MAKING AN important decision, couples consider a variety
of criteria. Will we regret this later? How much money will it
cost us? Will we get anything back? Will it be worth our time
and effort? Will this commit us to anything else? Will it affect
our lifestyle? Will we win or lose? Will we look good? What will
we have to give up? What impact will this have on our time? How
badly do we want to do this? Will this be something that will
bring pleasure? Will we get any recognition?
whose main purpose in being a couple is to help and support each
other in growing spiritually often ask a different question than
those posed above. When faced with a dilemma and unsure about
what to do, they find it useful to ask, “What would love
is no question more important to the spiritual development of
you and your partner than “What would love do now?”
If your reason for being together is to accumulate a healthy retirement
portfolio, climb the corporate ladder, build fame and recognition,
or hold on to what you have, then this question need not be part
of your Couple Talk. If, on the other hand, Spirit is your goal,
the most meaningful, relevant, helpful question you can ask in
any situation is, “What would love do now?”
and Lenny struggled with what to do with their delinquent teenage
son. He disobeyed family rules. He came home whenever he felt
like it, smoked dope in the house, and spoke disrespectfully to
his mother. Barb and Lenny had recently been to a series of Tough
Love meetings and were seriously considering barring their son
from their home.
aged mother had been living with Brenda and her husband, Richard,
for six years. A recent downturn in the elderly woman’s
health had the pair considering a nursing home for their valued
and beloved family member.
each case it was the husband who verbalized the Couple Talk question,
“What would love do now?” Both couples had used the
question to make decisions in the past. They were more than familiar
with the spiritual criteria at the center of this question. Loving,
growing in spirit, and living from that essence had become the
central focus of their coming together, living together, and staying
asking themselves, “What would love do now?” Brenda
and Richard decided against a retirement home for Brenda’s
mother. They sold their timeshare vacation properties, put their
retirement plans on hold, and hired a live-in nurse to handle
and Richard did not make this decision out of a sense of obligation.
They did not do it because it was the “right” thing
to do. They did not base it on what people at their church might
think. They decided that love would welcome the opportunity for
mutual growth and fulfillment that this situation provided. They
loved themselves and each other enough to take this opportunity
to give and thus receive more love.
considering “What would love do now?” Barb and Lenny
evicted their son from their home. They concluded that loving
their son did not mean letting him do whatever he wished. They
determined that the best way they could demonstrate their love
would be to draw boundaries, make those boundaries clear, and
then hold to them. Loving their son meant they would hold him
accountable for the choices he made and give him an opportunity
to learn about cause and effect. Loving themselves meant they
would not allow themselves to be walked on or permit their boundaries
to be violated without immediate consequences being implemented.
would love do now?” does not have to be used exclusively
for heavy-duty issues like tough love and nursing home decisions.
It can be used to determine how you and your partner budget your
money, choose who to invite to a party, or decide whether or not
your daughter goes to summer camp. You can use it to help decide
if you should join a church committee, take dance lessons together,
or give this book to a friend.
ways to ask, “What would love do now?” include:
“What would Christ do in this situation?”
• “How would the Buddha handle this?”
• “How do you think Muhammad would respond to this?”
• “What reaction would the Dali Lama have?”
for an opportunity to use “What would love do now?”
during the next week. Find a situation and play with it, using
one of these questions. Try it on for size. See if it fits. Later,
debrief. Determine whether or not this Couple Talk skill can serve
you in the future.
your partner asks, “What would love do now?” he or
she is suggesting that you put spirituality into the equation
of deciding how to handle the situation before you. He or she
is saying that helping each other grow spiritually is a primary
purpose of your relationship as they see it. They are inviting
you to participate in the adventure of living a relationship that
places spiritual growth first.
Chick Moorman & Thomas Haller, 2005