Posted: 14 Mar 2010 09:34 PM PDT
The radio is full of love songs. Greeting card shops stock hundreds of love notes. Bookstores have dozens of books poetry about love, self help books about love, romantic novels and biographies that celebrate love and lovers. Everywhere you turn it’s love, love, love. It’s enough to make you a little crazy – and we’re not even talking about Valentine’s Day here.
Were the Beatles right when they sang, “love is all you need?”
Love is a critical ingredient in both life and relationships. Without love, we tend to shrivel up. The world can be a cold place; a is like a warm refuge from the chill.
When we’re dating, finding out that we’ve got the chemistry with another person that we call “falling in love” is a wonderful thing, a bit drug-like. We feel the rush of emotion and delight that comes from being close to the object of our affection, and we’re bathed in a rich formula of hormones that feels fabulous.
And then the feelings shift. Sometimes the passion changes into something that can burn for the long haul – a warmth that may not be as intense as it was at first, but which remains something we value and hold close to ourselves. Other times, the excitement just burns itself out and in a matter of weeks or a few months it’s just gone.
Love is a lot, but by itself it’s not enough to form the foundation for a life together. A strong foundation requires some fundamental emotional health and healthy patterns between the individuals involved.
Have you ever fallen in love with someone who clearly wasn’t a good choice for a relationship? Most of us have. We felt an intense attraction and infatuation. It may have even become a bit of an obsession. Eventually – perhaps painfully – we discovered that something was missing. His feelings didn’t match ours, or he didn’t treat us in a way that felt considerate of us. Or there was some pattern in his personality that was fundamentally unhealthy. It didn’t necessarily lessen our love for him, but if we tried to build a relationship on love alone, we got a painful lesson on codependency and losing our sense of self.
Healthy relationships require many things every bit as much as they require mutual love. An ability to communicate feelings, for instance. Mutual respect. A common approach to life and a compatible attitude towards family and friends. Without these things love is not enough, no matter how much we might want it to be.
In relationships, love is a choice, not only a sentiment or feeling. Love requires commitment and regard for the other person’s feeling and making the choices that sustain and nourish a healthy couple over time. It requires that we make the other person a priority in our lives and invest our time with him. Unless both parties involved are willing and able to make the choices that are required to sustain a relationship, love ain’t enough.
Don’t let the fool you.
John R. Ballew, M.S. an author and contributor to GAYTWOGETHER, is a licensed professional counselor in private practice in Atlanta. He specializes in issues related to coming out, sexuality, relationships and spirituality. If you have any questions or comments you can submit them directly to GAYTWOGETHER or John R. Ballew, M.S. - www.bodymindsoul.org.
grateful to MICHAEL at GAYTWOGETHER>COM