“Somewhere along the line, I learned that truly loving someone means getting inside his head; trying to make him a better person, attempting to influence his decisions, pushing him toward Christian maturity,” said my friend Leslie as we chatted about her past broken relationships.
“Now with God’s help, I’m learning to love in a more healthy way–standing alongside, supporting, accepting and validating thoughts and emotions instead of trying to change or fix them. I think I tried to over-love and it backfired on me.”
I identify. When I began to grasp this truth about love, God showed me that trying to get inside another’s thoughts or feelings in order to alter reactions and behavior is “breaking and entering.”It’s against God’s moral and spiritual law.
When I attempted to climb inside and change my husband’s beliefs, emotions or perceptions to either match my own or to make them become what I thought they should be, I impersonated the Holy Spirit. At the same time I gave the impression I didn’t think he was capable of taking care of himself. Once I understood this, I felt sad and genuinely remorseful.
So I ran to God, my gracious and loving Heavenly Father. When I admitted my misconceptions about love and my urge to control, He splashed me with forgiveness, joy and relief.
It took a little while longer for Richard and I to talk and renegotiate our relationship. It’s an ongoing journey and we’re in it together–sharing our wonderful (imperfect) love and life. (Hey, that almost sounds like a book title!)
Have you ever tried to over-love or over-help another? Or have you ever felt the smothering effects of over-care or over-control? What was it like?
Joan C. Webb
Writing, teaching, coaching to empower and set free.