Thursday, February 14, 2013

Relationships: Valentine's All Year Round!

I do love the concept of Valentine's Day.  A day meant for LOVE.  However, I think there are problems with simply having ONE day devoted to LOVE.

For one, the expectation is that our loved ones will go above and beyond, only to sometimes experience disappointment because they did not meet the expectation.

Two, why should we only celebrate love just one day a year?  Or two days, if you count sweetest day?  God commands us to love one another.  Not just one day a year, but all year round.

What is your LOVE life like?  I don't mean just with your significant other.  I mean also with your family and friends, even your enemies.  After all, didn't Jesus also say that we must LOVE our enemies?  Sometimes loving the people in our lives can be draining, but with God we have the capability to love so much more.  It just pours out of us. Are you showing the people in your life how much you love them everyday through your actions?

Over the past year, I have had the privilege of working with teenagers.  As much as I love it, I can also see how much hate and lack of love there is among them and how destructive it is.  If you are heading down a destructive path, you do have a choice to make a change.  God promises to be by our side all the time, if we let Him.  Even if you don't have a spouse, their are many others who you could love.  As mentioned before, God COMMANDS us to LOVE one another and Himself.  If you have no one to love, let God be your LOVE.

I would like to mention that there are also health benefits to LOVE.
  1. Helps Improve Immune System - Engaging in positive conflict resolution actually improves your immune system.  However, if you tend to stonewall or retreat from conflict without resolving it, you could actually be damaging your immune system.  I think of the verse Ephesians 4:26 where it says, "In your anger, do not sing.  Do not let the sun go down on your anger."  
  2. You may become more physically fit - Couples who workout together tend to workout harder and they tend to stick with it.  Walking is a fantastic way to spend time together and get fit and be able to stick with it.  
  3. You may live longer - studies have shown that married couples have more longevity.  They experience less stress when they are in a committed  healthy relationship.  Ephesians 5 shows us how to be in a healthy relationship.
  4. Clearer skin - Believe it!  If you are in a happy relationship, you have less cortisol which means less acne and clearer skin.  That's something new to me.
  5. Improves Heart Health - When you are less stressed, your heart is much healthier.  When you are in an unstable relationship or are even widowed, there is a higher risk for heart disease.
  6. Reduce feelings of pain - Both physically and mentally.
  7. It Heals Wounds - There was actually a study done on patients that had blisters.  Those who had a good loving relationship in their life actually healed 2 days faster than those who did not.  So when you are ill, you want your loved ones nearby to help with your healing. "In sickness and in health. . ."  Turning away from them for selfish reasons such as your desire to protect others may actually hurt you as well as your loved ones.  Let them be there to comfort and love you in any way they can.
  8. Better Brain Health - All kinds of relationships can help in this area.
  9. There is actually a Cuddle Hormone - It's called oxytocin and it helps lower blood pressure.
Ok, so there is not direct linkage to weight loss, but my experience has been that when you have less stress in your life, it won't be long before you see those pounds start to melt away.  This year, challenge yourself to find ways to love someone in your life every single day.  Not just on Valentine's Day!

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