When I was a little girl growing up in a dysfunctional family, I struggled to feel loved. It seemed as if love had to be earned, and for whatever reason, I just kept missing the mark.
I remember countless times trying to earn this seemingly unobtainable love… I would sneak over to the neighbors with scissors in hand and cut off their roses that I knew they worked hard to grow so I could bring them home to my mom, letting her know that I had found them in the road and definitely not in our neighbor’s yard. Once, I took a can of red spray paint and scribed a giant “I LOVE YOU MOM” across the back of our house. Needless to say, this did not get the outcome I had craved.
The Pains of Desperation
As I grew, I continued to make poor choices on my hunt for love. As it turns out, a lack of love creates a lot of desperation, and desperation begs for bad decisions to be made.
Love is meant to be a sacrificial gift we give, and the truth is, we just can’t make others willingly give it, no matter what lengths we go to to try.
This is a painful pill to swallow.
This sacrificial and fulfilling love is supposed to be part of marriage, but not all marriages have it. And when love is missing, desperate decisions begin to be made. Desperation of love in a marriage can often lead to a lot of unhealthy things like:
- People pleasing
- And maybe even adultery.
The problem is that those things never bring us closer to real love. At best, they temporarily ease the pain with an untrustworthy and fraudulent love.
When love has to be manipulated, it is not love at all.
I watched the mom, whom I was so desperate to love me, try to earn love out of her desperation. She allowed alcoholism to run rampant in our home without consequence. She disregarded abuse in avoidance as an effort to pretend it wasn’t happening. She excused a lack of love from my stepfather as if there was something wrong with her instead of him.
She waited. She avoided. She scrambled in anxiety. She lied to herself, hoping that love was just right around the corner, simply waiting for the perfect setup to be ushered in.
A marriage filled with lies, deception, tolerance, unaddressed addiction, abuse, hopelessness, avoidance, or even mediocrity is not a marriage with real love. It’s a marriage with a desperate, fraudulent love. It’s the enemy’s ploy to twist the truth once again.
A Difficult Balance
So, back to this tough pill – Love is meant to be a sacrificial gift we give, and the truth is, we just can’t make others willingly give it, no matter what lengths we go to to try.
By no means does any of this mean your marriage is over or has no real chance at love because that is also false. We serve a God who redeems, repairs, restores, and who can make all things new. But we will never get on the path of restoration through the avenue of denial that desperation sets us on.
Real love is sacrificial and freely given. “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
We are called to love sacrificially in our marriages, but we must remember that sacrificial love isn’t meant to make us doormats who tolerate horrible behavior or mediocrity. Our sacrificial love is meant to be for a higher purpose, just as Christ’s was, to give Him glory and show the world who He is. A miserable or mediocre marriage will never do that if it’s left as it is.
This sacrificial love in marriage is designed to be a two-way street. If your marriage is not displaying real love and your heart is overcome with anxiety and desperation, it’s time to make some changes before your desperation leads you to places you never want to go.
Jesus can help you with that, and so can we if you need us to. Let the real love of Christ lead you on the right path, and reach out if this blog resonates with you.