Want to Earn Someone’s Love?

By 3rd grade, I was already working hard to earn the love of a pretty girl I could call “my own.”

“My girlfriend!”

“My baby.”

“My precious!” (Said in a Gollum-like voice.)

Sadly, that desire left me feeling like a loser for many years. Because (unlike Gollum, who at least found “his precious” before he lost it) I couldn’t find a girlfriend until my junior year of college.

Can you relate at all?

Last week we shared the first of three important truths you want to understand, embrace and rest in if you wish to thrive in your dating life.

Actually, forget about your dating life. These three truths are necessary for you to thrive in relationships at all.

Our second truth is for all those lonely hearts out there working so hard for so long to be loved.

Know someone like that?

Maybe you?

Then understand this:

#2: Love is NOT Something You Earn

I have a confession. Though it took me many years to understand this truth, I honestly believed it was one most people grasped. Figured I was just a “late bloomer.”

That’s why it surprised me to realize recently that one of our most-read Date Night Advice posts of all time, was this one: Love is NOT Something You Earn. More surprising was to discover the way most were finding this post, four years after its publication: google searches related to “earning love.”

This means, if you have been trying to earn someone’s love, you are most certainly not alone.

But you are also engaged in a fruitless endeavor, because true love by its very nature must be two things:

  • Freely given
  • Freely received

This means if you’ve ever earned something you thought was love, someone gave you a counterfeit. Well, more accurately, someone sold you a counterfeit.

Because the wonder of love is that it simply cannot be earned. In fact, if it did have to be earned no one could afford it.

It’s that valuable.

That’s why true love is so truly wonderful.

Where will You let Desperation lead You?

So if you feel like you don’t have love, where does that leave you?

Other than unloved?

Hopefully it leaves you in a place of desperation.

Did that sound cold? It shouldn’t have, because desperation is a wonderful gift of God, that can lead you to one of two places:

  • Complete despair
  • Complete dependence

Many choose despair. Or at least they make choices that eventually lead there. This is what gives desperation such a bad name. Driven to complete despair, many never return to the land of the living. Some actually take their own lives.

But the alternative to complete despair is complete dependence on God.

I realize in our modern culture we’d rather not be dependent on anything. Not even God.

We’d rather be self-reliant. That is to say independent. From this perspective, we view God as an accessory that makes our life better (or even complete) more than a necessity that makes life worth living at all (or even livable). For many, an accessory is all God is, a cross around the neck or a fish symbol on the car bumper.

It’s also why so many choose despair over dependence. They would rather surrender to despair than surrender to God. You give up your joy, but you get to hold onto your pride. This seems a fair trade to some folks. Or at least one they’re willing to settle for. However…


The day you recognize the sublimity of your dependence on God is a glorious day!


It was for me anyway. Desperate for this thing called “love” which I needed like air, but couldn’t earn even if I gave my lungs to obtain it, I learned over time to choose dependence on God.

And it was a good thing too, because after twenty-four years of a fantastic marriage, I can tell you I could never have depended on my wife, Julie, the way I have Jesus. And Julie would tell you the same thing about me.

Of course we depend on  each other, but we can only do this in a healthy way, because we both realize our  dependence on a love far greater than our own. One we could never earn.

Indeed, we are consciously reminded every day of our complete dependence on a living God who knows us through and through and loves us anyway. So we can love each other as we love ourselves, only because He loved us first.


Stop trying to earn what can’t be earned, and freely receive the love your heart is desperate for.


Then, in complete dependence on God, you can risk your heart in loving the people He puts in your life. In closing, let these precious words of truth be burned into your heart:

In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.1 John 4:9-16 (ESV)

Want to know more about this love you can never earn, but need only receive? Click here.


DNA: It’s What’s For Dating

Dug this weekend’s DNA? Be a good friend and share with your friends on the social media platform of choice: Instagram, Youtube, Facebook, or Twitter.

The LoveEd discipleship series, Beyond Sex & Salvation, will empower you to prepare for relational success when it counts: BEFORE you fall in love!

It’s NOT for couples, but for any wise individual who thinks they might want to get married sometime before they die. And would like to learn how to better build healthy relationships in the meantime.

Check out all three study guides in our store. You can walk through them on your own, but it’s more fun with friends (that and it kinda makes sense to grow in relational success in actual relationships with others), so consider putting together an FMU LoveEd small group study.

Even better?  And ask a rock star married couple you respect to lead it!

Categories: LONELINESS, ROMANCE