She lies on the bed, her face inches from his. Their bodies parallel, limbs intertwined. Her pores glistened under the overhead light. Her eye makeup is meticulous. She is beautiful: for him. Music from the laptop ambles on in the background, unnoticed, the only thing anchoring them through time. Eyes devour each other as smile meets smile. They could stay there their whole lives.
“What are you thinking?” she asks the age-old question. He tenses up and smiles.
“I am thinking about how beautiful life is with you: Right here and now.” He says. Her eyes lighten up. She smiles.
Sorry to interrupt. I know you were starting to get engrossed in the story. But i have got to
stop you there for a second.
Today, however, we will look at two gentlemen. John Lennon once wrote a song entitled ‘All you need is love.’ He ended up abandoning one of his children, he hurled homophobic slurs at his manager and he was an infamous wife barterer. On the hand, Reznor Tret wrote a son, ‘Love is not enough.’ He married one woman and was blessed with two children with her. He cancelled entire tours and albums so that he could be a good father to his two beautiful children and a loving husband to his wife.
One of these men had a crystal clear understating of what love is. The other one did not. One of them saw love as a solution to all his life problems while the other one did not. One of these men is probably the dumbest person in the world.
As it stands at the moment, many of us idealize love. We see it as some lofty cure to our problems in life. It is evident, from our stories, history and movies, that we celebrate love as life’s most ultimate goal. We regard it as the final solution for all our struggles and pains. The mere mistake of idealizing love makes us overestimate it. As a result, it is our relationships that suffer the consequences.
The people that believe that ‘all they need is love’ are most likely to ignore other more fundamental values that go hand in hand with love and healthy relationships such as commitment towards the people we care about, respect, trust and humility.
The people who believe that ‘love is not enough’ understand that a healthy relationship requires more than a myriad of loft passions and pure emotions. They understand that there are things more important in life and relationships more than just ‘being in love.’ They also understand that the success of healthy relationships hinges on deeper and more important values. The problem with idealizing love is that it makes us have unrealistic expectations about what love can do for us and what love actually is. These expectations end up sabotaging the very relationships we hold dear. There are a few facts about love that are crystal clear:
Falling in love does not necessarily mean compatibility. This may sound paradoxical but it is true. Some people just felt the ‘spark’ and dived into a relationship: just because it felt right. There mere fact that two people are in love does not mean that they are good partners or that the relationship will go long term. The truth of the matter is: compatibility is a logical process while love is an emotional process. Therefore the two are like day and night; they do not blend into one another well. It is possible to fall in love with someone who has no respect for us, someone who makes us feel worse about ourselves, someone who does not treat us well or someone who has a dysfunctional life.
It is possible to fall in love with someone who has different ambitions in life that are not in line with yours: someone whose life goals are different from your own. Someone who holds different worldviews or philosophical beliefs that clash with your own sense of reality.
“The only way you can fully enjoy the love in your life is to choose to make something else more important in your life than love.”-Concepter Aquino.
Do not get me wrong, being in love with your partner is important. I mean who does not want to have someone who makes their heart flutter. However, when choosing a life partner, you must not only use your heart but your mind. Evaluate the person’s values: their ambitions, their views on life, how they carry themselves, how they treat themselves how they treat the people close to them. In short, compatibility is mandatory.
Love is not the solution to your relationship problems. Love does conquer all: love may make you feel better about your relationship problems but it does not resolve the little problems in life. Love is a high feeling, therefore, a stable and practical foundation is important, without which, the rising tide of emotions will sweep everything away.
The question that is asked often is, what are you sacrificing for love, and is it worth it? One of the defining characteristics of loving someone is that you are able to be selfless and think outside yourself and care about your partner’s needs. In a healthy relationship, it is mandatory for both partners to sacrifice their time, needs and desires for one another. The problem comes when you have to sacrifice your dignity, respect, life purpose, ambitions, just to be with someone. A healthy relationship is supposed to supplement our identity, not destroy it. If you start to tolerate a disrespectful and abusive behaviour, only a shell of the person you once were is was will be left.
The oldest piece of relationship advice is the friendship test. You and your partner should be best friends. Because the emotional high of falling in love usually wears off. Spend time with your partner like you would with your best friend, communicate openly and have fun with them like you would with your best friend.
Love is a wonderful experience: an experience everyone should aspire to feel and enjoy. But like all experiences in life, it can be healthy or unhealthy. Like all experiences, it should not be allowed to define our life purpose or identity. We cannot sacrifice our self-respect and life purpose for love. Because the moment we do that we lose ourselves and we lose love.
Love is great. Love is wonderful. Love is necessary. Love is beautiful: but love is not enough.