Blog Archives

A Gift to Remember

gift

A few years ago, I visited my grandmother one afternoon after she had taken a weekend trip to New York. After asking her how her trip had been, hearing about how my family was doing in that neck of the woods, and just an overall report on New York itself, she  proceeded to reach over to her night stand and handed me a small container, about the size of my palm and in the shape of a guitar. Elvis’s face was painted on and Hard Rock Café’s logo was scrawled across the front. “Do you like this?” she asked me. I nodded and held my hand out to receive her gift. A pack of mints. That pack of mints still sits on my bedside table, plastic sealing still in tact to this day. Boy, did I hold on to those mints like they were diamonds.

Isn’t it special when someone gives you a gift? There’s even a specific love language for it: receiving gifts. But people whose love language it is to receive gifts are getting a bad rep. Sometimes others think that they’re being superficial and materialistic. But the gifts that this group receives aren’t really about the item itself. It’s not that I’m holding on to those mints for a special occasion or I think there’s a hidden prize inside, but that simple item had so much meaning behind it. My grandmother has over 20 grandchildren, but only 1 pack of mints, and she gave it to me. To ME!

When you come across someone whose love language is receiving gifts there’s one important thing to remember: be thoughtful. Have joy when you are giving this person a gift and they will have joy upon receiving it. After all, they have just as much joy giving as well. A tangible sign of “I love you” goes a long way, even if it’s something like a flower picked off the ground. They see it and they know, “this is mine because you loved me enough to give it to me.”

See, people who enjoy receiving gifts aren’t looking for expensive jewelry or an outrageous car; they are looking to see the heartfelt action. They need to see things to know you care. Having that tangible item in their possession, that tangible sign of your affection,  will give them a feeling that will last for years to come.

So if you see something across your path today that reminds you of your loved one, if it brings you as much joy as your loved one does, give it to them. You never know what kind of impact it can make.

Learn more on Advice4Life by clicking here.

Winning In the Name of Love

race

Do you ever want to win so bad that you’re just not winning at all? We always have this need to be right, to be on top, to be vindicated. But what if it costs us more than we bargained for? What if it costs us our love?

Al and Aisha Laws got together with real couples to discuss what makes relationships work. Whether you’ve been with your spouse for 5 years, 25, or 55… the answer was the same. To make it work you have to lay yourself down. That is, be ready to not win. Be ready to sacrifice.

We’ve all been there. Our partner said  or did something wrong and all of a sudden we’re up in arms. And if you’re like me then 9 times out of 10, you choose to sit there and be angry. And if you’re really like me, then you let that anger boil for hours… maybe even days. But when the teapot tips over, what was it even for? I never won. Half the time I even forgot what I was mad at in the first place. Then you find yourself in the confusing situation of being mad “for nothing.” But most of us will never admit it will we? You see, we’re so stuck in this place of unforgiving. This place where we justify our own actions because we are right and no one else can be right if we’re right… right? But if you’re sitting right across from the person you love, glaring at each other, not speaking, your only exchanges curt and cold… who’s in the right? Why did you need to be right?

When we want to win, we often draw strength from our anger. We believe that our anger will propel us to our desired destination – justification. But if you can’t stop, take a breath, and take a look to see where we’re really going, do you end up where you really want to be?

The need to have your own way, the stomping of the feet, the pushing people on the playground – that might have been okay at 4 years old. But when we are in a place of growth, childish things and childish ways must be put aside. Love requires growth. Growth has no place for tantrums. Love has no place for tantrums. So when we put away our childish things, what will be the first we grab? Our pride, our entitlement. Because if you’re not ready to make someone else’s well-being your priority, then you’re not ready to love. You’re not ready to enter into a space of commitment. The real commitment in a relationship is to serve. It’s time to grow up and serve the God you see in your partner and the love that has been entrusted to you. And when you look at your partner and feel happiness and strength … isn’t when you really win?

Listen to the podcast here.

 

The Responsibility to Love

Love ResponsibilityResponsibility. We all know we have them. We have them at home, we have them at school, we have them at work, and we also have them… in our relationships. Sure, we hate taking out the trash, we don’t really feel like going to that morning meeting, we’re too tired to finish that homework. But what seems to be the hardest responsibility of all? It’s the basic responsibility to love someone else fully and wholeheartedly.

This essentially isn’t complicated at all. We see someone, we like them, we date them, we love them, and the rest is history. So how do we manage to botch this system up? We have these things called feelings. And in these feelings we have something called fear, hurt, mistrust. And there, ladies and gentlemen, is why we shy away from our primary responsibilities to one another.

This isn’t entirely our own fault. History and society has conditioned men and women to be a certain way and act a certain way – despite any emotion that is fighting its way to come out. Men have been conditioned to believe that it is an honor to have many women at their disposal. Women have been conditioned to be prepared for hurt. But in reality, men have a responsibility to honor the woman God has given them in their lives. Women have the responsibility to submit – submit their entire heart to the man she loves.

Of course, it doesn’t always pan out the way we planned. Someone is bound to hurt someone else and we carry those feelings with us whether we like to or not. So we shy away from our responsibilities in a relationship. Men put up a front and women put up a guard – doing an injustice to ourselves in prohibiting ourselves to experience the love God intends for us.

And here are just a few pointers if you’re thinking that all this responsibility isn’t really your thing:

You don’t have to think of this as a chore. When you choose to love someone, accept that you love them, you begin to respond naturally in love. Always choose a place of love.

If you fear vulnerability, think of giving yourself to God, rather than another person. When you truly believe that this is the life that God intends for you, your strength will come from Him in times of need. He will refortify any faltering faith you may have had in your partner.

Be committed to love, no matter how what your partner does. Don’t be quick to get angry, just as the Bible says. Always respond from a place of love.

Listen to the Advice4Life podcast here: http://advice4life.podbean.com/

Be Social

socialWe’ve probably never thought about this, but it’s important to be social. Now, I don’t mean that we need to go out and make friends with everyone we meet or going out to parties and being the center of attention. While those are fun and definitely being social, what I mean is to be social with your partner.

So many times we get stuck thinking about what’s not working and what’s making us upset about another person. If you ask me, that’s a pretty destructive way of thinking. Instead of talking about issues every day, why not talk about something fun? Each day, make it a point to talk to your partner about what makes you happy. Take time to laugh and joke. Take time to learn about interests, then go DO that. Do more of that. Relationships are a lot of work, but don’t forget to have fun.

When you take the time to be social rather than jump to the issues that you may have, you are telling your partner, “Hey, I’m patient enough to have this time with you.” You may not realize it, but taking that time speaks volumes in a relationship. While relationships aren’t all fun and games, it’s helpful to start on a light note before you get into the nitty gritty. That’s what reminds the both of you that love will always come first.

Listen to the Advice4Life podcast here: http://advice4life.podbean.com/

 

Love Asks for Nothing

love-1340263Love asks nothing of another person, but to be exactly who they are – no what ifs, no maybes, not buts. When we are in relationship with another person, it is a habit to project unrealistic expectations on another person. As human beings, we always want to be in control – be in control of what people say and do because that is who we expect them to be. Just because this is what we WANT, this is what we are LOOKING for, this is what we are ASKING for. At that point we have to stop and ask ourselves, do we love this person or the person they could be. Remember, drama mostly derives from our own thoughts and feelings, not purely on what someone else has done. Very quickly, you can become the very thing you are trying to combat.

The true fruit of the Holy Spirit is self control. We must have the ability to look within ourselves and know our thoughts, feelings, intentions, and actions. This self control and self awareness yields itself to stronger communication and relationship. During a disagreement, try describing how you feel with ONE word. This is all it takes. From there, you will empower yourself and empower the individual listening to you. Once you are aware of your own thoughts and feelings, find a way to communicate them. Contrary to popular belief, we are not all mind readers. So go ahead and try it, “I feel…”

Once we know ourselves, we are able to see our partner in a completely different light. While we are able to accept them as they are, they are able to understand and accept us. It’s freeing to know the only expectation at this point is the promise to love faithfully and deeply as God asks us to.

Listen to the #Advice4Life podcast here!

It’s Easy to Love the Lovely

kissingLet’s say you pick a flower, it’s in full bloom with bright colors that catch all the right sunlight. It’s easy to want to have that flower, it’s easy to think that flower is beautiful. It’s easy to love that flower. Because who wouldn’t love the lovely? Now what if you picked a flower that was a bit brown on the edges, petals a tad shriveled. It’s still a flower, isn’t it? Is it still beautiful? Is it still lovely?

We are only human. We can’t smile and laugh and have our hair perfect all the time. We won’t always say the right things or do the right things. We’re not going to be able to control our reactions when we are disappointed, upset, angry, or sad. We will never be perfect. But what do we want? Someone who loves us perfectly. Just as God does.

When we are in a relationship that is strong and true, we are asking our partner to love us through our faults and shortcomings; all the while, trusting that they do this without being asked. So if this is what we want, how can we not expect the same from our partner? When we have chosen to love someone, we are making the commitment to remove judgement from ourselves AND judgement for another person. We are called to extract and  celebrate the good and beauty that is inherent in each person. In turn, the good and beauty within us will also be brought to light.

So the next time we find ourselves not giving our very best to another person – whether it’s because we have been offended or hurt – know that on the other side, someone else is loving our imperfections. Just as we must love them.

 

Listen to the Advice4Life podcast here: http://advice4life.podbean.com/

Love is Kind

weddingLoving is tough when you’re angry. But that’s when it counts the most. When you’re experiencing any other emotion besides the pleasant ones and you’re still able to make your decisions from a place of love? You’ve mastered a very difficult skill.

It takes a lifetime to learn how to love. Everyone may think it’s just easy… Person A meets Person B. Person A and Person B fall in love. Person A and Person B spend the rest of their lives together. Nope, that’s not how it works. There are ups and downs and it’s how you handle these situations that really show your love for another person.

Why are you arguing in the first place? Why are you angry? When you are angry, seeing red, and quivering, there is a natural defense of building walls that defend your heart. When that happens, get yourself to a safe place. Walk away, make a sandwich, go for a walk. Do whatever it takes to step back and remain non-injurious.  When you find yourself in an argument, you must remember first and foremost that you LOVE the other person and it should never be your intention to hurt them. One way you can see this through is to be aware of what you are feeling and why. It’s also important to understand what your partner is really saying to you, not what you think they’re saying.

It’s important to remember that there can’t only be one person constantly fighting to make something work. Are you going to look in the mirror and be happy with the way you responded to a situation? Learn to love yourself so that you may fully love another person.

Listen to the podcast here: http://advice4life.podbean.com/e/how-to-stay-in-love-part-3-al-aisha-laws/

 

Be In Love

shutterstock_98629505“Love is not a maybe thing.” This statement becomes more and more significant as the years go on. To love someone is to make a very important decision. Saying “I love you” is a tremendous statement. Love is not child’s play.

Al Laws, Aisha Laws, and Gregg Harris dig further and share their insight on how to stay in love. Being in love is the giving of your entire self – no ifs, ands, or buts. Love not only has to do with the feelings you have toward another person, but your level of maturity to go beyond yourself and your needs, your own happiness to ensure the health and happiness of another. Unless you are ready to serve another person before yourself, you are not ready to love.

Love is a powerful thing. It’s no wonder that some people can be scared of it. Never be afraid to love. Never be afraid to give another the best of you. At the end of the day, that really is all expressing love really is. See a person for who they truly are without projecting your own thoughts and feelings of who you want them to be. Once you do this, your role in the relationship will become that much clearer.

Mr. Laws shares a controversial truth about relationship: The man is the pursuer of love. It is the husband’s responsibility to look within his wife’s heart and draw out her needs. If a man goes into a relationship wanting to be served rather than being ready to serve, he has already missed the entire point of love. Men have been programmed to not be vulnerable and give that part of themselves, but as a man, that is what will take your relationship to another level. Enter into a relationship with the mentality to s
erve and you have one of the strongest foundations.

Listen to the podcast here: http://advice4life.podbean.com/

When You Fall in Love…

shutterstock_103329050“Love is something we were sent here to do, that is our prime directive.” – Al Laws, Jr. #Advice4Life

Being in love is  very complex. It has a way to make the entire world beautiful, but can put you in a constant state of turmoil all at the same time. Sometimes you say I love you with sweet words or sometimes you say I love you with simple gestures. Love can feel like that funny feeling in your stomach or that cloudiness in your head. Either way, one thing is for certain all across the board – being in love is work. This week, Al Laws bring his wife. Aisha, on Advice4Life to share her thoughts on how to stay in love.

It’s no secret that the “honeymoon” phase is the most fun. Everything is just so new and exciting! It’s easy to see the most beautiful things in a person during this time and it’s easy to put forth only the beautiful things within yourself. However, eventually the honeymoon comes to an end and you are left to make a very conscious decision – are you in it to win it? “When you love someone, you automatically have a responsibility,” Ms. Aisha Laws reminds us. We have a responsibility toward the other person AND we have a responsibility to ourselves.

There are a few things we need to remember when we are in love. First, before we can love another , we must be able to love ourselves and we cannot do that until we understand how God loves us. The second is to be able to trust your vulnerabilities to another person – when we say we love someone, God is testing us to see what we will manifest when these insecurities show up. Will it truly be love? Third, we have to make ourselves open and available to love – just let it in! Lastly, while we keep our hearts open, we must remember to protect the temples that are our bodies. What good is a spirit of love without something to house it in? This means you have the human right to keep yourself safe and protected physically.

There’s so much more to love than the fluttery feeling inside of you. Help it thrive by creating depth and substance.

Listen to the podcast here: http://advice4life.podbean.com/

Loving the Differences

As we talked about many months ago, there is no such thing as a cookie cutter family. All families come in different shapes and sizes, but there is always love. Every now and then, you might wish that your family was “normal”, but in reality it’s what makes you all different that enables you to love that much deeper and that much stronger. No family is perfect and there is not one family that is immune to their own issues and trials. It’s important to remember to work together as a unit and remember that as a family, you are a team. Take a look at this family’s special story – one that is full of love and learning. And let’s always remember to show our own families our love and support each and every day and take a few heartfelt moments to spend time with your loved ones.