In the name of the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, One God, Amen!
Love is the single most studied, but least understood, of all the human behaviors. I have heard many definitions of love from people who have claimed they were in love, movies, and books. I have also studied love as a subject. However, none of those mediums of information had one definite answer. Love seems to be many things and means something different to everyone. One thing is for sure though, everyone wants to know, “What is love?” Of course, for us, lucky Christians love has never been confusing. When people ask me, “What is love?” I say, “God, God is love.” I know this because I heard it in sermons, and it was taught to me by my confessional father. Nonetheless, it was a memorized answer, I didn’t understand what the statement meant until recently.
Nati: This is an interesting topic, tell me what you know about love.
Gelila: I know that God is love, then in that term love is holy and flawless.
Nati: So then how is it that we have failed marriages and people hurting each other in the name of love? If love is God like why do the people who love us hurt us? Why do we betray the people we love?
Gelila: The problem is that we are confusing love and relationship as one. Love and relationships are different entities. Relationships are systems, which means they can be broken, fixed, and made. On the other hand, love is holy, it can’t have flaws.
Nati: What are you saying?
Gelila: I am saying the reason for failed marriages, people hurting and been hurt by people they love is a broken relationship. Love has nothing to do with it.
Nati: Go on
Gelila: Bad relationships are a great recipe for disaster. You could love someone truly but if your system is broken you can’t function together. You have to build a relationship that is functional for the people involved.
Nati: What is the foundation of a good relationship?
Gelila: Patience, kindness, selflessness, and honesty are essential characteristics of a healthy relationship. Good relationships have superb communication skills. Listening, understanding, and validating are key aspects. One must always listen with his/her heart.
Nati: Where is the love in this?
Gelila: That’s what I am trying to explain to you. Love and relationships are not an entity. For example, let's look at work relationships. A relationship with our boss doesn’t necessarily involve love but if it has the characteristics I mentioned earlier it is functional.
Nati: If you truly love someone but you have an unhealthy relationship is there hope for you?
Gelila: Yes! That’s the wonderful thing about relationships, they can be fixed. It’s not over for you if you married someone who is incompatible with how you function in a relationship. You guys just have to work together to fix the relationship you have or to build a new one.
Nati: So love has nothing to do with it?
Gelila: Exactly! Remember love is holy, it can’t have flaws. No matter what happens in your relationship it is not because of love, it is because of the relationship. That’s why sometimes you see people who are still in love with their exes. If you have truly loved someone you can’t unlove them, but you might not be able to function with them in the same environment because of the non functional relationship.
Nati: I think I am getting this, give me more examples, please.
Gelila: When I was in college, I met this girl and we instantly became best friends. For the rest of the four years, we were inseparable. We loved each other deeply but we were always fighting because we didn’t know how to express our love in a healthy manner. Eventually, we stopped talking to each other. It has been four years since I last saw her or spoke to her. I still love her, I think of her every day, and remember her in my prayers. We are a prime example of a failed relationship. I didn’t know then that we could repair our relationship.
Nati: Oh I am sorry Gelu, it seems you miss her.
Gelila: I miss her every day. You see sometimes we hurt the people we love not because we don’t love them because we are trapped inside the flawed system (relationship) we created. But it’s not always that case, sometimes we hurt people because we didn’t love them genuinely. After all, -
Nati: Love is holy, it can’t have flaws.
Gelila: Exactly! "...let us love one another, because love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God" (1 John 4:7).
Glory to God,