Monday, February 26, 2007

26 February 2007 Empowering Love

I saw this quote from Jane Goodall recently in a magazine, "I have found that to love and be loved is the most empowering and exhilarating of all human emotions."
Every time I hear love referred to as an emotion, it irritates me, because love is much more than an emotion. True love, is constant. Our emotions are unstable and unpredictable.
It's more comfortable to think of love as an emotion, because when the emotion cools off, or perhaps disappears completely, it justifies leaving husband or wife, because, "I've tried, but I just don't love him/her anymore."
I'm not referring to those living in situations of physical or mental abuse. I'm thinking of ordinary people in ordinary marriages whose opinions, tastes, and goals seem to have diverged and taken different directions over months or years. I'm thinking also of those who, mistaking emotion for love, married before having a chance to know each other in depth, and discover that the person they thought they were marrying didn't exist.
I consider such situations tragic, because in the case of those who seem to have grown apart, but who truly loved each other in the beginning, love is just hiding under the cinders of their burnt-out feelings. It takes a little gentle stirring of the cinders to reveal the spark, and a lot of work to feed that spark and make it grow again. In the case of those deluded about the true nature of their partner, getting to know the person in depth and not letting emotion cloud the issue would often avoid the later rude awakening.
If love is more than an emotion, what is it? It is an act of the will. I know that some invent their own wording of the promise a couple makes to each other when they solemnly declare their love and desire to enter into a permanent union in a public ceremony, but whatever the wording, the meaning is the same. They promise to love each other, no matter what the future holds for them. This implies an act of the will. "I will love you and stay by you whatever the future holds," they say, in essence. A daring promise, which later on often prompts the, "But if I knew then..." That's the point. One can't know, but wills to love anyway. Thus the importance of getting to know a prospective spouse before making a serious commitment.
When someone says, "I love you!" What is often really meant is "I love the way you kiss," or "I love sex with you!" Talk about emotions influencing us! When passion enters the picture, reason is out.
Why do so many counsel waiting for sexual relations until after marriage? Because marriage should be taken for what it is; a commitment to love as long as both shall live, whatever the circumstances. It needs to be entered into only with someone whose values, goals, likes, dislikes, personality--the whole person--is truly known. The enjoyment of sex makes us willing to dismiss certain flaws about a person, which, unhappily, may later cause disillusionment and the wondering of , "Why didn't I see that?"
Emotions are of the moment. Right now, the sun is shining gloriously outside my window, with the promise of a new day, with new experiences. What will I be feeling an hour from now? If I cut my finger while slicing a tomato, probably not the same emotion I'm experiencing right now. Emotions are of the moment, but love is eternal, because it is willed. The rewards of a lifetime committment are well worth waiting to give one's body until after one has committed one's will to love truly.


Allison said...

Beautiful card and nice thoughts on the topic!

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