More from the book Keep Your Love On by Danny Silk:
Do you want to win the battle between fear and love in your relationships? You can start by making these two fundamental commitments:
- It’s my job to control myself. I do not get to control other people.
- My number-one goal and priority in relationships is building and protecting connection.
These commitments are among the most powerful choices you can make, and they will require more of you than anything you can imagine. But the person you will become, and the relationships you will be capable of experiencing as a result, are absolutely worth the investment.
After making these commitments, you will need to acquire several skill sets in order to follow through with them. First, as we explored in the last chapter, you need to be able to communicate love consistently in ways that people can hear and receive. This sounds simple, but if you have grown up in a fear-based, love-starved relational culture, it can be revolutionary to break the silence and start actively communicating what has hitherto been one of your best-kept secrets: “I love you. My relationship with you is really important to me.”
It is common to uncover the fact that the individual was raised by a parent who wouldn’t or couldn’t say, “I love you.” Often, this person has spent their entire life blowing off this glaring omission, trying to accept “by faith” that his mother or father really loved them. “Oh, I know my dad loved me. He had a hard time saying it. He never said it to anybody. But I knew. He was my dad. He loved me.”
Of course, the person is sitting there because Dad’s silence allowed anxiety to persist in their relationship and weaken their connection. The pain of this disconnection is why the person is a mess.
If you want to cast out all the fear in your relationships, then you need to leave no room for doubt in people’s minds and hearts that you truly love them.
It’s amazing how much you can strengthen a relational connection and resolve relational problems by simply speaking in one another’s love languages. Each display of love, no matter how seemingly small, is a powerful act of spiritual warfare that removes anxiety from the environment, replaces it with freedom and safety, and invites each person to bring his or her best self forward in the relationship. Never forget that scared people are bound to show you their worst. People who feel loved, on the other hand, will usually show you their best.
As you manage your love toward others and pursue the goal of connection, you will need feedback so you can understand how you’re affecting them and identify where you need to make adjustments. You will also need to offer the same kind of feedback to them. This is where the second skill set for building connection comes in—communication. We will explore this skill set more fully in the second section of this book, but for now, I’ll say that healthy communication is all about providing someone with honest, relevant information about how their behaviour is affecting your life. It’s not about judging them or telling them how they need to change. It is about trusting them to do whatever they need to do to protect and nourish your connection and letting them know that you will do the same.
God practices healthy communication with you. In Psalm 32:8, David speaks for God thus: “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye.” (Psalm 32:8, NKJV) This sounds a little strange at first. How is God going to lead you with His eyeball? He can’t control you with His eyeball…and that’s the point. What He can do with His eye is show you how He feels about the choices you’re making and how they’re affecting His heart. The eyes are the windows to the heart. When God shows us how your choices affect His heart and your connection with Him, then you get to choose how you will respond to this information. Will you adjust, if necessary, in order to protect your connection with Him? That is the real test of a healthy relationship.
The third and final skill set you need in order to control yourself and pursue the goal of connection, which we will explore in the final section of the book, is a new plan for dealing with the things that threaten your connections. You need to have a punishment-free, control-free, fear-free plan for dealing with people who make mistakes, engaging in conflict, and setting healthy boundaries.
Your success in this plan is fully determined by how powerful you are willing to become. Will you become a person who can keep your love on, no matter what? A powerful person says, “I am going to be okay no matter what you do. You can hurt me, but you cannot make me turn my love off. I am relentlessly going to do what I have to do to protect my connection with you, no matter what.” When you can say and do this in the face of fear, mistakes, and pain, you have already won the battle between fear and love.
From Keep Your Love On, by Danny Silk.