A good friend of mine recently posted a video on her social media website. In the clip, her husband wrapped his arms lovingly around their dog and stroked the canine’s black coat of fur.
The pup whimpered, his eyes wide, pleading for someone—anyone—to rescue him from his master’s embrace.
The dog didn’t stop resisting my friend’s love until he was released, free to go and do as he pleased.
After watching the video, I realized I am a lot like their dog. Love resistant.
Like a raincoat, I button up my outer layer and let love roll off of me like water drops.
When I first started dating the man who is now my husband, it was hard for me to accept his love. He tends to show his affection through acts of service. You know, the typical romantic gestures like opening doors for a lady, cleaning dishes or a dirty bathroom, or surprising me by taking care of any bullet points on my long list of to-dos. The stuff most women swoon over when they watch them in chick flicks.
But I resisted.
I could open the car door by myself, thank you.
I was capable of keeping a house clean and orderly.
And I was certainly not willing to let anyone else check off my tasks for me.
I was responsible for all those things. They were my obligations. Not anyone else’s.
After resisting his love for years, he told me something that opened my eyes. And my heart.
“I really like doing those things for you,” he said. “I know you can do them yourself, but when you let me serve you, you’re showing me love by letting me do something I enjoy. You’re letting me love you.”
His words slapped me in the self-sufficient ego. I did want to be loved. And I wanted to love him to the best of my ability. So much so, I should have put it on my check list.
But I was love resistant, trained and programmed to resist the genuine kindness and self-sacrifice of others.
I was the whimpering puppy, suffering through others’ acts of love and charity.
As women, we’re pretty good at doing that—resisting love. Even if it’s just a quick compliment, we find ways to deflect and refute it. Like we’re not worthy.
But I’ve discovered something since I accepted my husband’s love: By letting him love me in his own way, I was building him up and opening myself.
You see, my husband grew confidence in serving me and could therefore love me more and love me better. While I, on the other hand, found new ways to love him, be grateful for him, and adopt his service-oriented heart in my relationships with others.
In other words, accepting his love helps me love him and others better.
After all, when cuddling your puppy (your child/spouse/etc.), wouldn’t you want him to enjoy your loving embrace and soft strokes? Wouldn’t it make you happy to love him in that way? But if he constantly resisted you, you wouldn’t get to love him as much or as well as you’d like.
We show love to others because we want them to feel it, to absorb it deep in their souls where it will last forever. We don’t want it to be rejected as it rolls off their layer of love resistance.
Kind of like God, I realize now. I’ve been resistant to His love for quite some time. Probably forever, even.
Over the years, He has tried to pull me into His arms in a fatherly embrace.
But all too often, I find myself whimpering, my eyes wide, pleading for someone—anyone—to rescue me from my Master’s embrace.
I don’t stop resisting His love until I’m released, free to go and do as I please. Then I wonder where He is. Does He not love me? Why don’t I feel His love?
But by letting Him love me in His own way, I’m opening myself up. Accepting His love helps me love Him and others better.
For the first time in what feels like forever, I reach toward my heart and begin unbuttoning the love resistant layer I’ve worn for so long, letting His love roll across my skin and seep deeply into my soul where it will last forever.