Selfless Love | Four Ways To Achieve it Today
by ChristianCrush Team
There are plenty of things to argue about. Goals, religion, careers, money, chores, friends – the list goes on and on. It’s no wonder that it can be so tricky to find unconditional love. Imagine a dinner party where your significant other gets deep into a controversial conversation topic. Then the person you love says something illogical or silly or even awful. “You’re bound to feel a certain disappointment in them and, as a result, somewhat alienated from them, too” (Seltzer par. 7). That’s why it seems impossible to have perfect, selfless love with another human being.
The reason Dr. Seltzer thinks this type of love doesn’t exist is simple. “For whenever a discussion degenerates into squabbling, bickering, or (alas) heated disputation, at a very deep level your partner has just become your enemy” (par. 4). As long as one of you believes herself or himself to be more correct than the other, you are on opposite sides of the argument.
Dr. Seltzer presents an example of a person who needs to be alone and their significant other only wants to be closer to them. Even though it’s perfectly normal to desire solitude or company, the fact that you both have differing needs can cause a break in the relationship (Seltzer par. 5). He suggests that the only way to find a love that lasts without qualification is to find self-love (par. 9), because according to him, this is the only way to be fulfilled.
His suggestions are relatively simple: Recognize that you may have flaws but you are doing your best. Appreciate what you are and what you are not without hating any part of yourself (Seltzer par. 11). It’s not hard to like the sound of his ideas, even though part of the reason he writes about them is because it’s so much easier to love yourself than others (par. 15).
But instead of waking up and saying, “Self, you do your best. Give yourself a break,” why not say that about your significant other? Seltzer seems to think that a single argument cancels out love – yet God’s love can do more than last into eternity. Anyone can claim it, too.
So today, why not try applying self-love strategies to your dating partner or spouse to facilitate selfless love instead?
1. Give the benefit of the doubt
Relationships are rarely easy because it’s complicated stuff to learn to work the goals of two people into synchronized orbit. Trust your life teammate to do their best in everything they do.
2. Accept both strengths and weaknesses
Don’t nitpick bad habits or ignore great successes. Experts say that people can’t be changed, and this is generally true. Choose to be joyful and to love your significant other even when they mess up.
3. Be an encourager
Athletes aren’t the only ones who need cheerleaders, and if you’ve ever been to a sporting game you know that the cheerleaders don’t only cheer when something good is happening. They have a chant for every situation, and they mean every word.
4. Exercise sympathy and empathy every day
Practice putting yourself in the other person’s shoes. Understanding where they come from can help you two avoid even the beginning of a conflict.
In Romans 8:35, we learn that God is the only one who can truly love unconditionally, but with his help we can reflect this love on the people around us. Loving yourself is a nice place to start, but it can’t bring satisfaction for the rest of your life. Your soul hungers for a completing love that can only come from God.
Luckily God left us with a good idea of what love should look like between us: “The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith” (1 Tim. 1:5). So resist the secular culture's emphasis on self love and strive to selflessly love others instead, starting with your romantic partner.
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What other ways would you promote selfless love?