I’ve heard women make the statement, “I love hard”. What does that mean? What prompted this saying? Hearing women say this, I first imagine it’s just a saying for how loyal the woman has been to a man and how deeply she loves in a romantic relationship. However, I can’t help but to notice the sense of melancholy or bitterness that seems to tag along with that statement. It’s as if it’s spoken as a caution for loving the person who says it, or as a pass for men to give a woman a hard time. Hearing women repeat it never sits right with me. I’ve heard a few men say it as well. Maybe I’ve said this myself at some point in my life because it’s simply been the thing to say when love hasn’t gone the way we’ve hoped–especially after giving everything of ourselves.
Remember, Romans 13:10 states, “Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” This is the love God intends for us as women. What’s the point in “loving hard” if we end up sad and bitter? So I pose these questions: What types of men are we choosing to make us feel we have to love hard? How are we defining love? Where have we gained our ideas and patterns concerning love and marriage? Why do we try to love without proper screening? Sensibly, if a man makes it hard to love him, he’s saying he isn’t ready for commitment, and that should be respected. I’ve had to learn this.
It’s highly unfair for women to place romantic expectations on men who have clearly shown a lack of investment and shared vision in a relationship. A woman should recognize if she’s doing this. Some men still need emotional healing and haven’t submitted themselves to the Lord regarding what it means to biblically love a woman. Why bother with a man (no matter how fine, financially stable or funny), who doesn’t feel as strongly about you and your life as you do about him and his life? Instead of respecting men for who they are, we covet them and attempt to mold them into what we desire then get mad and call them children when they act otherwise. We can make loving someone who’s selfish and stiff-necked a romantic goal or a badge of honor. That’s dysfunctional! We “love hard” and fight and pray to win over hearts that don’t belong to us and it only makes us bitter, hurt, hopeless and possibly even act more carelessly. We only drain ourselves emotionally. Something in us must change toward the Lord.
In a nutshell, we end up “kicking against the goads” as Jesus mentioned to Paul in Acts 26:15. In the desire to fight on behalf of what he thought to be the truth, Paul was actually hurting himself and acting outside of God’s will. To kick against the goads was when the oxen in the field would kick an attached thingamajig hooked on their legs for prodding. When the oxen wanted to do their own thing and kick the goads it would cause them to be jabbed sharply with more pain instead! We do that very thing to ourselves when fighting for the wrong men. The Lord has set parameters to guide us along in His will for our good, yet we attempt to do our own thing and end up hurting ourselves even further, then get sad about it. We “love” men with our own selfish ambitions. How is this love? When will we learn to be patient and follow the will of the Lord? Phillipians 2:3 says to “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit…”
Jesus said, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30. If a man doesn’t open himself to you in this spirit then run. And if you’re married to a man who doesn’t open himself to you then run to your prayer closets and the scriptures for the wisdom of God. I hope this encourages us to consider who we yoke ourselves with, and with what motives, so as not to hurt ourselves and others in the end saying how we “loved hard” or loved too much.