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If you have been lucky enough in your life to experience heart-wrenching, tear-evoking love for someone, then you can testify that the love you felt was not just a brain-thing or a hormone-thing. Love definitely involves something beyond myself.

If it were a chemical thing, that could drive our brains or hormones, we would absolutely find shelves full of ‘Love pills’ at Wal-Mart. But we don’t.

It’s my belief that love is a vertical thing. I would posit that the love that I feel for my wife, children, dog, car, music, etc., comes not from any of them directly, but comes into me (vertically) from God as I relate (horizontally) with these things that I feel love for. As I gaze at them, feel them, listen to them, think of them or remember them, love from God comes into my heart.

If there is truth in that view, then developing and improving my (vertical) relationship with God should directly impact my ability to not only feel but also to give and receive love (horizontally). Improving the intimacy and sensitivity of my vertical connection should advance the intimacy and sensitivity of my relationships with the people and things that I cherish. Therefore, my view is that truly effective personal development will need to encompass growth in both directions.

How do you respond to this two-axis concept of love relationships? Can you help us to further clarify, understand and develop it?

Would vertical development have to be religious? Would I have to go to church? Why?

How might growth in each of these two directions enhance or augment the other?

How might bi-directional self-evaluation affect one’s personal growth going forward?

How might such a bi-directional model be applied sociologically?

Please share your thoughts below.

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