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Protect And Defend The One You Love


It was such a great visit!

Meeting Trevor’s mom for the first time went well. Ashlee and Trevor left his mom’s house with the seal of approval and hope for a future…until the phone rang.

Trevor’s mom could easily be heard screaming through the back of Trevor’s Smartphone as he tensed up under the attack. Ashlee sat listening with tears filling her eyes as Trevor’s mom demanded that he break up with her, “She is controlling, and I don’t like her telling you what to do!”

This was a pivotal point in the budding relationship; it was their first bump, and it was huge. Ashlee was being wrongly accused. She is a sweet girl and had no ulterior motive when she told Trevor to give his mom a hug. But his mom had a different opinion, and now Trevor had to choose. Defend Ashlee or defend his mom. Tough choice.

What do you do when there is a conflict between 2 people that you love? Who do you protect and defend?

Deep down, all little girls want to be protected, and all little boys have a natural drive to protect. How it plays out later in life with the one’s you love will depend on the experiences that have shaped your perspective.

Let’s look at the difference between “protect” and “defend” and how each will impact a relationship:


  • Keep safe from harm or injury
  • Is most often understood in physical context but can also be used in mental, emotional, spiritual and financial situations.
  • Can be proactive or reactive
  • Protection can be present during non-threatening situations.
  • The need for protection can be planned in advance

When a gentleman walks closest to the traffic on the sidewalk, he is protecting her. When she reminds him to put on his seatbelt, she is protecting him. Most people have an easier time protecting someone they love than defending them.

Think of it this way, protection is like wearing a seatbelt and having airbags just in case there is an accident.

Defense, on the other hand, might be when you are the passenger in an accident, and you give your report based on what you witnessed. You will defend the one you love when there are false allegations because you are naturally influenced by your first-hand experience with the driver’s ability and reputation. For example, if they are wrongly accused of drinking and driving, you will stand up for them and defend their character.

Let’s look at how that works:


  • Speak or write in favor of (an action or person); attempt to justify
  • Is rarely in a physical context but most often used in mental, emotional, spiritual and financial situations.
  • Is only reactive – there is no need to defend what is not being attacked.
  • Defense is only present during confrontational situations.
  • The need for personal defense is usually not anticipated.

You can tell a lot about the character of a person and even in many cases how much they care about you by their willingness to defend you – especially when you aren’t there to defend yourself.

When Ashlee got T-boned by Trevor’s mom, he rose to the occasion and defended Ashlee. Unfortunately for his mother, her ploy to break up the couple actually cemented their relationship. Nice try, mom.

Love quote: “A friend isn’t your friend until they defend you in your absence.”

For more ways to find a date with character, CLICK HERE to take the course.

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About Lisa Jander

Teens call me, "Mama j." Parents call me the “Teen Dating Mechanic.” I believe that by teaching teens about the risks in dating we can shift their thinking about relationships in this culture. As a Certified Relationship Coach, Public Speaker and Author of a book titled, “Dater’s Ed: Driver’s Ed Model for Dating,” I am passionate about promoting family education to STOP reckless dating before it begins.

3 Responses to "Protect And Defend The One You Love"

  • Karen Walkup
    September 4, 2015 - 12:11 pm

    Very helpful article…
    I appreciate how you differentiate between words that seem to describe the same thing. Actually they are 2 completely different words, having separate meanings, and often misused. When trying to communicate sensibly with someone who hasn’t yet experienced needing to be protected or defended, it may seem like a lecture to try and explain, but is actually necessary. You do this well. It makes a huge difference!

  • Lisa Jander
    October 8, 2015 - 2:28 pm

    Thank you, Karen! Glad this was helpful!