Friday, July 21, 2017

What Is Love?

Had an interesting conversation with Sybil that shed some more insight into our differences that may be vast.

For Sybil, love is conditional.  I "noodled" on that for about a day.  How I learned this was pretty dumb.  Started talking about pets, Sybil hates our cats (which she made the decision to get), says she loves dogs (never owned one), and she even flushed my fish when we were first married (without my permission).  I think we can say she is not an animal lover.  Love of a pet is unconditional...meaning pets are not perfect and do things to annoy and anger, but we are responsible for their well being.  Anyway, the cats (which she decided to get) are annoying her because they are cats (she did not have pets as a child).  Now, she has started making comments about leaving them outside so the coyotes can get them.

Anyway, is love conditional?  What are the limits to love?  If love is conditional, how is that different that a quid-pro-quo?

I guess we all have limits to love.  If Sybil had an affair, I would divorce her and not be "in love" with her anymore.  Is that conditional?  Is love a choice?  If love is conditional, then it would seem rather whimsical and subject to changing emotions.  Is this why Sybil has threatened divorce?

Maybe I am a pollyanna.  Maybe I am a hopeless romantic.  Maybe there limits to love but conditional?  Not to me.  If that were the case, I would have left a long time ago.

1 comment:

Craig said...

It's hard to say anything here without getting hopelessly bogged down in semantics. . .

It seems obvious enough that, in the context of marriage, anyway, any love worthy of the name is unconditional. Of course, it has its quid-pro-quo aspects; both spouses need to feel like they're benefitting from the marriage, and being cared for. If it's significantly one-sided, there's going to be trouble.

I always say that the 50-50 marriage doesn't work - it only works on a 100-100 basis. Both spouses just need to 'go all-in', and not worry about who's getting more or less out of the deal. But obviously, that requires a lot of trust that the other has your best interest in heart, and isn't just in it for him/herself. Break that trust, and you've got trouble. 'Keeping score' doesn't work.

See, I know I'm not telling you anything you don't know - not least that you've got trouble. But yeah - real love is unconditional (at least when we're talking about marriage; I hope we can agree that there is a category difference between marriage and pets). We're fallen human beings, so it's never as 'pure' as it ought to be, but love is what we're made for. Mother Theresa used to say that our main task in this life is to learn what it really means to love; it's just that that turns out to be more heart-breaking than we wish it was. . .