36
133

A Beautiful Life: Discovering the Freedom of Selfless Love

“Love” is a word that is frequently used in today’s world, and yet seems to be little understood. I might talk about a book I loved reading or a place I loved visiting. Then I might say that I love my husband and daughters. We watch as celebrities fall in love and then fall out of love. We might have even seen that happen within our own families or circles of friends, or in our own relationships. So what is love? And why are we so obsessed with it finding it?

31 Days to a Happy Husband: Day 10 - Love Selflessly

That’s the topic of Kerry Clarensau’s new book A Beautiful Life: Discovering the Freedom of Selfless Love. While Kerry’s book is about relationships in general, and not just the relationship between a husband and wife, I found her book to be eye-opening as I considered the way I love my husband.

Kerry begins by talking about how we were created for love and for relationships. She says, “You function best when you are loving and being loved” and uses Scripture and scientific research to back that up. Then she goes on to show that love is not optional—God is love and calls us to love. In fact, the way we love others reveals our love for God, as we see in the oft-told story of the Good Samaritan.

“I’m a parent. And being a parent, I know the fastest way to love me is to love my children. I also know the fastest way to make me angry is to mistreat my children. … I think God feels the same. I believe all of us need to think more carefully about how we treat God’s children.” ~ A Beautiful Life

Kerry Clarensau's book A Beautiful Life: Discovering the Freedom of Selfless LoveToo often, however, we treat love as a feeling, especially within marriage. We’re only loving if we “feel” like it. And I can say (as I’m sure you can), that there are lots of times in my marriage when I haven’t felt like loving my husband (or my kids). However, that’s precisely when God calls us to love them—to make love an action, rather than a feeling. As Kerry explains,

Consider the positive cycle you could set in motion by choosing to act in a loving way, even when you didn’t feel like it. Let’s say you have a conflict with your husband. Both of you walk away from the conflict with negative feelings toward each other that lead to more negative thoughts. … If both of you respond to your negative feelings about each other by acting in negative ways, you’ll add fuel to the fire of those negative feelings, and the conflict can last a lifetime.

On the other hand, what if you choose to act in a way that’s counter-intuitive and counter-cultural? What if you choose to do the opposite of what you feel? Maybe he is being unreasonable and insensitive, but you choose to act loving toward him anyway (trust me, I know that’s hard). Suddenly, his feelings toward you change, which changes his thoughts about you, which changes his actions. Now you’re fueling the fire of positive feelings, rather than negative ones!” ~ A Beautiful Life

I gotta say… Wow. That’s a huge idea. Totally not popular. I’ve been surprised, as I’ve been writing this series, how many people have commented to say, “But what about the husband?” Yes, I know—for years, I also pointed fingers at my husband. I read marriage books and then put them down and said, “Well, I’m not gonna do that unless he does it too.” But guess what? You don’t need to wait for him to do anything! YOU can love him first and start a positive cycle instead of a negative cycle!

“When a wife thinks more about her husband’s wants, needs and desires than she thinks about her own—and the husband does the same—they discover great intimacy over time.” ~ A Beautiful Life

Kerry is honest throughout the book about some of her own struggles to love others and how God taught her through His Word about how He wants us, as His children, to love those around us. She shares Scriptures and stories from other women to illustrate what she’s talking about. She talks about loving those who are hard to love (and how it’s often hardest to love those who are closest to us, like our spouses) and yet also shows the rewards that come when we do demonstrate selfless love.

“But when we do everything we can, with what we have, for those in need—especially those closest to us—our marriages change, our relationships thrive, the walls fall down, and we feel more alive, beautifully alive!” ~ A Beautiful Life

I don’t know about you, but I want that! I want a beautiful life. And in this book, Kerry gives me the tools to create that life for myself. Each chapter is short, so it’s easy to sit down for five or ten minutes at the beginning or end of the day to read and reflect on loving. Each section in the book ends with discussion questions to journal or talk about, as well as a personal challenge to apply the principles Kerry has shared.

Kerry Clarensau is a wife, mom, grandma, credentialed minister, author and international speaker. You can find out more about her and her other books (including several marriage resources) by following her on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.

31 Days to a Happy Husband

This post contains affiliate links; as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. I received this book for review courtesy of the publicist; all opinions expressed are my own.

Show Comments

One Response

  1. Dawn October 18, 2014

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.