Enemies of Love
Love is Not Indestructable
The primary definition of love at Dictionary.com is "a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person." In the famous passage of the Christian New Testament, I Corinthians 13:4-8,love is given this description: "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails."
The former definition describes the feeling of love, the latter love's ideal characteristics. One might say that the New Testament description provides lovers with a picture of what love should be, that is, ideal love or "true love."
There some of the enemies of love are listed:
- Self promotion
- Remembering of wrongs
- Hopelessness, despair
If I'm missing any in the passage, let me know. There are other enemies of love as well, but for now let's just deal with these.
Impatience is the unreasonable desire for a thing to be, now. Rule of thumb, unreasonability is an enemy of love. If you want love to grow and prosper, be reasonable.
This is an interesting one. If you love someone, why would you be unkind to them? One would think that if you loved a person, you would want that person to feel good. In dealing with your loved one, therefore, kindness, softness and deference are the key.
Envy is a dividing force. It implies, "You have and I don't." Love would say, "I'm glad you have. Enjoy." If it's something that can be shared, your loved one will probably share it with you voluntarily, provided they love you, too. Yes, you can love someone who doesn't love you back. And if you love them, you don't envy them, you are happy for them.
"I'm so proud. Look at my loved one, I'm so proud of her." What is s/he, your horse? "I'm so proud of my poetry." What if your loved one doesn't like your poetry? Is your pride then wounded? I would say it is okay to take pride in your work, to be proud of your children within reason, to be proud to be associated with someone as wonderful as the person you love. However it is wrong to let your pride lapse into any kind of proprietary feelings or to be a source of division. If you place the one you love above yourself, you will do just fine.
This is about respect. No one deserves respect more than the person you love. To be impolite or rude is to show disrespect. Disrespect and love are like oil and water. Always show the one you love respect.
In this world, we often must do some self promotion to get ahead. In love, there is no need for self promotion because your love is your equal, has always been your equal, and will always be your equal. If you use a person you supposedly love to raise yourself above them, you are degrading them and therefore you do not love them. If you love a person, you will promote them, and in a loving relationship, you will always be promoting each other.
There are heated, violent arguments around this issue, ha ha.
I'm not sure we can completely free ourselves of anger. Yet an angry response is not a loving response. If you love a person you will leave before you deal with them in anger. You will deal separately with your anger and then come back with a cool head and give them the deference and softness they deserve.
One take on love and anger comes from another Broadway musical, Avenue Q. "The More You Ruv Someone". It's true that no one can push your buttons like the one you love. Keep a cool head. The most stupid things you ever say will be said in anger.
Making Lists of Wrongs
People make mistakes. If you love a person, you will tend to give the person the benefit of the doubt. You will wait for their explanation and will forget the wrong immediately after. Why? If you keep a list of the wrong things they did, the list will become a wedge driven between you.
Now, there are exceptions. Some things some people find to be unforgivable. There is such a thing as abuse. If you think someone is abusing you, it might be helpful for you to make a list of their abuses so that you can see them more clearly.
Ending a relationship is difficult, but often necessary. Abusive relationships must be ended.
Telling the truth is not always the best idea, but ideally it is always the best choice. I am not talking about the "does this look my ass look big" question. In general, if you do something wrong, you should own up. If you love someone, you should have no need or desire to deceive them. If you are sneaking around to have an affair, either stop yourself or talk to your partner about your feelings, why it is you feel drawn to this other person. It is better to hurt your lover with the truth than let them discover later that you lied to them.
Hopelessness and Despair
Nothing is as big a turn-off as negativity. Be positive! You're in love! Things are great! No matter what else is going on in your life, at least you have this wonderful person who loves you! So quit being such a downer and slap a smile on that mug. That's better.
In Children of Eden, a musical by Stephen Schwartz based on the the book of Genesis in the Jewish Torah, the lyrics say that "the hardest part of love is the letting go." Yet if you think about it, letting go is a no-brainer. If you love someone, why wouldn't you let them do what they want to do and go where they want to go?
It's the possessive quality of love that gets us into this kind of trouble. That's where all the jealousy, suspicion and betrayal come from. A great deal of this possessive quality comes from the idea that a person can only be in love with one other person. There is a very good case for this, but it is not always true.
You have to ask yourself, "If I love this person, don't I really want them to be happy? If not with me, then with someone else?"
I know this is a lot to ask, but what is better? To go from love to hatred and blame, and live feeling that you were wronged because someone's feelings for you changed, or weren't what you hoped they'd be?
I think that it is better to love than to hate and better to forgive than to blame. But maybe that's just me. What do you think?