Love matters most in your marriage, in your families, with your friends, and those you do not know. When we decide to become need meeters, that’s when we are pursuing a life of fulfillment. Why do we seek out information on relationship matters? Probably because there are issues with focusing on what matters most. Your own personal happiness is not what matters most, because love matters most, and love is outwardly focused, not inwardly consumed.
What matters most in relationships can be summed up in one word, otherness. It is through an otherness focus that we love. Through love we show and tell others that they matter to us. Love recognizes others and their needs, their needs to be noticed, to be accepted, appreciated, to be loved, and to know that they matter. The most important asset you have is your time, and if you are loving others with your time, then you are doing what matters the most. Love is sacrifice, you sacrifice your time, what you want or desire, to love others.
I am often blessed by the gift of watching my wife go over to another woman, who is sitting by herself, and see how she reaches out with love towards them. You see, by simply going to introduce herself to someone like that, and spending some time talking with them, she is showing them that they matter, that they are recognized, and that they are significant. That is Godly love, the kind of love that touches other people through relationship right where they are. Doing something like that requires her to have an otherness focus, she is looking to meet other peoples needs, for any opportunity where she can touch people with love.
There are so many people who feel alone, or who may feel like they don’t matter. This is true with acquaintances, with friends, family, and with spouses. It is also true that none of us can get all the love we need from one person, though our spouses may supply a majority of our love, we still need outside sources to fill in the gaps. We would also find that, if we had an otherness focus, that we could fill in some gaps for some people who may be lacking loving relationships in their lives. If you love those who love you, do you deserve a reward? Even the tax collectors do that! Are you doing anything remarkable if you welcome only your friends? Everyone does that! (Matthew 5:46-47).
You might be wondering how does loving others outside of your marriage relationship matter? Well to be truly walking in love, you are loving those you can reach. Besides that, the actions of love are habit forming, much like riding a bicycle, the more you do it, the better you become at it, and the more it becomes natural behavior for you. Practice matters, just like anything else, practice makes perfect. Please do not understand or attempt to misrepresent what was just written, this does not say to go have sex outside of your marriage, that is not love.
We are all here to learn to love within the context of relationships. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these." (Mark 12:30-31). It’s all about love and relationship, starting with God first, then learning to love others, as we all have a human tendency to be stuck on loving ourselves. In 1 Corinthians 13:5, the bible says that love is not self-seeking, or depending on the bible version it may say; it does not seek its own, or It does not demand its own way. Love is not selfish, love is not self-centered, love intently looks to meet the needs of others, love is sacrifice.
You matter, you are intended on being a gift, a gift to others, and other people matter, they are intended to be a gift to you and others. Life is all about love and relationships, and yet we struggle so much with that intention. Secular teaching tells us to acquire for ourselves, to take care of number one, and we tend to buy that hook, line, and stinker! In order to grow you must do some inward focusing on yourself, but that is to clear out the unhealthy aspects within, it’s not to shower yourself with luxuries and wealth, or to go around saying "excuse me, I come first." Love is a sacrifice, you sacrifice your wants, desires, or needs for the benefits of others, you put yourself last. "So the last shall be first, and the first last." (Matthew 20:16). If you put yourself last, you will be exalted upward, if you put yourself first, you will be humbled.
John 15:13 sums this up with regards to the sacrifice of love within the context of relationships; No one shows greater love than when he lays down his life for his friends. In order to walk in love we all may need to make daily adjustments, behavior adjustments, and attitude adjustments. Remember those 3 special words you so commonly tell your relatives, your friends, and your spouse all the time? You say, I love you as you hang up the phone, you say I love you to your wife or husband as you walk out the door, and yet so often those words are not backed up by your sacrifices. I love you is an outward expression, do your actions show it today?