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Need to Know What Your Opinions And/or Advice.

Yesterday after having a discussion, my boyfriend asks the following question. Do you love me more than yourself? I said NO. Well he didn't expect this answer and is very upset and hurt. I was trying to explain to him that I do love him the way I love myself. Well that just took us to another discussion but he fails to understand. He says I just love him more than myself because that's the way it should be and besides the bible quotes it. In return I answered that the bible does not say that but in Ephesians this is what I found: "In this way husbands ought to be loving their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself." I would love to show him your responses as well as your husbands if you do not mind asking them what they think of this question and what will they answer. Thank you so much.

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What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

First of all THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR HELP, I really appreciate everyone who responded. We shared your comments and I think my boyfriend and I have different views but we will sit down and talk about all of them. I must say I will make my mind. I need 'ME' to be healthy in all aspects for my girls, they need me now and they are all I have right now!

Featured Answers

I would suggest the signs of a verbal abusive relationship. Also that you arent married ( husband and wife). I think its very odd question and a very "red flag" response you recieved from him.

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I'm sorry but he kinda sounds like a control freak....what kind of question is that? Watch out for this guy.....

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Nope. Your first answer is the correct answer.

You must love yourself first. Without loving yourself, you cannot love another because, as you have already quoted, Ephesians (the best, most memorable and controversial verse in the bible) says that you must. One cannot love his wife or her husband "as himself" without first loving himself that much.
This was one of our readings at our wedding and our priest chose to give his sermon on this instead of the gospel because of the importance that this passage holds for couples.
Laying one's life down for another is a separate question from "who do you love more?" You must always love yourself the most (yes moms, even more than you love your own children) because if you don’t, what do you have to give to another? Nothing.
This verse is not about who loves whom more, but rather about mutual servitude.
God, yourself, your family. I don't see any other healthy way to live, and in my case, I do not believe that "family" means blood.
If he loved you, he would want you to love yourself first. Anything less is selfish.
Curious about if he is generally a mature, secure, and responcible man? This sounds like a manipulation tool, without knowing the context for the question asked.

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Hi Laticia,

In my opinion any person who is looking for someone who will love them more than the love themselves is announcing that they have a very unhealthy concept of love, and one that will very likely cause you great pain if you stay in this relationship, since every time you choose to take care of yourself or even your children when he happens to feel that he has a very important need or want, this will, to him, illustrate that you do not love him. This truly seems like a recipe for incredible misery for everyone involved. Someone who wants that sort of love -- love that puts them before you or other commitments (like your children, like your God) will never be concinced that you really DO love them to their satisfaction anyway. Believe me, I've tried. And I can be VERY selfless and even self-abusive. No amount of setting aside my needs ever persuaded a single one of these "empty wells" that they were being loved the way they needed to be, and I got out of the "filing up empty wells" business. Seriously, I would run a mile from anyone who thinks love works this way -- it means he has a fantasy that you can make up for love he didn't get as a child. You can't. Please, please don't try.


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I kind of agree with the first poster. I also agree there are many different types of love. I think that in order to give love selflessly, we must love ourselves first. I think this is true because I grew up NOT loving myself. I still don't love myself all the time, but I'm learning to. I've been married now 6 years and I have to say with each year, I've learned to love myself a little more and I think our marriage has grown stronger and I am able to love my husband more selflessly.
I also think that it's unhealthy to think ONLY of another person (including your kids) because that sets a person up for trouble. Someday that person might be gone, whether by death or separation, and if you have devoted your entire being to loving that person, then you will be lost without them. I like how Dr. Phil puts it in regards to children "the best thing you can do for your kids is to love their mother". If you take the time (even a little bit of time) to take care of yourself, and love yourself, then you will have more to give to others.
I hope this makes sense. I don't think there's a right or wrong answer here, it's just something you need to sit down and discuss it with your boyfriend at a time that there are no distractions so you can both explain your points of view

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I talked to my hubby about it. He went through several years of therapy years before I met him to deal with anger, insecurities and control issues. He was raised in a very violent and dysfunctional family. He is now a very calm reasonable man. I have huge respect for him that he was able to recognize he was not healthy and then take the steps to fix it. When I read him your post, he said that looking back to his "younger years" he would see this as a red flag for you. He said "I wouldn't necessarily say she needs to run, but she definately should be vigilant for signs of violence and control from this man. That question is from his deep insecurities and when you feel that insecure, the way to feel better is to control and dominate someone else." Hope this helps.

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wow! I would RUN from this "boyfriend" The next question he will ask you "do you love me more than your kids?" No one would ever ask that question unless he has big issues of self esteem & control. Then he "cried" over your answer? is he in high school? No husband in his right mind would ask that! He will isolate you so fast & make you feel guilty..oh boy RUN! If my husband asked that question I would be "like" what in the world are you talking about?-what does that mean? Good luck.

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The bible also says you are to love nothing (ie. no one) above God, including yourself.

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I’m sorry; my reply is lengthy. But you asked a serious question and I feel that it warrants a sincere reply. Hopefully you can allocate time to read through it.

If you are a believer (Christian) then it is important for you to ask the Holy Spirit to give you discernment regarding what the Bible says. That is one of the Holy Spirit’s primary responsibilities: to teach and equip believers (e.g. John 14:26; Acts 1:2, 5:32 and 2 Peter 1:21). It is OK to ask other people about their opinions and interpretations, as this is one way to get a broad set of inputs. Just keep in mind that we human beings are just that – human beings. The only Authority on Scripture is God himself, Whom we are able to approach through Jesus, via the Holy Spirit. So, I respectfully encourage you to spend time reading Scripture and asking God to guide your understanding.

As I am able to understand from Scripture, we are to emulate Jesus (that is, to become “Christ-like”). Of course, this is a goal and, as humans, we cannot accomplish this totally – but we are to keep striving toward this goal. I think the Scripture below, in Philippians 2:1-7, says that we are to put everyone else above our own needs/interests. Although there are a few notable, selfless people throughout history -- Jesus’ apostles, early church martyrs, and some Mother Teresa types -- obviously “dying to self” is high an aim that most of us struggle to achieve.

Philippians 2:1-7 – “Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.”

I think there is a prescribed hierarchy in Scripture for our love and service. FYI-CAPS in the following indicate a quote within the Bible of other Scripture, e.g. New Testament quoting an Old Testament passage:

(1) God – Mark 12:28-30 says, “One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, "What commandment is the foremost of all?" Jesus answered, "The foremost is, 'HEAR, O ISRAEL! THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD; AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.'

Then I think the remaining categories are consistent with the Scripture that follows the one above, found in Mark 12:31 - "The second is this, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.' There is no other commandment greater than these."

(2) Spouse – Using the logic above, plus the Scripture in Ephesians 5:28-29, which you referenced in your posting, I believe we must place our spouses needs/desires above our own. This is because the passage concludes with, “…just as Christ also does the church.” The analogy to marriage is that the husband is to love his wife as Christ loves the church. We (believers) are the Church and Jesus Christ placed us above EVERYTHING (except the Father’s will) such that He even died for us. This is a model of how He placed our needs ahead of His own desires (see Luke 22:41-42 – “…saying, 'Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.")

L., I think it takes a LONG time, a LOT of study and seriously seeking the interpretation of the Holy Spirit to understand Scripture – especially all of the passages that speak of “husbands being the head of the house and wives submitting to husbands and loving one another as Christ loved the church.” I have been trying to understand this for a long time and believe that the Spirit has led me to some truths in regard to these scriptures:

(A) The Ephesians passage doesn’t apply when you are in a “mixed marriage” (by this, I mean when a believer is married to a nonbeliever). The promises of Scripture are for those who believe God and follow His Word. God tells His people not to be “unequally yoked” because He loves us and, in His perfect plan, He has designed us to be united with a mate that WILL love us more than he (or she) loves him (or her) self.

When I was young, I did NOT follow God’s “ideal” plan for my life. Even though I was a believer, I married a nonbeliever (just one of many of my past “sins of disobedience”). The man I married was a “good person” and I thought he was just young and would eventually “come around” to faith. That marriage ended because he became an alcoholic who could not stop drinking (he did not have the ability to stay sober, most probably because he did not have a relationship with a Higher Power to help him resist the temptation). We were divorced after 19 years of marriage and 25 total years together. [Eventually I recognized that I had not listened to the Spirit when He first warned me that my choice in a mate was wrong. Of course, I then humbly repented for making a wrong decision in the first place. And, because of His LOVEing nature, God forgave me.]

Thankfully God is patient and is always willing to forgive us when we truly repent of our disobedience/sin. He WANTS to manifest His good and perfect plan for our lives. And, per Genesis 50:20, He can make “good” things happen out of our mistakes and wrong actions.

(B) While single, I came to understand how important it is to follow God’s commandment regarding “being equally yoked,” spiritually. I began pray for a believing mate. I headed my prayer list for a mate, containing some 30 attributes, with #1 being “A Christian Husband to be the Spiritual Head of My Household.” It was my sincere desire, but didn’t “comply” with the secular world-view that many of my peers held: I was a top executive within a Fortune 200 company (and thankfully by then I embraced a Biblical world view.)

You might guess what happened. God answered my prayer in an incredible way! He provided me with a boyfriend that met every attribute that I had prayed for, plus some “bonus” attributes that I didn’t even know to ask for! That man became my Christian husband and the head of my Christ-centered household. He loves God first and foremost. Then, he loves me and puts my needs before his own. And I reciprocate: God first, and then my husband.

A woman can only be “spiritually submissive” to a husband that is operating on this plan. Many of my feminist contemporaries found it difficult to understand that one can be an independent, intelligent woman and still embrace being spiritually submissive. But I can only tell you that it WORKS. But I am able to TRUST my husband because he is operating under God’s authority as he places my well being above his own.

My husband has enlightened my understanding of all scripture and my understanding of God. I believe I do the same for him. We read the Bible together, aloud, daily and discuss its meaning. We attend Bible studies together. We have an active church life. Most important to this reply, we enjoy a “Christ-centered” marriage and each of us is trying to “die to self”.

(3) Parents & Children – Ephesians 6:2 – “HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER (which is the first commandment with a promise), SO THAT IT MAY BE WELL WITH YOU, AND THAT YOU MAY LIVE LONG ON THE EARTH.” And Deuteronomy 4:10 says, “…Assemble the people to Me, that I may let them hear My words so they may learn to fear Me all the days they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children.”

(4) Others (“neighbors”) – This reinforces the 2nd and only other commandment given by Jesus to His followers today: to love (all) others above ourselves. Of course this gets into loving one’s enemies, which requires (among other things) forgiveness… but that is TOO much to go into here.

I encourage you to continue asking questions, L.. The Bible is, without a doubt, the most interesting, challenging, rewarding book in the world. It gives lifelong enjoyment to those who read it for understanding. Psalm 78 says, “Listen, O my people, to my instruction… We will not conceal them from their children, but tell to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and His strength and His wondrous works that He has done.” And God wants us to be intellectually engaged. Romans 12:2 says, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” The wonderful thing about a relationship with Jesus, the Word, is that you will NEVER stop growing and learning. Striving to be perfected is called for in Matthew 5:48, Philippians 1:6, Colossians 4:12, and 1 Peter 5:10.

[edited: Whether THIS man is the one that God intends for you, or whether YOU are the one intended for him is something that you both should pray about and consider carefully. Then, when each of you has married ...] May God deliver blessings on you (and your FUTURE husband) for wanting to understand His Word and may He bless your marriage.

In Christ,

2 moms found this helpful

I would suggest the signs of a verbal abusive relationship. Also that you arent married ( husband and wife). I think its very odd question and a very "red flag" response you recieved from him.

2 moms found this helpful

I think those questions are just desperate attempts for attention. It's like if a woman asks, "Do you check out other women?" or "Have you ever fantasized about anyone else while we have sex?" The asker is just feeling insecure and wants love and praise at this time. So you can divert the question by saying, "That's a silly question. How can you really quantify love? I just know I have never loved any man as much as I love you." That last part is what they want to hear. I don't think they want the cold hard truth. You don't have to lie, just sugarcoat it. I don't blame your answer because why ask the question if you can't take the response?

Not that these questions are trivial but if you were on the beach and he asks, "Do you think it's possible for a person to love someone more than themselves?" Then you can get all philosophical about it but from how you describe the situation, it just sounded like he was childish and wanted validation. If you are in a serious relationship, give the validation then go on with life. Hopefully, he can work on his insecurities and not have to ask these things in such a confrontational way in the future.

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Well it sounds like he put you on the spot and caught you off guard to me. The Bible does show many instances in where we are to love others as ourselves as you point out but then Jesus says that the greatest love anyone can show another person is to lay down your own life for them. In a sense we can look to Jesus who did love us more than Himself because he did give his life for us. I think the main point here is that you just need to reinforce that you love your boyfriend selflessly and would do anything for him, anything in the bounds of a dating relationship. At this point, I would ask some questions. After telling him one more time that you love him, ask what brought on the question, what answer was he looking for and why. Try not ask in an accusatory way but matter of factly and let him tell you what is up. There are so many avenues this could have come from. Maybe he was with a selfish woman and is wondering if you are going to be selfless in your love toward him and just needs some reassurance, maybe he is seeking a way to pull some manipulation in the area of finance or intimacy. Of course I don't know you guys personally so those things may not apply, but a question like that merits some questions from you either to build the relationship it or see if there are some areas that might be trying to pull it down. Try not to get into a theological or semantic debate if at all possible, they don't usually get too far and can cause a bunch of trouble. I wish you all the best!

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I like to refer to the old saying "You can't love someone else until you love yourself". If you don't really know who you are, then how does one expect to know another?

Loving yourself isn't about being conceded or worshiping yourself... to me it's about being comfortable, and confident with yourself. When a person is comfortable and confident, then they are more likely to to be open, loving, trusting, and be in an equal relationship.

Hope that helps!

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I did the same thing Karen did. I read your post and then walked away to think about it this morning.

I do not think there is a right or wrong answer.. It is like him asking you if you love your mother or him more.. There are different types of love. You are probably thinking about your strength and faith. He is thinking about love in the romantic relationship.

I feel like I have to love myself to be the best person I can be. I love my husband because of who he is. I love my daughter, because of who she is. It is just too complex to ba able to explain a personal answer like that, if he cannot explain in what exact way does he mean.

I am going to ask my husband tonight,the way your boyfriend asked you and see what he says. We have been together since we were 13.. He does a terrible thing that drives me crazy.. he says "I love you more".. It makes me so mad, but I do not know why.. I actually purchased a plaque and gave it to him and said, there.. we both love each other more...

1 mom found this helpful

Hi L.,

I discussed your post with my husband. We wonder a few things, such as, why did he ask? Is he feeling insecure? Is he just wanting to be served? Was your NO so strong (without any tact and love)? Does he have a relationship with God or was he just bringing up the Bible as a manipulation tool? Is this just a matter of semantics, where he's wondering, "Are you willing to put me first at times?" and you're thinking of this as "no, he's not more important than me!"

In any case, we know the Bible says to seek and love God first and all other things will be added, will fall into place. So my husband says he asked the wrong question, that he should have asked if you love God first. He said he's more secure knowing I love God because if I love God I'm going to be keeping His commandments, I'm going to love my husband, I'm going to forgive him and pray for him. He will have nothing to worry about.

My husband also said a good man leads by example rather than tries to be in control, that he provides for his family and serves them. I'll add, a woman that has a man like that respects him and wants to do all she can to support him.

Scripture says for women to fit in with their husband's plans, not do their own individual thing, but be on his team, supporting him, being his helper. Could that be what he is asking?

In any case, we feel this could just be the Enemy trying to put division in your relationship, that it's nothing at all to quarrel about but something to be lived out. You can show him your love and devotion better than you can argue about it.

God bless! N.

1 mom found this helpful

You ladies are the best! These are really, really great responses. I have been married 20 years and truly love him more everyday but if my husband asked me that question, I'd think he was crazy. Sounds like your boyfriend is seeking reassurance that he is loved, and what is better than knowing you are wanted? But I worry about his level of maturity and neediness, especially since you aren't married to him. Seriously, what did he expect your answer to be? A monologue on your undying love, "honey, I'd lay down my life for you. In fact I'll do it right now, if you would like." What a self centered jerk. The Bible says no such thing and if he can read something so off base into that verse, then he needs to recommit to a Bible study for couples. And people who use the Bible as a weapon to hurt or to justify their own boorish behavior aren't using the Bible as it was intended.

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Girl! drop this self centered FOOL!! Danger, danger, danger! Run for the hills!

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Hi L.-

I read your post earlier this morning and actually walked away from it for a while to think about it because I wasn't quite sure how to respond. I know in that moment when your boyfriend asked you this question you didn't have time to think about it but here's my thoughts.

I have no doubt that in an emergency situation I would risk my own life to save my husband. I guess if that means I love him more than myself then there's your answer. But if asked the question the way he did, I don't know that I would flat out say "Yes I love my husband more than myself." It's not as if I have my love on a 10 point scale and I'm a 9 and he's a 10. It's not that simple. I know that my husband and I are each better together than either one of us is on their own. I love myself more now that my husband is in my life than I did before he was. I believe I'm a happier person because of him. As a result, my love for myself has grown but because I know it's a result of him and his love for me that makes me love him even more. So I guess I look at our love more like a circle. The more he loves me, the more I love myself, and in turn I then love him even more.

I'm sorry, that probably didn't make much sense at all.

Good luck,

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The Bible verse you quote is correct and if you keep reading, it tells the wife to respect her husband. Is this relationship leading to marriage? If so, then I would suggest Christian counseling to help better understand God's purpose for marriage.

But if marriage is not being discussed, then does he really have a right to ask you this question? Why treat him like a husband if he isn't? My advice is follow the biblical standard; if he isn't your husband, don't let him in your bedroom and don't give him the benefits of marriage. I believe women would avoid lots of heartache and problems if they followed this principle. And remember that every decision you make will directly affect your precious daughters. My prayers are with you. Blessings!!!

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He is not your husband, so the verse in Ephesians does not apply. In marriage, the husbands relationship to his wife is compared to Christ's relationship with the Church. You have to be in a covenant relationship to reap these benefits.

Uh, L., there seems to be some confusion. You say this man is your boyfriend and you're a single parent. Yet you're talking about husbands and wives. Boyfriend/girlfriend and husband/wife are not the same. And frankly, I'd run from this guy if he wants you to love him more than you love yourself. That's controlling and selfish. As for the Bible, Jesus said that the greatest commandment was to love God with all your heart, mind, and soul. "And the second commandment is like unto the first: that you should love your neighbor as yourself." In other words, your love for other people is on a level with your love for God and yourself. If you love other people more than yourself or God, you are making an idol out of them.

I have no idea how old this guys is, but it sounds like simple immaturity to me.
Hope things work out!
God Bless!
H. B

Hi L.,
Just a quick addition to all that has already been said....in I John the Bible says "we love Him because He first loved us". When we open our hearts to receive Jesus enormous love for us then we actually love Him back....and then we have an "overflow" of love for others. I think your boyfriend needs to start receiving Jesus love for him....then he will be full of the love he needs....and the bonus is that he will be more interested in loving you than getting you to love him!! It happens spontaneously when you first start believing God really, really loves you! Remember the He FIRST loved us (o:

Hello, in Galations 5:14 The intire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself." Ephesians 5:22 says "Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 5:23 reads, "For the husband is the head od the wife as Christ is the head of the church. In 5:25 it says " Husbands love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. And last 5:28 reads, In this same way, husbands aught to love their wives as their own bodies. These scriptures came from the classic devotional Bible.
I pray this has helped and just made you both love each other more, more, more!

Love and Prayers

I'm sorry but he kinda sounds like a control freak....what kind of question is that? Watch out for this guy.....

"I love you more than you love me"..."Do you love me as much as I love you?"...Did he say that he loves you more than he loves himself? Those are teen-age, puppy-love questions. It sounds like he is unsure of the relationship and his place in your life, speaking of which, he needs to grow up and get one.

Not to sound rude, but he needs to get over himself! It sounds to me like either (a) he has self esteem issues, or (b) he wants a woman with self-esteem issues. What man would want a woman who loves a man more than herself? A person (male or female) should always love themselves. If you can't love yourself and be happy with yourself, then how can you do that with someone else? if a person loves someone (other than their children of course) more than themselves, then they are not going to be fair to themselves. They are going to end up doing things that don't make them happy just sso they can make the other person happy. Eventually, it could lead to resentment, depending on the situation. Besides, why would he ask this kind of wuestion? Is he in some kind of competition? If he going to ask you if you love him more thanyourself, is he later down the road going to ask you if you love him more than your kids? Come on now! He needs to be happy that he is with a confident, strong woman. If he is looking for someone to love him more than themselves, then maybe he should go find somebody who doesn't love theirself because that's the only place he is going to find what he is looking for. As for throwing the bible into the mixture, I wonder what his upbringing was like. I am a strong Christian myself. However, when something in life doesn't go my way (ex: my kids don't treat me right), I don't throw the bible at them. If he is trying to manipulate you or whatever into not loving yourself as much as you love him, then maybe you need to leave him. I am very happy to hear how strong you are, and I am even more happy to hear how much you love and appreciate yourself! My whole life, until about 4-5yrs ago, I put everyone first, and loved everyone more. I didn't have that self-esteem, nor did I love myself. All it did was get me hurt and taken advantage of by everyone around me. Stay strong girl! I am glad to hear you stand up for yourself.

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