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How to choose love over lust in everyday life

Lust is simple. We frequently lust after objects, ideas, and people without even realizing it.

On the other side, love is challenging. To be in love is to decide to wish someone the best. It pushes us to look beyond ourselves and is selfless. Love is what elevates a relationship above a casual hookup and creates a genuine sense of intimacy. Love is putting oneself out there instead of focusing mostly on receiving. Physical actions of love become acts of objectification in the absence of genuine love. These connections and the activities that occur within them lose their authenticity and significance.

How do we break free from this pattern and see people around us more honorably and lovingly as God’s children?

Here are five ways:

DEAR FUTURE SPOUSE LETTERS

Writing letters, especially when tempted to lust over someone or something, brings your attention directly back to the love you want to nurture for your future. Keeping all the letters in one journal, notebook, or even blog, allows you to look back on them when temptation is strong and also gives you the opportunity to give those letters to your future spouse.

ACTIVELY AVOID PORNOGRAPHY

Pornography is poison to any relationship. While it’s a given that it shouldn’t be watched, it’s also important to not be complacent when faced with the “soft” porn that is rampant throughout our culture. Songs that almost always end with sex, the objectification of men and women in advertisements, and movies and shows that completely disregard the idea of waiting for marriage are so common that we don’t always notice the messages they’re sending. By being aware and avoiding these, you are preparing your mind and soul to be better for your future spouse.

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EMOTIONAL CHASTITY

My first real relationship, with a high school boyfriend, was really a relationship built on lust. Dates were based on how quickly we could get back to his house to be alone to make out. While I did admire him, I put him on too high a pedestal and didn’t allow myself to see the in authenticity and shallowness of our relationship. I emotionally lusted after him, planning our life together while he was planning our breakup. Communicating about where your relationship is and where it is going can help you both to be aware of where you are in the relationship, and where you both want to go.

Valentine's day. Couple gives heart to the Valentine's Day in the room.
How to choose love over lust in everyday life

LITTLE THINGS THAT ADD UP TO BIG THINGS

My parents began dating in their sophomore year of high school and are still madly in love to this day. They have fun together, they communicate, and they see in each other the best version of themselves. They still pay attention to the little things. When things are very busy, they take time for date night — something I’ve adopted into my life and relationship as well. They are each other’s best friend, and always strive to be better for the other. These small actions — making time for each other and trusting each other enough to always communicate clearly and honestly — promote a relationship in which the whole person is cherished.

BE VIGILANT

Now that I’ve fallen in love with someone who’s my best friend, my confidant and my biggest supporter, I see the importance of continually assessing the authenticity of a relationship and why you’re in it. It’s a good idea to ask yourself important questions, such as: “Am I doing this for pleasure or as an expression of my love?” and “Is this love or lust?” and then not to hesitate to share the answers with each other. Being open and honest about where you both are in your battle to choose love over lust can help shape the foundation of a loving, other-centred relationship.

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It is in giving that we receive, and by giving our relationships to God and giving of our energy, time, and commitment to those relationships, we might receive the gift of a loving and successful relationship.

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