Monday, October 31, 2011

We Must Love as God Loves

In marriage, and in looking for that someone to spend our lives together in marriage, we must love as God loves.

He who would be first will be last. If love is all about you, making you happy, then it is destined to fail. Love must be selflessly turned outward, and not selfishly focused inward, to succeed and bear fruit. True happiness in love is paradoxical because it is obtained, not by seeking happiness for yourself first, but by denying yourself, by not concerning yourself with what you may or may not receive in return. Unhappiness and insecurity are destroyed by deciding to keep loving no matter what, even if and when the other is unfaithful and rejects you. Because of love, even suffering and pain can be transformed to joy. Because of love, even death can be overcome.

Furthermore, we can see that, by consciously willing and seeking what is best for the other, love does not seek to use or exploit the other for our pleasure, but instead seeks the good of the other, including the good which is truth, namely, the truth of the other as a “person” and not as a thing to be used for our amusement, a subject and not an object, an end in his or herself, and not merely a means to an end.

Love affirms the truth and value of the other as a “person.” Love considers, treats, and chooses to respect the other as a “person” and not merely as a thing or object to be utilized for our amusement, as an end in and of his or herself, not merely as a means to an end, and as a moral equal, not as inferior, subordinate or subservient. One who treats another as merely the means to an end, such as personal pleasure, does violence to the very essence of the other as a person.

We must love as God loves. God does not love us because are so incredibly pretty or because we are sexy or funny or smart or because we have money and power and fame - most of us are and have none of these things. And yet, He still loves us, unconditionally, unearned, undeserved, for ourselves, as we are. He loves, He gives - fully and completely, to the extent of giving His life.

We must love as God loves, and God will not use a person as a means to an end, even if that end is good. He loves us and respects us as persons. That is the love we should try to emulate.

The more that you are disposed to love, the better you are able to love and find love in male-female and other interpersonal relationships. The more that you have a loving inner disposition, the more potential mates you will encounter. With true love in the heart, the universe of possible mates grows. The more you are disposed to love, the more you will be able to see the good qualities in others. These others become more physically attractive, more intelligent, more humorous, more enjoyable. However, the more you are turned inward, seeking to satisfy yourself, complaining that there are no good men or women out there, the more trouble you will have finding them. A perfect Christian, embracing love perfectly, should be able to be united to anyone and be attracted to them, and desire them, and want to be with them, because they have love, and they see in the other the image of Christ.

We must learn to see and embrace other truths. We must recognize the truth that our passions and urges are extremely powerful, and that if we do not learn to control our passions and urges, and to subordinate them to our will, then they are going to control us.

In addition to seeing and recognizing the truth that the other is a “person,” we must see and recognize the truth of what kind of person he or she is. We must learn about the real other – the other as he or she actually is -- not an imagined other or an other as we want them to be. We must also recognize the truth of who we are, namely, a person as well, and we must love ourselves, so that we do not exploit ourselves or join in our own exploitation and objectification by another. If someone wants you merely as a means, then he does not really want you at all because, if not you, then someone else will suffice.

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