Sunday, August 2, 2009

What do men want? What is love?

I received a heart-breaking message from someone I used to go to school with in early elementary school. We've semi stayed in touch on facebook, and last week she messaged me to ask advice. I think I may be the only person that she knows that is young, married, and happy about it. I think I am also the only believer she knows.

My friend told me the heart-breaking story of falling in love and dating a man she still loves. The guy was madly in love with her, ardently wooed and won her, and wanted to marry her. Now, six months later, he has moved on to another woman and she is left confused and hurt.

She wrote these questions:
"What are men?! What's going on inside men's heads? What happened to us? What is love? Do men want mysterious new girls all the time? What do you do in order to stay beautiful, new, fresh, and interesting for your husband? Are there any hidden rules?
I tried so hard to make the relationship work...and I always showed him that I always had enough time, energy, and will to communicate with him because I loved him! What do men want from their women?!"

It makes me incredibly sad, because I've seen so many friends reel in pain after a breakup and ask these same things. They wonder what they did wrong, and they wonder how their boyfriend/girlfriend could have expressed such deep love just months before walking away. In some ways, you can't blame him either, because I'm sure when he expressed his love for her, he meant every word. Now I'm sure he feels great love for the next girl. In the definition of love that our society holds on to, there is nothing wrong with that. You must follow your heart. My friend is a casualty of love.

I had plenty of things to say in my head after reading my friend's message, but I first wanted to just express love and support for her in her pain. In the depth of pain, no "answer" really solves anything, and I think the central thing is just letting her know that she is not alone. Then I read it to Isaac and let him respond, because I think she really wanted to hear it from a man. Isaac pretty much said what I would have said anyways.

Isaac talked about what people mean when they say they "love" someone, and how it is pretty much purely associated with FEELING and emotion. He (and I) disagree with that perspective partly because of what she's saying here. Love is awfully unloving when it's expressed passionately one month and then totally withdrawn the next. That seems rather selfish instead of ... loving. Our definition of love is different, and I described how our perspective on love guided our dating and engagement here. It also flows directly from our faith, and the belief that the great love of God is modeled for us His great pursuit of us even when we are totally undeserving - see Hosea! And so, in light of the love of God, we believe we are all broken people incapable of loving perfectly, BUT given the strength to love on even when it isn't easy BECAUSE we draw on the great love and strength of our God.

Only in Him do I see real hope for love. Even in brokenness.


Jaimie said...

Thanks. I have so much relationship crap going on around me that I begin to wish I am never damned with one (though I am drawn to them anyway). It's good to know that if I am cursed with a relationship, maybe it won't be a bad thing. :P ;)

bingkee said...

Love is unselfish, a sacrifice----to accept, forgive and take care of the other---just like what Jesus did for us, dying on the cross, because He loves us, accepts us even as sinners, forgives us and takes care of us.
And yes LOVE means relying on God's strength to love even the unloving.

Togenberg said...

I feel so bad for your former classmate. Poor sweetie-pie, sharp pain. Oh the havoc of our culture's emphasis on youth, outward appearance, the easy thing, feeling (often commodifiable and/or "cost free").

I don't think that eros/romantic love is 'just a feeling' as some people would say, as in the right context sex/eros can be the a pointer and forestaste of heaven. I think that this dismissive perspective of feelings tends to see people as rational agents merely and tends to be wary of feeling as it is of mysticism, ritual and perhaps the human body; there is something terribly western about it (Augustine et al) and indeed Protestant (with the exception of Charismatics of course some of whom would go to an opposite extreme).

But anyways, yeah, 'I really like and I am drunk with you' is not a basis for a decades' long commitment.

Have you heard of Anna Broadway's book? I just ran across it on Amazon: