Something that is, when you get to think about it, fairly obvious but that hadn’t really hit me forcefully before is that one can only love to the degree that one is oneself loved. Perhaps a simpler way of stating this would be to say that if one has never received love then it’s awfully hard to give it or even to know how to.

A few years ago I had the honour of sozoing a lady who had been abused throughout her life, first by her father and then by her husband. She had no experience at all of being loved in any way that, hopefully, any of us reading this would recognise as being even mildly affectionate, let alone loving. She was desperate to be loved but equally desperate to be able to love. She just didn’t know how. She had no grid of experience.

Can you see how this might apply to Sozo for Couples? Most of us will have received at least a degree of affection from our parents (or whoever it was that brought us up) but unless we experienced parenting that overflowed with love and affirmation, with time invested in us and happy memories made, we’ll potentially not know how to give either spouse or children everything they need to feel loved.

I say “potentially” but the truth is that we have in Father God, Holy Spirit and Jesus the ultimate love-teachers! The lady I mentioned above knew she had to learn to love from scratch. She started knowing that God loved her passionately, that He was relentless in His pursuit of her, she just didn’t feel it. It took time, but she was determined to be open to Him and, over time, He gently filled her heart with His love so that she fully experienced what being loved was like. She then felt able to give it.

It’s a good idea to ask our spouses whether they feel loved by us. It’s possible that they know they’re loved, but don’t feel it … which is so true for the many of us who “know” we were loved by our parents but never really felt it. Sometimes we have to take lessons from The Master and learn how to love.

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