Thursday, 5 May 2011

Love and responsibility 2

Love as a challenge
When a relationship begins between two people the way forward is not necessarily clear. The goal of the relationship – testing whether one is called to marriage with this particular person – is caught up at the outset with one’s own personal feelings, desires and ideas. A relationship can easily become an end in itself, fulfilling some feelings and desires but blurring the need for decision. If this happens to me then I am tending to make my partner become a means to an end; my relationship makes me feel good. But a relationship is more than a means to an end. To discover this depends upon what I think love is.
Today it is necessary to ask upon what basis love is measured. Is it measured according to my own personal criteria, my ideas, my hopes, my plans? Is it measured according to what society allows, what I see others doing, what I am allowed by law? Is it measured according to principles of truth and goodness which still lie at the heart of human society? Is it measured according to the Gospel and God’s will? Do I measure love according to some other rule? However I look at love, my approach to such questions as these will give me something upon which to test the truth of my relationship.
What is the truth of a relationship? The truth of a relationship, which I am called to discover, is founded on being able to see the good of the other person – how can I be of benefit to the other? If I can see this then a bond can grow between me and the other person which unites us internally and upon which love can grow. Ultimately, the truth of a relationship lies in whether it is moving towards marriage or not. A relationship which is not leading towards marriage remains at the level of friendship.
In fact, the experience of love demands much more than the fulfillment of feelings and desires, it demands that I must be in charge of my freedom. In practice this means that I must be able to steer a relationship towards its goal - marriage - and not just be steered by it. A state of indecision in me means that love cannot grow and that the relationship is floundering. If this happens I need to make a radical decision about the relationship.

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