Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Love

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  1 Corinthians 13: 4-8

I have often wondered at the way people pair up, and why they chose to pair up the way they have.  The really pretty, smart college girl dating the asshole jock.  The wonderful, sweet guy turning himself into a doormat for a raging, rabid feminist shrew.  The two people who barely know each other and barely like each other.  

"But I love him/her!"

Sure.  Chemical reactions are a strong force.  But that fades.  

Case in point: a few years ago, I helped a couple of friends through their divorce.  It was uncontested, not acrimonious at all.  They'd been married for ten years.  Unfortunately, they shared next to no interests, barely talked to each other, and the chemical attraction that led them to marriage within six months faded less than a year after they'd married.  

And that doesn't count the abusive relationships.

One of my aunts was rushed into marriage by her church.  She stayed married to the guy for three years before she went to the judge for a restraining order on my mother's insistence.  The final straw was when she showed up at my mom's for a visit with her eyes dazed, and bruising on both sides of her head.  Her husband had punched her in the side of the head while she was driving him to work, hard enough to knock her head into the window.  Hard enough to give her a concussion and a brief blackout.  While she was driving.

Abuse isn't always physical, either.  Any time a partner tells their significant other that they're worthless, that's emotional abuse.  When a partner tells a significant other that there's no way that they'll succeed at something, that's emotional abuse.  Telling a significant other that they are the cause of all of the problems, when they're trying their best to please the partner is emotional abuse.  It's all about power: who has it, and what they will do to keep it. I've seen this so very many times in the coffee shop in the university library that it makes me ill.

And that doesn't count the horrific articles I've read about acrimonious divorces: the wife filing a restraining order on a husband as a first step to guaranteeing full custody of a much beloved child.  The husband being painted as a ravening, dangerous beast by lawyers and a malicious, emotionally abusive spouse.  This has led directly to suicide, in some cases; in others, it leads to a man busting his ass to support and care for a child he will never be permitted to see again.

What I don't understand is why these people end up in situations like this in the first place.  What the girl dating the asshole jock has isn't love--it's emotional abuse.  What the sweet guy has with the raging feminist isn't love--unless it's based entirely on sado-masochism.  What the couple who gets together with nothing in common has isn't love--it is, at best, a chemical attraction that will fade quickly, leaving two nice people not meant for each other in an awkward place.  

I am in love with my husband.  I am in like with my husband.  My husband and I talk about everything from books to movies to politics to history to religion.  He's going back to college for his accounting degree, and even though it makes things much more difficult with regards to scheduling and spending time with each other, I'm behind him 100%, and I'm working to make things as easy on him as I can.  Because I love him.  

We spent three years during our dating nearly 200 miles apart.  We dated for three and a half years, were engaged for two and a half, and will have been married for ten years this coming July.  

I don't understand why we're in the minority.  I really don't.  I don't understand why people in bad relationships think they're in love, when what they have is so far from what we were told in Corinthians. 

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