Monday, December 14, 2015

Unconditional Love

It might shock you, as it did me, to learn that nowhere in the scriptures--the holy writ--does it ever mention the phrase, "unconditional love".

That's right. Nowhere.

Nada. Zip. Zilch.

We as followers of Christ around the world sometimes use the term, unconditional love, to describe Heavenly Father's Love for all His children and therefore the same kind of love we (should) show those around us, buuuuuut, that term is just not scriptural.

I don't know who exactly coined the phrase "unconditional love". Some say it was Shakespeare, some say it was an early pioneering psychologist, some say it was the devil himself.
I guess it doesn't really matter as long as we understand what love really means. Whether it's just LOVE or UNCONDITIONAL LOVE, whatever term you choose to use, in order to have a successful blended family, the answer is always LOVE. Sometimes we show love by changing and forgiving, but that also involves love.

It took many support group sessions for us to come to realize that the answer to all our concerns, questions and issues was, you got it............ LOVE.

When the problem was being hurt and angry at our husbands for treating our children more harshly than his own bio children, the answer was love.

When the problem was children manipulating parents the answer was correcting them love.

When the issue was new in laws treating the ex more like family than us, the answer was understanding and acting with love.

When the painful feelings arise from our own bio children being left out, hurt or judged by their step, the answer was forgiving with love.

When your child comes home from the other parents house acting out sexually, the answer is to call the authorities. But with love.

Now maybe the reason the scriptures don't use the term "unconditional Love" is because love IS conditional.  It's condition is action. The action of love brings the feeling of love. So just throwing around the word love is meaningless. It is conditional. On US.

At least that's what I've come to.

I'm here to tell you that if you want to improve the relationships in your family, act well thy part. Sometimes literally acting works until you feel it. 'Fake it 'til you make it' has worked for a few of us.  For me, what I had to do in order to improve relationships between me and my hubby was improve the relationship between me and his oldest.

There was bad blood ya'll. Not in the beginning--or at least not on my part. But as time went on, the need for her to have her daddy wrapped around her little finger showed through in obvious ways. This is not new. I've heard other mothers say they've experienced the same or similar things from the adult step child.  We get it.  They "were there first". But those natural feelings of jealousy coupled with some immature actions, can create a land slide of problems within a family.

So how do we combat it?  Do we just go to our friends and complain and gain sympathy? Do we avoid the person all together?  Do we put together a bullet point memo for our hubby as to why that child is wrong in their actions? Well, I'm here to tell you that those things don't work. Only love does.

I'm also am here to tell you that putting love in action is THE only way to make a blended family work. THE ONLY WAY.

Does that mean it's easy? I'm kind of laughing right now at that thought. It's just plain not easy, but the more you act on it, the easier it becomes. Each time that negative thought, fueled by hurtful actions on their part comes to your mind, get rid of it. Just get it outta there! There's no room for it. Anytime you ruminate on your wounded heart, get over it! Every time you want to call that person out for "doing you wrong" stop. Just don't do it in this case. Replace those negative feelings with light and love.

This might not be what you want to hear as the answers to all your family woes, but when we, in our three member support group come to the same conclusion at the end of our griping, it is enlightening. Challenging, but enlightening.  We each come away from our conversations with an action plan. A plan to make some very tough and painful situations better.

 Love is also contagious. When you show love in an otherwise difficult situation, others feel it and then are inspired to show it too.  I know because it did in my case. When my hubby saw my efforts in mending the relationship with his oldest, he softened.

Love is the way.  That's why it's the greatest and first two commandments. Because it WORKS (also an action word). ;)

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