The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Friday, September 20, 2013

Love isn't enough

 Some people say that if you love someone, you must forgive them…and they mean “forgive” in the sense of allowing them to maintain relationship with you, even in a context where they can harm you.
I suggest that it might be useful to look more carefully at their definition, and see if it serves them. “Love” is that sense of emotional connection. But it is separate from “trust”, which is an evaluation of their values as expressed in action.  I can love Jason, but I wouldn’t “trust” him to drive me on the freeway.  A person who is emotionally or ethically crippled can be worthy of the one, but not the other.    A marriage, for instance, is not just about love.  In fact, in human history marriages have been more primarily about trust, shared values and commitments, and willingness to protect each others’ lives, property, and genetic investments.  Love was often a luxury. 

There are too many cases where I coach someone trapped in a loveless, damaging, abusive relationship that damages the children, and when asked about the genesis of the relationship, what comes out is the sense that they knew the husband or wife was damaged, or emotionally unstable, but that they had no right to judge. 

Unless they are saying that this was the best they could do (closer to the truth) they are deluding themselves. Their obligation was not to the potential partner.  Their obligation was to any children they might bring into the world.  Anyone who doesn’t find the healthiest, most stable and sanest partner that their heart can hold is a fool.  And in being a fool, they are getting what they deserve—until they wake up from the nightmare.

What makes a marriage or relationship?  My choices would be friendship, love, passion, physical attraction, trust, shared values and interests, similar communication styles, shared goals, matching or complementary energy levels.    Any of these things by themselves might be great for a friendship, but when you blend lives, EVEN IF YOU DON’T WANT CHILDREN you would be smart to ask if you would WANT this person to raise your children.  Because if not, you need to ask yourself why you are trusting them with your heart, and your life.  And exactly why you deserve less than those children might.   In “Ancient Child” language, what advice would you give yourself if you were your own most beloved child?

And if that advice is different than you currently give yourself…you have work to do.


1 comment:

Shannon Baker said...

It sounds like an interesting series. I will check it out

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