Monday, February 15, 2010

Real Love

Yesterday was Valentine's Day. The 'day of love.' Many people love this day. Many people despise it.

Some of our notions of love are really quite dysfunctional. We call a lot of things love that have nothing to do with love at all. A lot of relationships contain elements of control, obligation, manipulation, sacrifice, suffering and unhealthy dependency (emotional and physical). Our movies and books help to perpetuate the idea that all this junk is love. None of this has anything to do with healthy, mature love.

I love this quote by Mary Anne Radmacher:

"While I do not always understand - I value you. Preferring not to act simply on need - I want you. I do not love you of obligation or habit - I choose you. I accept you. I rejoice in your life, your life lived freely right beside me."

What a beautiful (partial) description of mature, healthy love and partnering.

As we pass yet another Valentine's day, it behooves us to reflect a little bit on our understanding of love itself. Letting go of our image of romanticized dysfunction as the definition of love and learning about and embracing authentic, mature love sets us free.