On Sunday (1st September), I attended my cell group, which consist of females of faith coming together each Sunday to share and discuss the word of God over different topics. The day before, we got told that we’d be starting a new topic. The topic would be relationships and relatability.
It’s funny how God works. The week before I’d been facing relationship struggles. Avoiding intimacy and communication with my family members, close friends and even God. I felt like maybe, instead of taking on so much responsibility, attention and focus on healing and developing relationships I should just focus on me. How I felt and doing what I wanted to do without having to focus on someone else needs. It’s that selfish self-love aspect that just crosses the fine line towards self-destruction.
It was music to my ears knowing we’d be focusing on that topic and this is what I shared and learnt from it.
Firstly we got asked to think about a relationship we admire, romantic and/or platonic. We could use movie examples or personal ones we know of.
What Relationships Have You Seen That You Admire?
I thought hard and long about this before answering. I replayed every movie scene of strong relationships in my mind. For love/romance, the movie ‘notebook’ was what I chose. We witness the bond of two beautiful souls, during their young adulthood till they’re old and ill. The woman suffers from dementia and no longer remembers her husband or even how they met. Yet he comes daily, without fail to sit with her and tell her stories of their journey, expressing his love, commitment and vows till death do us part in so many ways.
My second choice was ‘the boy in the striped pyjamas. I’ve seen this movie about 2-4 times and every time without fail my eyes water and I get emotional. There’s far too much love, pain, passion and friendship in this movie set in such a historical moment of life, during world war 2. These two boys create a deeply intimate friendship, so close yet so far apart. One Jewish and the other from a Nazi family. A forbidden friendship that shows the best of human nature, where pure innocence, kindness and love is shown despite their differences and surroundings.
What You Took From The Relationships And Would Want For Yourself?
Intimacy and unconditional love. Both relationship examples were different in regards to setting, individuals and bonds (romantic vs platonic) yet two things that remained the same was intimacy and the unconditional love. Both loves lasted literally till ‘death do us part’.
I keep thinking of the marriage vows – ”Richer or poorer’‘ This applied to the world war two 2boys. The Jewish boy was poor and held captive in a concentration camp while the other boy was free, rich and could afford food etc.
”In sickness or in health”, this applied to the lovers in the notebook. The woman was suffering from dementia, she was sick, old and unable to do things for herself, but her husband was by her side day in and day out showing her the same love, respect and protection as he did when they were young, fit healthy and madly in love. His patience was christ-like. He believed in her getting better, and even when she would get mad, angry or frustrated he rested by her and continued on. If only all love relationships were like this ey?
”To Love and to cherish, till death do us part” There’s no cliché happy ending in any of these films and you know what, That’s life! Jesus died on the cross, rose again but still physically left his disciples to be with them spiritually. The truth is we all die and will leave our loved ones and they will leave us. But the time we have with them on this earth we must love, hold and cherish.
Think of someone special in your life. Say they suddenly died. Could you honestly say the relationship you had with them was loved and cherished? Did it show pure intimacy and unconditional love?
Putting God And His Teachings Into Our Relationships
Ask yourself the set of questions I answered above and see if you can relate. Doing self-assessments are so beneficial for our wellbeing because it gets us to think about how we work, what makes us emotional, what we like and don’t like and most importantly what our intentions are. We need to have clear intentions when it comes to our relationships. If you want intimate relationships then you have to be more open and honest with people as well as caring for their needs above yours. Try to see them for who they really are, flaws and all and especially how God sees them. A special creation, a child in terms of needing love, affection and time to develop so we must be patient.
We read in the bible that our God is jealous. So we dived into some scripture to back this up. In 2 Corinthians chapter 11 verse 2,(2Corinthinas 11:2) it reads ‘ ‘For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.”
Before that verse, it asks us to bear with, looking back at being patient with one another in our times of fault, hardship or plain stubbornness. What I get from all this, is not to build up a tolerance and allow for it to continue but to wait for them to ‘come around’ guiding them and showing enough love and sternness.
When we looked at verse 2, we discussed what it meant to have a jealous love. Keywords that were mentioned; territorial, protective and needy. You’re probably wondering how all that could be deemed godly, so I’ll break it down.
Having a Godly Jealousy In Our Relationships
When you love someone with a godly jealousy, you want more of their time. Your need for them increases, just as God loves us he expects us to devote ourselves to him DAILY. He asks this so we don’t get distracted, mislead and begin to worship fake Gods, he wants to protect us. He can give us true and eternal happiness and he wants to do it, but how can he if we don’t make time for him?
When someone disrespects, talks badly and mistreats someone we love, what do we do? Well, I don’t know about you but my instant reaction is to defend them.
When someone says horrible or negative things about my loved ones, straight away I would go to their defence without them needing to be there. I would say ‘Don’t talk about them so negatively’ and then highlight positive attributes of their character and our relationship. So defending their name and elevating their character.
When you love someone, yes you want them to be independent, but you also want them to want you more. Naturally, you become a better person for this to occur. You make sure when they’re around you or speaking to you you’re making them smile, laugh and feel good about themselves.
We’re conditioned to think of being a jealous lover as something negative. Our God is a jealous lover so it’s ok for us to be too but understand the biblical concept of it is demanding faithfulness and exclusive worship)
There is no control or fear in love and no one’s perfect but there is such thing as perfect love – 1John 4:18 ”There is no fear in love, but perfect love casteth out fear”