I was thinking today about something I haven’t thought about in detail for a while.


Here’s something you didn’t know: I’m trained as a bush fire fighter. Yep, I completed my basic training years ago. I haven’t been out to an actual fire in a while, but I still remember some of it.

The most useful thing I remember from my basic training was the Fire Triangle diagram. Here’s a rough version:

fire triangle

 Basically, a fire needs all these three elements to keep it going: heat, fuel and oxygen. If one of the elements is missing, the fire dies…..it cannot be sustained. In fire fighting, we were taught to eliminate one of the elements to destroy the fire.

I’ve been thinking about how love is kind of like a fire.

(I’m just writing down my thoughts…..its not perfect, but stay with me!)

Love Needs Oxygen

Know what happens when you put a glass over a candle? The flame dies out because it was starved of it’s oxygen; smothered to death.

I think the same thing can happen in relationships. You find someone you really like and, naturally, want to spend all your time with them. When you do this, you don’t allow room for love to grow.

In my experience, you soon find yourself resenting the other person for small, annoying things or feeling trapped.

Give love the oxygen (or breathing room) it needs to develop into a steady flame.

Love Needs Fuel

I was building a small fire in the backyard with my brother and sister the other night. Normally, we would take the time to carefully build the fire so it would last: we’d start with some scrunched up newspaper, place some pieces of kindling on top and strategically position the large blocks of wood over this to keep the fire burning steadily when the kindling and newspaper were gone. But this particular night, we just wanted the quick intense burn of the newspaper; the sudden burst of heat and brightness and the mad frenzy to get more paper before it died out.

Love needs the right kind of “fuel” if it is going to last.

What are you putting into your relationship?

Are you doing lots of fun, exciting things? Or are you laying the spiritual and emotional foundations for love?

Now for a cliche: What you put in is what you will get out.

What you use to fuel your relationship is how it will be defined.

Love Needs Heat

Okay, so here’s where I get stuck. I’m not exactly sure how “heat” translates into a practical part of this analogy, but I’m going to say that it is linked with the “fuel” aspect.

Something else I remember from fire fighting is the power of ‘radiant heat’. When you’re out at a fire (or controlled burn), staring at a 3 metre wall of flame, radiant heat is what makes you want to shield your face (and all your exposed skin for that matter!). The fire is so hot that you can’t bear to look at it, let alone get close.

I think relationships like this are dangerous, mainly because they are intense and, consequently, short-lived.

They leave deep wounds and deeper scars because the couple didn’t shield themselves from premature emotional committment.

I guess my advice in this area would be to pace yourself. Be warmed by the fire, but don’t reach into it.

I think the most important thing to realise is that love is a choice, not a feeling.

You choose whether to love someone and what type of love that will be.

I should add that I’m not an expert. These are just my thoughts and random musings, so I could be way off.

For the ultimate example of love, who can beat God?

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.

– 1 John 3:16a