I find that sometimes our family can be the hardest persons to treat nicely all the time because either we are just not in the mood (God can help us get a handle on that) or they just have fallen so woefully short of our high expectations. Acting in love all the time is more difficult it is more easily said than done however, unless we learn it, we won’t see God’s face because “God is love”. God created the institution of marriage and the family so we can learn love and walk out love every day. Love isn’t love if it is conditional. I can’t only love my husband when he’s being romantic but not when he does something irritating. I can’t only love my child when he’s being sweet and not when he’s being disobedient. Love has to be love even when the object of your love doesn’t act how you expect them to. Here are some practical ways to walk out unconditional love:
1. Remember the golden rule
Treat others how you would like to be treated. How would I want to be treated if I were having a bad day and feeling a little cross? That’s how I need to treat my husband when he’s having a bad day. Accept each other on your down days and play your part to be a positive influence. As I’ve matured as a wife (Praise God!) I’m finding myself extending grace and holding my tongue more often and I notice my husband does the same. He’ll often just come and give me a hug and say something encouraging.
2. Remember your marriage commitment
There’s a reason our marriage vows talk about better and worse. There are highs and lows in marriage but what helps is knowing you’re in it together, for the long haul. Establish that in your minds. It takes character to do this and God can create in you that kind of character if you ask Him.
3. Do not ridicule each other
For there to be a happy home filled with unconditional love, we must accept each other, faults and all and communicate that acceptance, “I love you just the way you are.” Although we have to help each other to grow, the other person must never feel ridiculed or less than they are. As you pray for them and see the little changes in their life as they’re growing, let them know, “I really love how you’ve been growing in Christ” or “I’ve really been appreciating your help with the dishes”. These positive affirmations do more and are more effective than ridicule and criticism. Every time you’re about to say something negative to a family member ask yourself, “Is there something positive I could say instead?” or just hold that tongue.
4. Love when disciplining children
Proverbs 19:18 says “Discipline your children, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to their death.” Note the “do not be a willing party to their death”. The Bible also cautions parents not to provoke their children. Children are to be disciplined but in a way that builds them up, not in a manner that crushes them emotionally or physically. If you are about to discipline your child and you are angry, take a break and pray and do it after you’ve calmed down. Speak firmly but in the way you would like to be spoken to. Always reassure them of your love so they know your chastening is not to hurt but to help.
5. Let go of grudges
We cannot truly love when we are holding a grudge. This is where forgiveness comes in. If you have issues with forgiveness, get professional help because I promise you an unforgiving spirit will eat you alive if it is not overcome. Don’t hold on to grudges against your children. Children do stupid things because they are not yet mature. Discipline, forgive and move on. Do not hold grudges against your spouse. You’re on the same team, remember? Extend the same grace that God extends to you day after day after day when you mess up. For more on forgiveness, check this out: A heart that forgives
6. Express love daily
Love needs to be expressed and there are many ways of expressing love. Say it “I love you, I’m so happy to be married to you”. Give a hug and a kiss. Prepare a favorite meal. Give flowers. Give your child a surprise mommy and daughter date. Take your son to play on the football field. Give a massage. Mow the lawn. Wash the dishes. Just cuddle on the couch and chat. I could go on and on but you get the picture and you most definitely know what will make each member of your family happy. If you happen not to be sure about it, just ask them, or observe them and you’ll know what to do.
7. Read 1 Corinthians 13 regularly (daily)
I’ve found it beneficial to read 1 Corinthians 13 on a regular basis helps to remind me what love really and the words are embedded in my mind, my capacity for true, unadulterated, unconditional love is increased. Read this for more on this passage The 113 Challenge: We don’t have a clue about love
I hope this has made a positive impression on your mind and ministered to you in some way. We all have room for growth in this area but as we pray and work, wonderful results will come. What do you think? Please share in the comments below.
Love and Blessings