Soul Sculpting Project: The How of Loving One Another – Skill #1
It was the night before he died. These were some of his last words to the guys who had been with him though the thick of it. He didn’t mince words. He was clear and strong. Demanding, even. “This I command you,” he said, “love one another.”
Love one another. But how? In this conversation Jesus got real specific on the how of love. He said the greatest love you can have is to lay down your life for your friends. And Jesus went on to do this very act the next day.
We are not often in a position to lay down our life for our friends? Or are we?
Let’s dial the stakes way down and look at this question again. How could we give love by laying down our life for our friend? Today. Sitting at the table.
In this, and upcoming blogs, we will be exploring the topic of love and relationships.
How do we love each other? How do we develop thriving relationships?
Dr. John Gottman has been doing rigorous research on these questions since the 1970’s. Skills offered in this blog series are supported by this research. I invite you to join me as we develop a few skills in the How of Loving.
So back to our question. How could we give love by laying down our life for our friend?
What if we laid down our own agenda in life and focused our attention on our friend? Could that be a how to love?
What if we laid down our own life interests, for a few minutes, and listened to the interests of our friend? Could that be a how to love?
I think so.
Skill #1 in the How of Loving is the foundational skill of: Attention
We’ve all been in conversations where one of us was distracted. We can be distracted by our external world and we can be distracted by our internal world.
This Soul Sculpting project in the How of Loving is to develop our skills in giving attention.
Soul Sculpting Project: Giving Focused Attention
- In one conversation today give focused attention to the other person as they talk.
This may include:
- Removing external distractions (Put phone away, move to a quiet location, . . )
- Setting aside internal distractions. Turning our thoughts from our agenda and concerns to the concerns of the other.
- Using some eye contact
- Active listening (short verbal agreements)
According to Dr. John Gottman, most arguments in relationships are about a failure to connect emotionally. Attention creates Connection
Let each of you look not only to their own interests, but also to the interests of others. (Phil 2:4)