to our loved ones for me to continue to live a lie. As hard as it is now to be alone, it’s harder being with someone I know isn’t right for me. I’ll have to learn to live without you again. But I can. Sometimes we have to take one step back to take two steps forward.

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