My thought for today. Many different forms of love exist: romantic love, love of a child, love for mankind. The one common denominator is a caring that goes beyond the self. Love involves opening the self, not restraining the loved one, and demonstrates compassion, joy and equanimity so neither the self nor the loved one is placed on a pedestal, but the relationship comes first. The duality of love demonstrates individual and shared elements; one doesn’t have to give up the self for the shared experience of love.
As parents we take pride in our children, but also need to set limits. Part of each individual’s development requires learning about both potential and limits. Tough love dictates knowing when to say, “no.” As adults we have a base of experience that the child has not yet developed. We want our children to grow, learn and mature, but boundaries are necessary. If a child doesn’t yet understand the danger of running into a street, we must provide restrictions until the child internalizes the distinction between running in the yard and running in the street. The line to walk involves giving the child room to test, explore and learn within a safety net.
The biggest challenge in romantic love is the boundary between my way and your way. In any relationship there will always be conflict. I want to watch television and you want to play bridge. The test of a strong relationship is how these conflicts are resolved. If I feel I have to “win” I’ve lost sight of the relationship. Love involves give and take and seeking a common ground for “us” not “me.”
A commitment to the relationship provides the motivation to resolve conflict. Commitment becomes the key to a lasting relationship.