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Relationship Success-What Does Love Have to do With It?

February 14, 2016

The month of February puts the topic of love on everybody's mind?  Millions or perhaps billions are spent reminding us, selling us and then going to buy the goods of Cupid. 

The world keeps us moving at a fast paced superficial level if we let it. Most people I ask don't even know how Valentine's day became a celebrated event and what it has to do with love.

What is this emotion, feeling, connection and most importantly the virtue we call love? What is its impact on the world?  How can one word have such a broad spectrum of actions and emotions associated with it?  Even to say that some seem to "love evil".

In the next 120 plus years six billion or so people will die from all causes. It will happen to someone we love if it hasn't already. No amount of mortal love can or will stop it from happening. 

This for the most part happens so subtly and quietly on an individual basis that only a circle of friends or family are affected at a time.  If we are lucky, in two generations our legacy will be our posterity and likely be little more than a faded obituary.

Following the natural laws of mortal creation billions of new lives will replace those that die on a similar subtle basis. How will these participants choose to satisfy this ability and power to create life and under what circumstances? 

The compounded consequences of this process will have a profound impact on the destiny of our world. How will the innocent be nurtured and loved? Will they come to homes of love or something else?  The concepts of freedom and success will fade away if we fail to do our part to both create and instill these ideals in our children.

How does success in our relationships affect our success in every other area?   When we look at the history of the world do we not see a story of the effects of love and hate in the lives of individuals, families, nations and the totality of the human race?

We know something of the shortcomings and challenges we each face. How can we focus on our potential to enjoy this emotional bond that each of us has a desire to experience?

My personal approach to life and discovery is to understand "the why" as some say. We base many of our attitudes in life on personal experience. We are also exposed to multitudes of philosophical, scientific and theological reasonings.  All of this in a search for understanding and truth. 

We think life would be wonderful if we could only experience the ideals of love, but the reality is that life is a constant state of learning amid opposition and pitfalls.  Thankfully it is interspersed with joys and occasional elation. What we learn and how we then act can increase the constancy of joy and love in our lives.

Doesn't it make sense to determine the level of commitment we want to attain and the depth of our development we desire with this powerful experience we call love?  Isn't love a connecting factor in so many of the relationships that we value on the highest level of our capabilities? Do we consider life a success if we fail to maintain the circle of love that solidifies our relationships?

Notions of Love

There are as many opinions about what love is as there are entertainers.  More songs have been written about this subject than perhaps any other. Essentially, many of these authors are notable failures at love and are now writing in substance induced delusions.

They are trying to figure out what went wrong in their relationships. They go on to create fantasies of what love might be since they don't know what it is. Interestingly their misguided ideas find home in the minds of audiences and often bring them financial gain.

Love lost or gained is a thematic element of many movies.  What is portrayed in these?  Often they are fantastical elements of passion and eroticism that have no bearing on a loving relationship capable of lasting beyond the whims of the participants.  They only offer more misplaced dialogue to confuse gullible audiences as to what is realistic and meaningful.

Some call love the most powerful force in the world.  This they say because they think it drives human passions for better or worse. It has been called crazy love, free love, love is blind. Blinded by what? And love at first sight. The sight of what? Are these sound concepts for lasting love? 

Some say there are four kinds of love and others seven.  Then there are terms that describe something else such as God is love or endless love.  If this is so, then how so? The philosophies of men regarding eternal things are literal dead ends in the road of life.

We are subjected to many forms of media portrayals supposedly depicting love. The imaginations and expressions of writers and actors that often have no bearing on reality still affect us as they float about everywhere in the popular culture.  

To the uninformed, the skepticism and mockery that rule the airwaves masquerading as intelligent observations seem like something to try. These entertainment notions and portrayals only reduce a person's power to make lasting connections if they try to imitate them.  

While media producers promote the no rules philosophy and unrestrained pursuit of pleasure they fail to mention the compensation that such behavior brings. 

The consequences are loss of the sensitivities that allow the long term enjoyment, trust and development of lasting love.  Addictions and loss of control are the result of stimulus by actors whose every word is contrived and every act of seduction feigned. We can't build a successful reality on a foundation of fiction. 

When I was a young man I thought about the emotions of love and what they might be when I became serious about a relationship. How would I know if I was in love or not?  I wasn't sure what to expect from marriage. How do feelings of affection and commitment develop?

I have learned that love is as much a discipline as it is an emotion and that love as a power is only developed when implemented as a principle of action. Sorry, no magic arrows, just effort and commitment. Where do we want love in our life?  At a superficial level, or can we really look at the ramifications of our relationships?

The Science of Love

We like to think or say that love is in our hearts but in reality love develops in our mind. It is cultivated and stored in the cells of our brain in ways we hardly comprehend.  It is very scientific for those that study it.  You only need to read a few noteworthy articles to understand how much science has discovered about the body and brain yet scientists don't understand it all.

Does what we eat and how we exercise affect our ability to love and feel loved? To know about neuro-chemicals, receptors and electrochemical function and the rest of the nervous system is quite amazing. There are 23,000 identifiable chemical processes in the human body.  There is certainly some possibility for variance and misfiring in the way we feel. 

The emotion of what we call love can and does act on our whole body. We know our heart is affected in a physical way at the sight or thought of a special person. These feelings seem to extend to all of the nerves in our body at times. Do we not also call the depression that sometimes sets in when love is lost or a loved dies a broken heart? Broken heart syndrome is an actual medical diagnosis as well.

Like words, emotions including love are recorded and stored as electrochemical light and energy in a format more powerful than any computer.  No computer can convert information into emotion or convert emotion into a physical experience like the human experience. 

Even though we die, the elements of our body are still eternal as they cannot not created nor destroyed, this is a scientific fact. What about our emotions? Are they a flash of electrochemical charges or part of a more eternal process connected to the development of our mind and spirit?

Our feelings or emotions go into action according to stimulus we might receive. We also create them by choosing to act on knowledge we gain in our associations and activities. The science of emotion is real  but I think it is a more powerful science than we understand with our elementary discoveries that look in limited spectrums?

What I have learned about Love

Like all principles, matter, intelligence, truth and existence itself we need to identify the nature of the subject we contemplate. Is it eternal or temporary? When did love begin to exist? 

This life is school, a school where we learn about love.  Our degree depends on our desires and our willingness to recognize what we don't know and make a plan to develop and learn.  Where will we be when we graduate? I am a student writing an essay not the professor.

This post started out exploring the relationship of temporary or mortal things in the context of eternity and the nature of our spirit. My conclusion is that our mind is more than just our brain and is where the spiritual and mortal join for the present life. This essay just started as an opportunity to see what love really is to me so don't get hung up if you don't agree.

How does such a complex emotion and virtue develop in beings living on a micro speck planet in the Milky Way Galaxy amid an endless cosmos? Are we mere creatures of evolution as some theories and limited science suggest or something of a more eternal nature?  Both require faith to believe and to search for answers.

My views on love I have gathered from my experience in life, being married for 38 years and raising eight children together. I adore and love my wife more than ever because of our experience together.  I am quite familiar with the love of a mother and wife and have tried to implement the love of a father and husband.  It is a process not an event and on it goes.  Is this investment in love and emotion lost at death?  My theology tells me it can continue.

The Philosophy of Love

Love, like all characteristics is developed through the decisions we make. In the crucible of life we encounter forces that exist in natural opposition to each other. We would call hate and darkness an opposite to love and light or sweet to bitter or good to evil. Love is the embodiment of all virtue and hate the summation of all vice. The development of virtue leads to love and light, any default to vice leads to hate and darkness. 

If there is such a thing as true love there will undoubtedly be false love or counterfeits as well.  If we fall in love can we not also fall out? Love is a choice we make to serve others. Without natural opposition there is no real experience for freedom of choice or emotional development. We can love others when they don't love us back.  Do we not call this unconditional love?

We develop love, other attributes and emotions by our thoughts, pondering, reading, entertainment and from mentors at home and elsewhere. This is part of the stimulus we submit ourselves to as naturally existing beings in a life experience designed for this purpose.  

How we act reinforces what we accept. We choose which stays and which goes and how it plays into our eternal development.  This is the agency associated with our individual will and freedom to act as we choose. The freedom to succeed comes at a cost.  It didn't start at birth and it doesn't end at death. 

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