Can you REALLY Learn to Love Someone?
I sometimes think I'm a veteran talk-show host. Treading lightly, I find myself asking people rapid-fire questions about anything from the most mundane of daily routines to the most sacred, most treasured events of their lifetimes when I'm in the company of interesting – and even not so interesting people. I just like to get to know folks.
Let's be clear before I go any further. Before our conversations, I always ask the person to let me know if they're either uncomfortable with my questions or simply wish not to discuss the topic. I may be a veteran talk show host, but I'm also a very kind woman! :). With that said, while being my "talk show host self," I had the opportunity to ask someone about one of the most important lessons they believe they've learned . . . ever. Their answer was swift, to the point, and if I must say - thought provoking:
"You cannot learn to love someone."
What a lesson! From the moment those words left their mouth, they became lodged into my memory. Wow. "You cannot learn to love someone." I began wondering aloud how many marriages a simple statement like that one could have saved. How many desperate nights of crying in the wee hours of the morning or how many days upon days of feeling unwanted, undesirable and rejected could those six little words have rescued a drowning wife or a failing husband?
For years, we've heard that we can learn to love someone. How do you do that? How do you learn to love someone if the love isn't there to begin with? It's like playing a game of spades with a partner and before the cards are even dealt, you and your spades partner begin the game with a score that's negative or in card lingo, "in the hole." Is there an on-line course that can teach us how to love someone? Is there a self-help book? Maybe there's an app for something like that. And even if all three existed, would either of them be successful? And who wants to have to learn to love someone anyway? There go my questions. I'm in talk show mode again, ladies and gentlemen. :)
Marriage, in all of its splendor and beauty, is work. The strength of marriage is gathered from all of the obstacles you and your spouse overcome with the help of God and the love you have for one another. Yes, there are certainly things you can learn to love about one another during the course of your covenant. For example, in the early part of your marriage, you hated the way she batted her eyes one thousand times per second whenever she became excitedly happy, but when you got past the little awkward presentation and just became happy because she was so happy, you learned to love her little eyelash fluttering because you loved her and you loved seeing her so ecstatic. In fact, you began looking forward to seeing those lengthy lashes do their own little dance whenever you brought that girlish smile to her face. You learned to love that erratic eyelash dance. In order to learn to love something about someone, you must first love that someone. If you don't love the someone, let's not even talk about marriage. In fact, after dating for a certain period of time, if the two of you haven't fallen in love with each other, maybe we shouldn't talk about dating that person any longer either - not even for another second.
Just like Beyoncè said, sometimes we just go way too far "to the left." Being a Christian who dates never means you have to be a Christian who settles. Never settle.
Marriage is intended to be a lifelong commitment. You don't have time to learn to love someone. You should be head over heels in love with "someone" BEFORE you even discuss marrying them. Yes, you should keep yourself. By all means, keep your cookies in the cookie jar. But listen, you should date or be engaged to someone who makes it a little difficult to keep those cookies in that jar. In other words, have a partner who makes you weak in the knees, but a relationship with God that keeps you ON your knees, gathering and maintaining strength to resist until the day when you can give them everything you've got.
Is it important that your partner is saved? Absolutely. It is the most important thing! Is it important that they love and serve God? Absolutely. Is it important that he is fine in her eyes and she is all that and a bag of chips in his eyes? You better believe it! Is it important that you love them like you love a Big Gulp® on a 101° summer day smack, dab in the middle of an Arizona desert? No doubt! Is it beneficial that you learn to love her odd little quirks or his idiosyncrasies? It really is. But love the person first. Once you love the person, learning to love their ways won't be so difficult. Don't sell yourself short by falling into that "holier than thou" trap of learning to love someone based on their perceived "matchability." Listen, I've never heard anyone tell me how satisfying and mind-blowing it was to have waited all those months, and sometimes all those years, to make love to someone else's perception. Never.
I have so much to say, but you can't handle it right now and this blog simply isn't long enough. So let me conclude by encouraging you not to sell out to some religious, pious, idea of who you should marry or what your marriage should look like. Seek God. You may not marry a Will Smith or a Meagan Good (they're both taken), but be sure to marry someone you love and someone who loves you; and someone you find attractive (both good looking and sexy) and someone who finds you attractive. Don't make the mistake of placing yourself in a position where you are trying to learn to love the person you wake up to every morning - to learn to love the person whose last name you share. They don't deserve that. No one deserves that. Instead of trying to learn to love someone; it is far more entertaining to learn different ways of loving the one you are already in love with. Trust me.
The Marriage lover is PG-rated today! Way to go! Hahahaha!