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What does love feel like?


What does love feel like? I mean, I feel the pain, the agony, and the hate when my parents order me around like a child, but I never feel the love whenever we do something happy or cheerful. What am I doing wrong not to feel it? óClueless.

Tiffany Answers:

Dear Clueless,

The first thing that we have to establish is that love isn’t a mere feeling. Feelings are ever-changing and very conditional. You could feel one way one second and quite the opposite the next. We are told that God is love. Why would God describe Himself as something that is so transient? Love is a deliberate, conscious decision to care for someone or some “ones,” to be concerned about their well-being and to make decisions according to their best interest.

There are days my husband and I will laugh and joke like we are little kids at Chuck E. Cheese’s, and there are times it feels as if he has found my last nerve and is standing right on it (believe me, I’m sure he can say the same about me). However, it does not change the fact that I love him dearly. That should not change on a whim of how I feel at the time.

Love will not always feel good. Romans 5:8 says that God loved us so much that He died for us, even as we were sinning and doing everything against Him. Who wants to love someone who goes against everything we believe in? And yet God does this for us.

Likewise, as individuals reflecting God’s love, we are called to love others, even when it doesn’t feel “good.” God commands us in Matthew 5:44 to love our enemies.
I don’t know about you, but the idea of loving those who talk bad about me doesn’t give me “warm fuzzies.” But we are called to love nonetheless.

So let’s talk about your situation with your family. Remember, to be good parents sometimes entails them making you do things that you don’t necessarily want to do. I can’t promise, but I have a pretty good assumption that the reason they “order you around” is that they are trying to mold you into a good and responsible member of society. Sometimes growing hurts, but it’s necessary for you to live up to your full potential. The very fact that they do this is evidence that they care. If they were just to allow you to do whatever, they would be doing you a disservice.

Now, the fact that your family has periods of happiness and cheer leads me to think that your family has its share of good times as well, which is balanced. I  have to admit that it’s a little hard to decipher what you mean when you say that you don’t “feel the love” during these times. Perhaps it means you don’t feel affection from your parents? I will say that lack of affection does not necessarily mean lack of love. Some people are born to be wonderfully affectionate people, while some are completely out of their element with being affectionate, but that certainly doesn’t mean that they don’t love.

I definitely think a talk is in order with your parents. Why? While I believe the love is there, it seems as if reconfirmation of this by your parents and an explanation of your feelings may be beneficial to you all. If it is truly affection that you feel lacking from your parents (and I strongly believe that’s the case), then they need to know that. Pray about it before you broach the topic.

The most direct method is to talk to them face to face. In a nonargumentative way, calmly say, “Hey, Mom and Dad, can we talk? I know you love me, but honestly, sometimes I don’t feel that.”

Method number two, if you can’t face them up front, is to write them a note or card, affirming your love for them but telling them how you feel. Another option is to have a trusted adult, such as a pastor, aunt, or uncle, help you convey your feelings to them.

Whatever method you choose, definitely open up those lines of communication. It can only serve to help you grow as a family. Also, be patient. While your parents may want to change for the better, it usually doesn’t happen overnight.
You have my prayers!

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