I’ve been on a “thoughts on love” theme these last couple days with Valentine’s Day on the horizon.
So, why not: Lust, Love, or Commitment?
LUST – an intense desire – purely physical, it has no lasting effect
That is how most (all?) relationships start out, don’t you think. You see someone that seems attractive to you and you are attracted to them. That is lust. That is NOT “love at first sight.” Not real love.
Lust can last for a few weeks or maybe even longer but generally if something happens you don’t like, or they do something that bothers you, that is the end of the relationship. There is no deep emotional connection that keeps you together.
The lust relationship is purely physical.
What if… you work through that irritation? What if… you decide that you can live with certain issues…. well… then I think we are moving towards love.
LOVE – a profoundly tender, passionate affection
In my humble opinion, true love, real love, actual love takes time to develop fully.
I think that you can be attracted to someone at first sight but is that love? Have you spent any time together. Do you know what the other likes? Do you know anything about them? Maybe they have quirks that will iritate you. Love is something you grow in to.
People fall in love. What does that mean? To me that means, you are investing in someone and making them be a priority in your life. You want to spend time with them, learn all about them, be their BFF, depend on them, have them be dependent upon you. There will be phyisical attraction, but much more… profoundly more… there will be an emotional attraction, a spiritual attraction.
Then how do you fall out of love? If you can fall out of love as quickly as you “fell” into love, then most likely it wasn’t really love… it was just lust that you mislabeled. It isn’t quite as romantic to say to someone: “I lust you.”
Love will hold you all night when you are grieving over a lost pet, parent, or job. Love will drop everything to help you with a broken down car. Love will sit up with you in the hospital with a kidney stone or a liver cyst. Love puts the other person first.
I think this is where society and movies have misled us greatly. What they portray as “love” is really just lust – because at the slightest obstacle the relationship ends. They make it seem that only YOU matter and if something bothers you or makes you uncomfortable, you should flee the relationship instead of working on it. Once again egocentricness has become the norm. However, if you decide it is worth it to not run away, to focus not on yourself and what you need, but on what the other person needs and what you can do as a couple then you are working towards….
COMMITMENT – a pledge, a promise, an obligation
Commitment is love, but deeper. Commitment is when you have made a decision to stay together, to deliberately love even with the feelings of lust and/or love are not constantly present. Commitment is deciding to work through the tough times… to hang in there because the history you have together and the future you could have together is better and more important than any passing anger or frustration. Commitment means that when you think about your future, it only involves each other and there is no other version in your dreams. Commitment is hard. You have to live through the ugly – deliberately staying even when everyone else in society says you should go.
Therein is one of the biggest problems with society these days. We have become too much of a throw-away society. We have disposable diapers because reusing cloth ones was too much work (BTW, all 4 of my kids wore cloth ones). We buy bottled water because putting water in washable bottles is too much work (guilty there). We buy plastic plates, and cups, and silverware because loading the dishes in the dishwasher is too much work – so we send it all to a landfill that we don’t have to see and acknowledge the damage to our environment (not this household). We use paper napkins because putting cloth ones into the washing machine with the dish towels is too much work (have you seen the amount of laundry I do? I have no problem with cloth napkins).
We have issues with our marriage/relationship and we decide that it is OK to just throw them out and move on. No reason to work on it, no matter that years may have been invested. Society says it is fine. Society has enabled this with the creation of all the dating websites. I realize that sometimes, there are truly valid reasons for leaving someone – infidelity & violence being a couple reasons – but just because they leave their socks on the floor, or click their teeth when they chew, or forget to flush the toilet sometimes (just to name a few)… those kinds of things are NOT valid reasons (in my humble opinion). Even when they add up.
It is then that the conscious decision of commitment must come into play. The decision to value the relationship and the person over the inconvenience/irritant. To decide together to overlook some things and to work together on fixing other things.
OH… that hard word: COMMUNICATION.
Why dispose of something that has been good. Why dispose of something that has the potential to be good again. Work at making it good again. It can be good again, it is still good, just different. So you aren’t passionately making out on the couch watching Ben-Hur (though that could be fun)… that doesn’t mean you don’t love each other.
Love is like the ocean… the feelings ebb and flow… if you jump out when the feelings ebb and run for the road, you may miss out on the wonderful treasures you can find in the sand and then miss the exciting ride when the flow washes back in and lifts you up again.
You can find all kinds of cool stuff on the internet. This chart/graphic is a good one. 🙂
I wasn’t sure where to input it in the text, so it is just here at the end for your enjoyment.