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What's New:

  • The 2018 Conquer Conference: Be Brave, Grow Strong tickets are here. This event happening October 2018, will be amazing. You can click here for more information.
  • Join me as I do a FB Live on Thursday 2/15 at 12:15 PM ET. I want to continue our discussion about how to repair a broken relationship.

True Love? What is it?

By Leslie Vernick

Many people grow up learning about romance and relationships from TV Reality shows like the Bachelor or the Bachelorette. We all enjoy seeing love blossom, magical dates and romantic proposals. But after 21 seasons of the Bachelor, only one Bachelor is married to the woman he chose on the show. Sean Lowe married Catherine Giudici. Falling in love is easy for most people. Staying in love over the long haul is much, much harder.

As a Christian counselor and coach I see many couples who struggle to keep their marriages intact because of erroneous assumptions about the true meaning of love.

In the spirit of Valentines Day, I thought I’d clarify what genuine love is and how it behaves.

I often tell people that I love pizza. Or I love to play pickleball. I also love my children and grandchildren. I love my husband and my God. Are all my loves the same? What about people who love to do drugs? Love money? Love power or love getting away with doing bad things? Love is an inadequate word to describe all of these feelings and actions. The Eskimos have 22 different words for love. English has only one. When someone says, “I love you” what does that really mean? Does it mean I enjoy you? What happens when I don’t enjoy you anymore? When you’ve gotten boring or had a hard day and don’t act very fun or wonderful to be around? Does that mean I don’t love you anymore?

Sometimes I think what someone really means when he or she tells someone “I love you” is “I love the way you make me feel”. “You bring me pleasure”. “You turn me on”. “You make me feel good about myself.”

And the downside to that kind of love is when you fail to do those things for me, I no longer feel love for you. Perhaps I never loved you at all. What I really loved was you loving me.

Many people are not really looking for someone to love, but for someone to love them. But then again what does that mean? Does it mean when someone loves you that he or she always indulges your every wish? That he or she does everything you want? Does real love ever hurt or feel bad? Is genuine love always full of stars and songs and warm fuzzy feelings?

The Bible tells us “this is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers”. What does that look like among mere mortals?

The Bible tells us. It says, “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” (1 John 3:16-20).

True love is not a feeling, although those fluttery feelings are wonderful. The Bible says that love behaves a certain way. Below are 10 action phrases that define and describe true love. True love is always:

  1. Action-oriented, not empty promises or flowery words.

  2. Truthful not flattering or deceptive.

  3. Sacrificial not self-centered: (Sacrificing yourself for the right choice – the beloved’s good, not just to be a martyr of someone else’s foolishness).

  4. A gift. Not a reward for someone’s good behavior.

  5. Fighting for the welfare of the relationship, not for one’s own way.

  6. Respecting differences and values the beloved.

  7. Forgiving, even when forgetting or trusting again isn’t possible or wise.

  8. Admitting wrong, not only with words but with actions that are consistent with repentance.

  9. Seeking the good of the other, allowing and applauding his or her growth.

  10. Committed to the best interests of the beloved, not just the momentary satisfaction of getting one’s felt needs met.

True love is tough to sustain. It’s hard work. And we can’t do it without God’s love filling us, empowering us, and equipping us.


Cherish: The One Word That Changes Everything for Your Marriage

By Gary Thomas

“Most marriages survive by gritting teeth and holding on. But marriages can and will not only survive but thrive when husbands and wives learn to cherish one another.”

Those are the powerful words of bestselling author Gary Thomas in his newest book—Cherish. And in a world desperate for marriage redemption, it is needed now more than ever.

Through personal stories and real world examples, Thomas proves what husbands and wives can begin doing today to turn their marriage around—even a marriage marred by neglect and disrespect.

If you would like to enter to win, you can click here to provide name and email address.

The winners of Moving from Fear to Freedom: A Woman's Guide to Peace in Every Situation by Grace Fox are Karen B and Laura C.


Upcoming Events

April 14, 2018
Gilbert, Arizona
For more information please click here

April 21st, 2018
General Conference
Indianapolis, Indiana
For more information please click here

May 4-5, 2018
Grace Fellowship Church
York, Pennsylvania
For more information please click here.

Want to have Leslie speak at your event? Click here to find out more information.

My Husband Won’t Let Me Tithe And I’m Getting Resentful

Question: My question for you today is this: My husband has controlled many of our finances since we were married in 1998. He has made nearly all the final decisions on major expenditures as well as tithing/giving. I have been contributing income since 2005. For several years, my income tripled his income.

Now, my income is lower than his. He doesn’t control my spending in every area. However, he has made several decisions on his own because he says he is the “leader” and has to have the final say when we don’t agree. He has been deceitful to me regarding several large financial decisions I did not agree on so he went ahead and did these things anyway. I feel he has really never valued my opinions and my beliefs on where and how much we tithe/give.

We have been to counseling three times for this issue as well as many others. I feel robbed, forced, controlled and devalued. I feel that he is tithing on what God purposes in only his own heart. I feel angry and resentful he will not allow me to tithe in a manner of what God purposes in my heart.

There have been times I did not give to people I may have wanted to because wisdom tells me we cannot just both be doing whatever we want with the finances. Over a year ago I asked him again to allow me to have input or make my own decision about giving based on what God was purposing in “my” heart. He threatened me with revenge of a sort and was very loud and angry.

I proposed he allow me to give what God purposes in my heart based off the income I bring in to the family account. He refused. He said he is doing what God has told him he must do and said it was his rightful position as head of the home showing his family how to properly tithe and he was responsible under God for me! I feel I have little freedom to be what God wants me to be.

He judges my salvation when I don’t agree or see a bible verse as he does. I feel resentful that even after a counseling session recently where it became evident he was too controlling on financial decisions, he still did not initiate any changes with me. I feel forced against my will. I don’t recall anywhere in the Bible giving husbands the right to force their wives into anything just because they are the husband.

He says it’s all about oneness. When I tell him ‘not’ allowing me to have a say or freedom in this area is not oneness, he says he’s the leader and he has to make the final decision as is God’s design for the marriage relationship. I want to tell him one more time I need him to stop giving on my portion of the income and allow me the freedom to hear God’s purpose for my heart in the area of generosity, but I’m afraid he’ll do something spiteful. What advice would you give me or others in this situation?

Thank you!

Answer: This is a great question but it is nuanced and has many levels to explore. I’m going to touch on a few of them. One is your relationship with your husband. The other is your relationship with God.

Your husband’s view of Biblical headship or leadership tells him that he’s instructed by God to make the final decision on things when you disagree or have a difference of opinions and a wife is to submit. Many good people both men and women hold these Biblical convictions. On the other hand, other godly people, both men, and women who hold a high view of Scripture would disagree and have a more egalitarian (cooperative and mutual submission) view of decision making within marriage.

What Are People Saying About Leslie's Introduction to Core Strength Class?

After 2 years of this strained relationship, our marriage ended (10 years in all) and while I was released from the constant worry of what he might be like today, it left a dreadful void in my life. I was headed for a train wreck. It was during that time that I got an email from Leslie announcing the Intro to CORE Group. I joined and I'm so glad I did.

It wasn't until the lies were exposed, that I discovered that I had believed them. Wow. That was huge! I also came to understand that if I was going to live a fulfilled life, I had to make it happen. I had to take responsibility for my life and be my own advocate.

Learning to respond from my core beliefs based on Truth has helped me to navigate through loneliness. I have come to surrender my anger, bitterness, and disdain while rediscovering my gifting, my calling, and my renewed life.

I thank my Father for the gift of Leslie and her ministry in my life!

Charity B.
Former Intro to CORE Participant


Leslie wants to help you grow in your personal and relational effectiveness. Please submit your questions by clicking here.

Then, visit Leslie's Blog as she posts her responses to one question per week.

Note: Due to the volume of questions that Leslie receives, she is unable to respond to every question.


Leslie Vernick PO Box 5312 Sun City West, Arizona 85376 United States