In the movie Dirty Dancing, Baby, who is undoubtedly her father’s favorite, decides to have a relationship with a guy is beneath her father’s standards for her. She doesn’t do it to hurt her father, or to disobey him, or to discredit him, or to dishonor him, or to disappoint him… she just finds herself in love with Johnny and she’s experiencing her first real, teenage love. In a tear-filled speech she tells her dad “There are a lot of things about me that aren’t what you thought. But if you love me, you have to love all the things about me. And I love you.”
Far too often… love is something we give only when our expectations have been met. When the other person did what we wanted, said what we wanted, responded how we wanted… and met our need and want… then we love them. Wholeheartedly we love them.
Until we don’t anymore because the next time they failed to give us what we wanted, do what we wanted, and meet our expectations.
Maybe, like Baby’s father, we’ve let them down too. Maybe we’ve said hurtful things. Maybe they had an expectation we didn’t meet. Maybe we did something that left a scar on their mind and heart…. we shouldn’t expect our actions and words to be overlooked if we aren’t willing to overlook their actions and words.
Relationships are give and take.
The problem is that we like to be the recipient when our focus should be on being the giver.
They wanted to cuddle on couch and watch a movie and you wanted to watch your favorite show.
They wanted to save money this month and you found something great on sale you just had to have.
They wanted relation time and you didn’t.
They were tired and got take-out and you wanted your favorite dinner.
Your favorite jeans aren’t clean.
Your car didn’t get washed like you hoped.
They’re dating somebody you don’t like.
They didn’t get the grade you hoped they’d get.
They didn’t earn the scholarship or accolade you wanted them to have.
They have a lifestyle you don’t like.
They like the president and you don’t.
We can always find a reason to withhold our love… but what if we focused on finding the reasons to keep giving it instead?
“Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.” (Romans 12:9-10, NLT)