Have you ever been bowling? Not my favorite pastime, but maybe it’s one of yours. The last time I went bowling with my family, which was back in the day before automatic computer scoring, you had to memorize a complicated formula – or trust someone else to do the math.
- A strike earns 10 points plus the sum of your next two shots.
- A spare earns 10 points plus the sum of your next one shot.
- An open frame only earns the number of pins knocked down.
And if that isn’t complicated enough …
- If you roll a strike in the first shot of the 10th frame, you get 2 more shots.
- If you roll a spare in the first two shots of the 10th frame, you get 1 more shot.
- If you leave the 10th frame open after two shots, the game is over and you do not get an additional shot.
- The score for the 10th frame is the total number of pins knocked down in the 10th frame.
So what does that have to do with your relationship?
The Apostle Paul said, Love keeps no record of wrongs. But we all do – at least at some level. Human love is imperfect. Paul’s description of love in 1 Corinthians 13 is aspirational. Love is direction we can choose and a goal that’s always out there ahead of us. Sometimes we bowl a strike. Sometimes we roll that big black ball right into the gutter. I was especially adept at the latter. Probably because I rarely bowled. With practice, I might have improved. But I didn’t like to bowl, much less want to become a bowling champion. I know. Sour grapes, right?
Love is a choice, an aspiration, and something we choose to practice every day.
Despite Paul’s admonition, we do keep score. Our bodies keep score. Our brains record and evaluate everything and everyone – often unconsciously. Which makes our scoring system even more complicated than keeping score in bowling. We may think we’re doing well, but our computerized score tells a different story. Our score in the next frame, that is the next day, is affected by what happened the day before.
In reality, what happened in last 3 days affects what happens today.
It’s not just about how you intentionally treated your loved one, but also how you were treated. But it doesn’t’ end there.
How well you love today is also affected by what happened in other interactions with humans, real or virtual. What happened at work matters, as well as what you ate, how much you moved your body, and how well you slept.
Instead of beating yourself up or blaming your mate, you need to recognize all the contributing factors, the confounding variables in your love experiment.
Before you decide you’re a victim of your circumstances, take a good long look at the full scope of your daily life.
- Make a list of everything that’s making life hard right now.
- Then put a checkmark by the things you could change, given the right tools and strategies.
Does that sound overwhelming?
Well, my friend, it’s highly likely you are already overwhelmed. You’ve left the complicated daily scoring to your unconscious processes. Your brain is tallying the score, and it doesn’t look good. Your brain’s job to keep you alive, to make sure you survive. That means you are flying on autopilot. I know I’m mixing metaphors again, but that’s what I do, okay?
Your brain is an organ designed to conserve energy.
Your brain processes the data and directs you into self-protection. You avoid or you get angry. You move away or you move against. You think and act like victim or defensively attack like a villain.
That’s where Paul’s words come in to remind you life doesn’t have to be that way.
You can consciously choose to love. Not by brute strength nor a sheer act of your own will, but by renewing your mind. That means you need to learn how to see things from a divine perspective, knowing the truth about yourself and your loved one. Renewing your mind will transform your life. That takes effort. Teamwork. And I’m here to help.