Love’s Three Ingredients

Parenting is not for sissies! Raising children is hard work. Parents who desire to be popular with their children and their children’s friends will live to regret the compromises it takes to make that happen. But parents who love their children enough to lead them will have to make some tough and unpopular decisions.

There are three essential ingredients to effective love. Just like baking a cake, leave out any one of these ingredients and you’ll be disappointed with the results.


Love’s Three Ingredients

  1. Emotive: Creates an affinity or affection with a person.

Sure we “love” our children. For most people that’s a given. But the emotive part of love develops when we spend time with them, laugh and cry with them, hear their heart. Parenting is more than having children. It involves purposeful presence.

  1. Motive: Drives us to action.

Love is demonstrative. Just as God demonstrated his love to us by sending Jesus, so love for our children must be demonstrated. Love is not shown by purchasing everything our children want, trips to Disney World, and paying for their college education. Motive love is found in 1 Corinthians 13. Take the time to read it and apply it to your parenting.

  1. Expulsive: Expels foreign or dangerous interests. 

Love gets rid of things that are foreign to the interests it seeks to promote. Many times our children will not see these things are foreign or dangerous. But a parent cares more about protection than popularity.


Several months ago, I was speaking at an event when a girl, her boyfriend, and her parents came in a sat on the front row. The young girl was wearing a tight and short dress—inappropriate by most standards. Her legs were crossed exposing more than anyone needed to see. On one side sat her boyfriend with his hand liberally on her leg. On the other side sat her parents.

As I was speaking, these two thoughts came to mind:

  • If that is what I am seeing in public, then there is little doubt what is going on in private.
  • Parents, what in the world are you thinking! That boy represents a foreign and dangerous interest, and you are not willing to expel him.

That the parents let their daughter leave the house in the dress (or lack thereof) is one issue. But for them to sit passively by is inexcusable. Where was there “emotive” love? When you love someone deeply do you allow that type of thing to happen? Where was there “motive” love? How could they be so passive? Where was their “expulsive” love? This young man represented danger. They should have talked to the young man’s parents and let them know that he was no longer allowed near their daughter until he learned to respect her.

Parenting isn’t for sissies. Parenting isn’t about being popular. It’s about mentoring and modeling. Thank God there are parents out there who really love their children with an emotive, motive, and expulsive love!

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