Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Love Isn't

I write about love a lot. Clearly, it’s because I have love all figured out. Just ask my husband. Actually, don’t ask my husband. He would only laugh at you, and possibly give an eye roll and a sarcastic “I’m sure she does. It’s probably a part of her plan for your life.” Thank you, dear. Don’t you have errands to run?
Love is a lot of things. Patient and kind, for starters. One of the strongest bonds between individuals, for seconders. There is actually a very good description of love that can be found here. Love is a lot of very good things, and if you take the time to really think about all the implications, it isn’t easy, but it is so worth it, if it’s the real thing.
With all the things love is, there are a lot of things that love most certainly isn’t, but that we have somehow been conditioned to believe it is. I’m not sure where we got our many ridiculous delusions about love, but I have a feeling the liberal media and Ann Coulter have something to with it. Possibly Al Qaeda was involved. I’m not really sure.
I digress. Love is a lot of very good things, but love is most certainly not the following:

A Feeling or about Listening to Your Heart – Or a noun, for that matter. The common usage of the word “love” means, basically, a feeling. Infatuation. Attachment. Warm Fuzzies. Now, all of that IS necessary to form the base of a love relationship, but if it is what a relationship is based on, that relationship is set up to fail, simply because feelings are fleeting and fickle. Love, the real kind, the kind that lasts until death, is a verb. It’s something you think about and consciously do. Take a look at the biblical description of love again (if you’re an ath-nostic, Buddhist, Pastafarian or someone else who thinks the Bible is utter nonsense, read it and pretend it wasn’t written by a Christian. Pretend Marx wrote it. He was smart, right?) None of the things mentioned are passive. Kindness, Patience, Selflessness, Honesty, Perseverance. Regardless of your belief system, 90%* of people would agree that these things make up a successful love relationship and they are all active, living choices. There will be days when you wake up and don’t feel all that snuggly toward your significant other. On those days, you still choose to love, and to commit to the person you are with.
Also, I’ve discussed the listening to your heart thing. Don’t do it. Listening exclusively to your emotions in love is a surefire way of ending up with someone you’re crazy about but that isn’t good for you. You have to use your head! That’s why you have a head! Don’t just use your head, though. Marrying someone who is good for you but that you have no emotional attachment to isn’t fair on anyone.

A Battlefield – I’m sure Ms. Benatar would beg to differ, as would anyone who has ever uttered the phrase “You have to fight for love!” Let’s review the idea of a battlefield, shall we? Bloodshed, Massive Casualties, Screaming and Gnashing of teeth. That doesn’t sound like love to me. It sounds like life. And it certainly sounds like the traditional approach to dating. Love is the partnership that gets you through the hard times and battles of life. Not to say you and the person you love won’t have your share of fights and disagreements. Paul and I have our weekly fight every Saturday when my sweet husband sleeps until noon and I wake up at 8AM. All I want is some quality time and all he wants is some quality snoozing. What was I talking about? Oh yes. If your relationship, your love, is a battlefield, why on earth would you want to be involved? Battles are not good. They are not fun. They are damaging, and if you are constantly involved in one, you will find yourself damaged. Now, love is certainly not easy, and yes, you have to fight for it. But you don’t fight against the person you are in love with. The fight is the two of you, together, against layoffs, temptation, your own selfishness and broken water heaters. Life is going to throw you enough curveballs to struggle through together without turning your relationship into a constant battle.

A Pit – You don’t fall in love. “Fall in” implies something you can’t help. Now, it’s true you can’t help who you are attracted to. That’s mostly hormones and endorphins and what not anyway. So, technically, you fall in “like”. What you decide to do with said “like” is up to you. You can walk away immediately and never act on your feelings or you can start a relationship and choose to love them. Now, admittedly, love is complex, and while you can help the “love” aspect, you can’t help the emotional attachments that grow over time when you are with someone. Love is a lot easier to give than to take away. That’s why heartbreak hurts so darn much.

A Math Test – This analogy is iffy at best, but stay with me. If someone is wrong for you, you can’t try harder and make them the right person for you. Actually, maybe love is a math test. You can give the wrong answer over and over, but no matter how big and bold you write it, it will still be the wrong answer. Take this analogy how you will.

A Test of Moral Fortitude – Last one. Five is quite enough. This one baffles me. If your significant other has done you very wrong, I.e. cheated on you, lied to you, belittles you, ect ect ect, sticking around doesn’t prove what a better person you are, it proves you are stupid and possibly have some sick attachment to pain. Staying with someone who hurts you doesn’t make your love stronger or prove that you are the better person. It’s mostly just dumb.

The point is, once you realize that love is none of these things, it may lead you to think about what love really is. (Don’t worry, I have this kind of life-changing effect on people). Love is never easy (Oh, look! Another thing love is not that we think it should be!), but the good kind is worth it, and I dare you to believe that you are worth the good kind of love.

*This statistic is completly made up

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