Love People

When Love Becomes Manipulation

Photo by Anete Lusina on

Something important to consider when giving the gift of love is motive. People are motivated by many things, although not all intentions are pure. For this reason, we must examine our hearts to see what our true intentions are when we love others. The reasons for giving love are often born out of something within us that we cannot always explain. It is often described by a feeling, although love is meant to play out even when we do not feel like loving.

Gifting love can easily result in a form of deception. That is why we must always remember; love is not manipulation. Early on, we discover that our actions can bring about a desirable result in another person. In some ways, this is a good thing. It fails when their desired behavior does not align with our expectations. It is then we alter our own behavior towards them because they failed us in some way. We then decide that they no longer deserve the love we give them.

Suddenly, “love” becomes manipulation. Using love to manipulate others can be a most despicable thing. Everything comes down to whether this gifting of love is genuine and from the heart. Even then, it can manipulate unintentionally. The point is, there is a belief system that says, “I’ll do this… but only as long as you do that.” In the marketplace, we call that business. A transaction takes place in which both parties are meant to walk away satisfied from the exchange, both having benefited. That works great for business!

It seems terrible for a marriage. There must be a strong reason people embed both ends of the spectrum into their wedding vows. Sooner or later, life is going to get jacked up in some way and most people do not want to be left wondering where their boo went. I’ve heard numerous people say there were even times they could not stand their spouse. That is when the giving of love must not cease. When the flow of love stops, much like stopped blood that delivers oxygen through the body, bad things happen. Life sustaining love is blocked up and the relationship could end tragically. 

The same is true for other important relationships, like family. If such love is conditional, will it be quickly lost after an unmet need? A chore that went undone? An unfinished task? One bad deed can usher in the temptation to reward it with an equal, if not worse, punishment. Thus, love can be choked out of the relationship.

The good news is that it doesn’t have to be. Love can flourish, even in the worst of times. But it must always flow, at least in one direction. Only then can the relationship survive. It might take time, but as that love reaches into all the right places, it will do its thing. Real love is so powerful.

Look up 1 Cor 13:4-8 for a great reminder of what love is like. Treat it like a test. If you are in violation of any of the things listed there, take a second look at your gift of love, and work until you get it right.

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