Thursday, September 11, 2008

On Love

A thought sparked by last night's discussion.

Can you love someone who doesn't love you back?

Not in a parental kind of love, not in a general "love for well-being's sake" love, but a true and romantic love. Can someone be "in love" with someone who doesn't love them back?

I don't think it's possible, here's why.

Love at it's core is a reciprocal event. It requires the willful emotional trust of two participating parties. It means that you've given complete emotional power to someone else and you trust them with it. You trust that they will not only not be irresponsible with it, but that they will keep it, cultivate it, grow it.

Return it.

I don't believe that you can offer this level of love to someone without understanding that they are doing the same thing. There's no small beauty in the mutual offering of that trust. And it can't be gone alone.

Unrequited love does not exist. It assumes the appearance of love, yet suffers the inability to assume it's definition. In our limited human capabilities, true love has no jurisdiction where it is not returned. God alone suffers the heartache of this exception.

Now, can someone love someone and fall out of love with someone? Say a couple grows apart over time; does there exist an exception for my theory? Not necessarily, while to remain "in love" with someone while he/she no longer returns the sentiment is acceptable, it does, however require that there was once a true and mutual offering of love.

Simply, I believe that romantic love of this kind exists in human form as necessarily a two-way street.

If someone tells you they love you, and you do not love them, gently let them know that they do not love you, but an idea of you. The love they are expressing will never be fully and officially endorsed until you can love them wholly in return.

Feel free to disagree


Michael Leyson said...

Your poetic insights are again truthful and inspiring to read! Awesome stuff man! I needed your wisdom back in high school!

Tyler Bianco said...

I patently disagree.
Try telling God that he doesn't really love you, he simply loves an idea of you.
(I don't mean you=sean durham, but someone).

Bottom line, real love, by definition is completely independent of action on the part of the recipient and does not require reciprocation.

Additionally, if it were impossible, Christ would NOT have called us to love our enemies.

If you are simply referring to the acutely inferior romantic "liking" between a guy and girl, then I understand. Otherwise, I respectfully think you are dead wrong on this one.

I love you man. (I realize how ironic and possibly cliche that might be, but you take it for what it is worth to you).

Tyler Bianco said...

One more thing ;]

If it were impossible to love others in the same way God loves, then why would Christ say that the very identity of a Christian is found in their AGAPE for others (John 13:35). Of the MULTIPLE Greek words for love Christ could have used here, He chose to use the same one used to describe God's love for us. If it were impossible for us to have this ABSOLUTELY SELFISH, God-like love, then it is essentially impossible to be a disciple of Christ

Seaner said...

I patently agree :)

I think the very nature of our inability to love without reciprocation serves to amplify or distinguish the contrast between our finite love and God's perfect love.

What i'm talking about (and I'm by no means an authority, just giving my obligatory opinion) is "romantic" love. The kind of love between a man and wife, or yet, man and his betrothed.

As we are the bride of Christ, His is the only love able to withstand nonreciprocal action.

I'm just saying, it's impossible to wholly love a boyfriend/girlfriend who does not love you back. That shared experience is everything.

Love you brother.

Tyler Bianco said...

Well in that case, I agree with everything you said.
I really like it when that happens. (I almost put love, but realized how ironic it would be if I did!)

holly elaine said...

Nope. I still disagree.

You can romantically love someone who doesn't romantically love you back. However, so often is it infatuation, and how often do we have the painful experience of being able to lie to ourselves about it? I argue that you can love someone romantically and they don't share that same feeling, because being capable to 'love' doesn't come from us. It's one of the few redeeming qualities of being human. But I also argue that much more often it isn't love. As we all know but hate admitting, we can fall in 'love' with the wrong person. Two people can be 'in love', being reciprocated, and it's still not even love. Yeah?

mrs. bear said...

I disagree, but I'm still trying to figure out why. Here are some thoughts: This "romantic" love you're talking about is really not the love that exists between a husband and wife. The love between a husband and wife goes so far beyond that. It has to exist outside of the idea of reciprocity. I believe that the vows the we make when we marry are an agreement to reciprocate loving actions but vows are different from actual love. Vows are an agreement between two people and God. Love is a commitment that a spouse makes which is not dependent on whether or not the other spouse returns it.
My other thought is that somewhere in your post it seems like love is getting confused with feelings. The idea of "falling in love" with someone is a complete joke. It makes it seem like an accident. True love is never an accident.
So that may not have given a definitive reason as to why I disagree but those are my thoughts. I appreciate you opening it up to discussion. How often do people talk about real love anyway?