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How do you balance boundaries and unconditional giving?

I’m reading an online book called “Get the ring” (get the CD on Amazon).

This is a quote from it:

There’s a Hebrew word which is often translated as “love”. It is the Hebrew word for love, but I don’t think it means the same thing that we in the West mean when we say “love”.

The Hebrew word is ahava. Ahava is… the word hav conjugated. Hav means “to give”. Ahav is “I will give”. Ahava is the state of “I will giveness”, that is, according to these Jews, love is a state that someone goes into, wherein all they want to do is take care of and give to a partner.

Now right away you can start to see the difference between what we mean by love and what these Orthodox Jews mean by love.

If I walk up to one of my college students and… I ask a woman, you know, — Do you love him?

So she’s an intelligent person so she’ll stop and she’ll think, and she’ll have to ask herself some questions. She’ll say — Well, what does he do for me? What does he make me feel like? How good do I feel when I’m with him? How much does he do for me? How proud am I to be standing next to him?

All the questions she’s going to ask herself are questions about “Me” and “I”. When I want to know if I’m in love, from a secular western perspective, the real question I’m asking is — how much selfish pleasure am I deriving from the relationship, and if I derive enough, then I cross this threshold called “love”.

But if you pull aside one of these Orthodox Jews and you ask them — Do you love her? So he has to stop and ask himself a completely different set of questions. He has to ask himself — How much am I willing to let go of what I want for her sake? How much am I willing to sacrifice for the sake of my beloved? What am I willing to let go of for her? It’s all about “her”, “her”, “her”.

It’s all about the other. Ahava, I will give.

If I want to know if I’m in love, if I’m in ahava from a Jewish perspective, so then the whole question is — how much am I willing to let go of for the sake of the other.

– Read more Rabbi Lawrence Kelemen – Part 1 and Part 2

I know why I am so comfortable with the way this guy writes – it’s because I’m so familiar with this type of thinking. It’s how Jesus lived and what He taught us to be like… Him!

The writer goes on to ensure that people don’t become doormats and don’t get involved with a woman who will take advantage of them and avoid at all costs a woman who will abuse their giving.

So my question for you men is this – unconditional giving might be a key to loving her, but how do we maintain boundaries and protect ourselves from being a doormat, which is something that no woman would ever respect?


About Mark Wilson

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4 thoughts on “How do you balance boundaries and unconditional giving?

  1. I don’t actually have a good grip on this one. I’m hoping you guys will enlighten me with your experience and opinions?

    God bless,

    Posted by Mark Wilson | March 7, 2007, 8:44 am
  2. Understanding her past with a rational mind (not one clouded by her attractiveness, neediness, etc.) and use it to gauge what kind of future you can expect. Is she divorced three times? A part girl since she was 16? These are all bad signs.

    It doesn’t mean don’t get involved EVER. However, it does mean proceed with caution. See if the old traits are still there or if she has really changed. Big tip, if she isn’t walking with the Lord, then usually she hasn’t changed.

    -J. Kaiser

    Posted by totaltransformation | March 7, 2007, 12:39 pm
  3. Wow. What a great question: “How far is too far?”

    It’s obvious God gives an out on this one when she’s cheated on her husband, and likewise when the husband has cheated on the wife, but I’m not sure there can be a definite line and don’t think you’re asking for one.

    I believe, as Eldridge teaches in Wild at Heart, that the woman wants us to save the day. She wants the man to rescue her and to sacrifice himself and if she feels anything other than that, she’s likely not going to trust him and submit to the authority given him. That’s so true in our own relationship with Christ and our trust for Him. If we feel we can’t trust him, we won’t follow him. If we don’t feel as though he loves us completely and without condition, we’ll walk away.

    I do believe we’ve been given the example of Christ and the church for a very good reason when it comes to situations like this. God reminded Hosea of his patience with the children of Israel through his wife and so I believe he does with us as well.

    I can’t draw the line for anyone else, but I do believe we as men are being called into a battle. We’ve been called to fight for our wives souls and lay aside our own feelings and desires to ensure they see Jesus in us, like Jesus did in approaching the cross with humility. It is a different kind of love.

    They may turn their back and may be hard hearted. But, I believe God will show us where to go and how to get there if we ask.

    Posted by cutfromtherock | March 7, 2007, 6:55 pm
  4. Superb replies guys. Very astonishingly useful. Thanks! Anyone else have 2c to spend on this post?

    Posted by Mark Wilson | March 8, 2007, 12:44 am

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