“Shot through the heart and you’re to blame. You give love a bad name” (Bon Jovi, 1986). The words are timeless as seemingly everyone experiences heartbreak at some time in their life and feels scorned in the process. The void created by a love loss whether due to infidelity, death or divorce is similar and leaves us emotionally very vulnerable. While we are feeling our worst, we are most needy as feelings of grief overwhelm us and we are seemingly most defenseless. We may lash out at the opposite sex with generalizations such as all men are selfish dogs and all women are users and takers. We may say “who needs them”? The louder the accusations and protests, the more attractive you are to the narcissist users, players and self-centered pigs wanting to take advantage of you. Why do I keep attracting these types of people you may ask? The answer is clear to some friends who will not tell you the truth. They see your vulnerability and rush in to be your nurse, your psychologist, your “knight in shining armor”…your lover!

What is the most valuable thing you own? House, car, retirement account, inheritance, your health, your name? I beg to differ with you if you mentioned any of them. Proverbs 4:23 (NIV} states: “Above all else guard your heart, for everything else you do flows from it”. The New American Standard says, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life”. It is your life-force! Your love passions, career passions and life treasures are visually and emotionally stored in your heart. Everything you treasure and do stems from the core of the heart. It is more than mere Biblical poetry, as medical science has discovered. There is a nucleus of neurons in the heart which communicates biochemically and electromagnetically stored experiences to the brain in addition to vital life data for healthy balance.

Our most treasured memories which form our aspirations are stored in our heart. The person who steals your heart, therefore has access to your most innermost feelings and values-your treasures. Some of us give access to our hearts easily through being transparent. Intimacy is sometimes defined by the words “in-to-me-you-see”. Intimacy through sexuality is yet another vulnerable avenue for transparency OR a replacement for such to hold one at a distance.

The pace at which you exchange your innermost secrets and self with another must be measured and in sync with your partner. When one individual continually gives more than the other without reciprocity, the relationship eventually becomes unbalanced and unhealthy. Each must invest equally into the relationship even if it is in different ways actively and passively (or in different behaviors: affirming words, gifts, acts of service, touch/sex or quality time).

Let’s go a step further. Do you consider yourself an unselfish person in all ways? If so, you will treat others as yourself by guarding their heart as you do your own. How, you may ask? By not taking advantage of another’s heart when it is vulnerable. The average person may not walk away from the more willing, more vulnerable, more helpless individual trying to heal and bounce back emotionally from a love loss. They often step in to fill that void with no intention of a long-term relationship. The person who takes advantage of another’s heart is no better than the caregiver, teacher or psychologist who holds power and takes advantage of their client/student.

“God created us out of desire, not need. If we marry one out of need rather than desire, we can become dependent and/or codependent. It is His word that says, “Above all things, guard your heart”. That is therefore the most important thing you can do! So, then, how do we approach what we call love? Carefully. Prayerfully. With a shared measure of compromise and reason. (See also Chemistry: How Important is it?)

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