Monday, 9 May 2011

Love and responsibility 8

How can I test my love?
How can I test my love before I marry? I can only do this by asking myself what the content of my love is. And, most importantly by listening to discern if the other person intuits the same thing as I – that a life of mutual self-giving is possible for us.
Love cannot be tested in a genital way; experimental sex is an obstacle to love because a couple need to get to know one another as persons. Sexual experimentation prevents this kind of knowing to develop between them and instead, sexual knowledge will override their need to know one another as persons.
The content of my love rests not upon my feelings or emotions but upon my struggle first to know myself and secondly to know the other person. The fact is that every person has the capacity for love, but this capacity is not ready made; it must be nurtured and protected. So, I should look at myself at the level of the virtues: how do I relate with the other, how do I influence him or her, how am I influenced by him or her, how have I changed, how have my other relationships changed, how integrated is my life, my work, all my other relationships, how do I listen to the advice of other people, how do I now respond to my family and friends. I need to look at my stability of character, my stability of interests, my confidence in decision-making, the way I pray, the way I approach God in the sacraments, the way I embrace the life of grace. And if the relationship is creating a true process of growing in maturity, then I can begin to know whether or not I can give myself, my whole self, to this other person in marriage.
For marriage to be a real possibility this same process has to occur in the other person as well. We both need to intuit the same thing, individually, within our selves; that we can make of ourselves a mutual self-gift. For this to happen I have to be able to listen to and to hear the other. I also need to be able to hear God speaking to me; prayer and God’s grace – His closeness to us - will help us both to test our love.

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