Love’s Motivation

Ephesians 6:7

Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people.

Joshua 24:15

But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” 

The funny thing about love is that unlike so many other things in life that we have no control over, we get to choose whom we love.  We didn’t get to pick our family and we might not have even had much choice in jobs if we just took what we could be hired for.  But love is always a choice.  We choose if we’re going to share love with another person or not.

Because love is a choice and sometimes it is hard to love someone else, we should reflect upon why we first chose to love that person.  Quite often we still love those things about that person, we have just chosen to reflect upon negative qualities.  When a relationship is new, we tend to focus on positive qualities and relay these to friends and family.  “He’s so great, he did this and that for me…”  Once a relationship matures, unfortunately we stop remembering the good things and focus on the bad things.  “He always leaves the toilet seat up.  He never cleans the toothpaste out of the sink.”

There are some natural reasons for this.  When the relationship is new, you both do your best to hide your bad qualities.  Once you are comfortable, those bad qualities will come up regardless given enough time.  But part of the issue is our thinking.  Just as we choose to love or not, we choose what qualities to focus on.  If we choose to focus on negative qualities, those are going to be the ones that we remember and they’ll drive us nuts.  On the other hand, if we focus on positive qualities, we’ll find it easier to love that person.

In a perfect world, we wouldn’t need outward motivation to love someone.  We’d love them regardless of their faults and without need for a reminder of their good qualities.  We should love unconditionally as God loves us.  That is the goal that we should strive for.  But realizing that we’ll usually fall short of this standard, focusing on our spouse’s positive qualities rather than the negative ones will at least help us in our motivation to love.

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