Sunday, February 19, 2006

Thoughts on Love

With St. Valentine’s Day having come and gone this week, the word love has certainly been thrown around a lot. Jewelers, card makers, and chocolatiers have been advertising in full force, booking a flurry of commercial slots. It seems that when it comes to love and relationships, people are divided into two different camps: those who believe that there is one perfect person for everyone on this planet, and those who believe that love is carefully developed and the result of patience and self-sacrifice.

I prefer to think of myself as being compatible with more than one person. Perhaps I’m being too practical, but with billions of people inhabiting this planet, it seems impossible to believe that each person could only have one “soulmate”. After all, if that were true, then how horrible the odds must be of encountering that one, true love! And what about widowers or divorcees? Is a second- or third-marriage any less meaningful? I don’t think so. How could it be possible to fall in love again and re-marry if there were only one person out there that was meant for you? I know that in some cultures and religions, marriage extends into the afterlife, but that opens up a whole set of situations I don’t even want to think about. I would like to think that most people enter a marriage in love with the person and intending to spend the rest of their lives with them. Sometimes people change or aren’t willing to work on themselves or their marriage to keep things together, but that doesn't mean one can just dismiss them as not having ever been really in love.

Why all the criticism of the perfect person theory? I don’t know—I come from a traditional background. My parents are still married, and perhaps more importantly, are still on speaking terms. However, personality-wise they are so far apart, that as I child I often wondered what they were thinking when they got married. I remember when as a mopey-eyed teenager, my mother once told me to be very careful about choosing a spouse, as she said that was possible to learn to love just about anyone.

At twenty-seven, I have only a couple of relationships to have gained my knowledge base from. I remember the first times that the words “I love you” were exchanged and the giddy feelings that accompanied them. However, I also remember an ex-boyfriend that I was not ready to say that back to the first time that he said it. Despite a somewhat hesitant start, that relationship proved to be the longest one. It was also the most painful when it ended, as by that time I had grown to love him.

I guess what I’m trying to argue here is that love is something that one develops for another person. I don’t think that it has anything to do with “destiny”. While as a Christian, I believe that God has a plan for my life, I don’t necessarily think that it’s a matter of just plucking two people out of their surroundings and putting them together. I think that love is an emotion that can grow with people as they move forward in their lives, and its occurrence is not simply a first-sight, right-place-in-the-right-time thing.

One of my close friends disagrees with me vehemently on this topic, and says that I just need to be more patient, and not waste my time with relationships that aren’t going to go anywhere. She has all sorts of criteria by which she screens out people… age, height, religion, intelligence, etc. That just seems so false to me. I don’t like judging a person’s potential by where they are at now. I know that you shouldn’t enter a relationship expecting to change a person, but isn’t it just as bad to sit back and decide whether or not a person is right for you based on an initial meeting? Maybe she’s right though—maybe my frustration with not meeting the right person is just another part of my own human floundering to control my own life, rather than leaving it up to God.

1 comment:

Chris said...

At 27, you are also a wise young woman. I side with you. Alexis was not my soulmate that was pre-destined for marrying me. She was a friend for years and years and eventually that friendship nurtured into a beautiful romance.

But I don't, don't, don't think there is just that "one person" out there, waiting to be found.