... as seconded by Amie
I guess that since I've opened up my blog, and subsequently my mind, to requests for essay topics, I suppose that I should respond to those which I've received. So, without further delay...
The Futility of Love and the Insanity of Attraction.
I plan on addressing these two topics, but not the topic of The Institution of Marriage (as in "institutionalized", meaning putting away a madman). The reason for this is because I believe the actual Institution of Marriage to be something that is ordained by God and beyond the tamperings of us mere mortals. He made the rules for everything we know that exists. He put in place all of the principals by which our universe operates. So I'm not about to argue with Him on this one. Sorry to disappoint.
So why is it that we see the pursuit of love as futility, and attractions to be so insane? Because, in our limited understanding of things which should surpass our finite confines, we attempt to make these things fit into our own little boxes.
Attraction, especially an attraction which leads us into a futile love relationship, is insane because we know that it won't last. It is based upon a prejudice which we cannot escape.
We all have our own preferences for what attracts us to someone else. Yet, none of these things are eternal. We are guilty of judging others on their appearance, something which God has told us we shouldn't do. But we really have no other options in this. If we can't appreciate the outward appearance of someone, then we'll never take the time to find out what they're really like on the inside. Still, that person on the inside, is quite possibly one of the most beautiful people you could ever meet.
A case in point. A very long time ago I knew a beautiful young lady who truely loved me... as a friend. While I would've liked to have been romantically involved with her, it was not to be. I wasn't her "type". I wasn't what she was looking for in a boyfriend. And while that really sucked for me, it worked out well for us to become great friends. I watched her go in and out of relationships with guys who treated her like crap, and never really took much time for her... unless there was something in it for them. And all because these guys were... shall we say, more physically appealling... to her. The "insane" attraction was there for them, but not for me, even though the "love" involved was an exercise in futility. I would've never treated her the way the others did... Go figure.
But the one thing that I will never forget about our friendship, which has long since dissolved over time, distance and maturity, is a comment she once made to one of her other friends about me. "He gets better looking as you get to know him.".
Some may consider this to be a backhanded compliment. I think it was a simple admission of a sudden realization of truth. Inside, she knew that I was a more appealing person, but I lacked the outward appearance to make it work for her. Pity.
But this alone is not why I consider the pursuit of love to be futile. I believe that it has to do with our human condition. It has to do with something that most of us forget, and that is the spiritual nature of love.
We allow ourselves to become wrapped up in the physical aspects of what love is, while we ignore the less physical. My pastor continually jokes about the "gushy, squirmy feeling you get in your stomach", but He's absolutely right... "It's gas, it passes.". It's futile to attempt to build a long lasting relationship on the feeling that someone gives us when we first meet. There has to be more.
And I'm not just talking about the initial attraction. It has to go beyond a common interest, or a shared experience. There isn't enough of a connection in the emotional realm either. Because our emotions are fickle as well. Our moods change with every passing breeze. We allow ourselves to reach great heights of joy only to watch ourselves tumble into despair a moment later. We're missing something in this equation, and that's the spiritual part of love.
There has to be a spiritual aspect to it. You have to ask God to be a part of it. Not only because I believe the Bible when it says that "God is love" (1 John 4:8, meaning the source of love), but because It's so painfully obvious that the two easiest connections to make are the most fragile, and fleeting.
Now, in spite of the fact that I am a Christian, I do not wish to imply that only Christians can experience this spiritual bond. That would be riduculous. As I said at the beginning of this essay, God put the rules in place, and they'll work for anyone who follows them. I've seen this in the way people handle their finances, the way they treat their employees, they way that people treat other people. God has set certain principals in motion throughout the universe. And, since we can't change them, or resist them, we may as well learn to use them. But that's the real problem, isn't it?
I'm at a loss at this point. I haven't been able to keep my own marriage from falling into disrepair, and ultimately, to it's end. It would be easy for me to blame my soon-to-be-EX-wife, for not being spiritual enough, but that too would be foolishness. I recognize my own part in the whole situation, but I do believe that things might have been different if we had followed some of the principals that God had in place. And the worst part of it... I've known about this for more years than I'd care to admit. I just didn't want to "rock the boat", at home, with our families, in the bedroom, or anywhere else that it might have made a difference. So who am I to write this essay?!?
Just a guy who's learning the hard way that you can't ignore the most permanent part of any love relationship... the spiritual side of love. I never said that I would solve the problem of love's futility, or attractions insanity, I only wanted to get these thoughts out there. Find your love on a spiritual level with someone, not just on the physical and emotional. Seek God, whatever god you wish to seek, in your love, and He will find you where you are. But the most important thing I can share with you from scripture is not 1 Corinthians 13 (I'm sure some of you are familiar with at least a part of this passage from weddings that you've attended), but with some words from Jesus himself.
"So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, this sums up the Law and the Prophets." (Matthew 7:12)
and also this... "Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law." (Romans 13:10)
The rest is between you, God, and whoever else you invite into the relationship.
Labels: faith, Reflection, Relationships