Balancing Life / Heart vs Head

Being “In Love” vs “Loving Someone”

Being in love is a feeling.  It’s addictive, euphoric, mind-numbing,  highly pleasurable, and incredibly motivating.  It’s the feeling that you have no other choice but to act toward another person.  Even if that means blowing off your regular routine, or your regular life just to have a taste of the most amazing thing you’ve ever felt in your life.  Being in love feels so good it can often blind people from understanding reality.  Because how could something that feels so good be bad?  Drugs can have the same effect if not kept in check, they can become addictions.

I was in a relationship once where someone was addicted to me, like crack cocaine.  It didn’t matter what his reality was, he had to keep the relationship going no matter what.  So he lied, a lot.  He coveted me while idealizing me.  I tried to warn him of the destruction that lay ahead if he didn’t insert some balance but he didn’t listen.  A very harsh crash and burn came soon after.

Being in love doesn’t have to be bad.  Just like having a glass of wine or two in the evening isn’t a sin.  But it’s when you can’t say no that it becomes very destructive and untrustworthy.  Society preaches to trust your heart and your feelings more than your head.  I say everything in moderation.  But if you can’t keep it in balance than you’re better off listening to your head.  Because emotions are fleeting.

I have another friend who after her divorce,decided to protect her heart from further damage and will not allow her heart to feel,as it should, the warmth, and comfort of another person.  Her head has become Stalin-like, writing off any feeling as an opiate, designed to fool, trick, and destroy.

Both extremes are bad.  Both extremes stop you from experiencing life the way God intended.

Being in love is all well and good but truly loving another person takes self-sacrifice. It takes give and take.  It takes your brain working with your heart to figure out the best way to behave.

Being in love is almost by definition purely selfish.  We go after that thing that makes us feel good and will do what it takes to get it.  Jump on airplanes, quit jobs, or move. Those acts can seem unselfish.  But they’re not.  We’re doing it for us.

Truly loving someone is doing the best thing for the circumstances even if it means you don’t get what you want.  Giving it space and time sometimes means that you value that other person enough to honor and respect that they aren’t ready, perhaps even if you are.  Waiting to move in together because of children, or family means that you trust the love you have not to disappear.  Being understanding if your significant other has to say no to you for reasons like their work schedule, or previous commitments is placing their needs above your own.  And while you delay your own gratification in these situations, I’ve found that it breeds so much appreciation from the other person that in the end, you are blessed beyond your imagination with trust, honor, value, and selfless love from your mate in return.

I’m convinced that being “in love” is what makes women accept less than they deserve and motivates men into sexual relationship far before they’re ready to make a commitment.  We just want what we want and think if we get it then we’ll be happy.  Mostly it just causes confusion and regret.

My son told me the other day that he is serious about his girlfriend of three months.  He could see himself marrying her one day.  She is in town for college and will be leaving in a few months to live in another state.  He was perplexed at what to do because he really wants to keep her in his life.  It told him this…

“Wow, I really like her.  She’s my favorite girlfriend you’ve ever had!  But listen, you need to look ahead and think about what things might come up as roadblocks.  What she decides for a career, what you decide, where she wants to live, lots of things.  And then commit yourself to be true to your own heart when it comes to deciding what you want out of life.  Don’t put what she wants ahead of what you want with some romantic gesture, because I guarantee in 20 years you will look back and resent her for it.  If you trust God that you are meant to be together, then you choose freely, your career and who you want to be honoring yourself first.  Then see if you can make that work with her.  I’ve seen too many boys never become men until after they marry and that is a recipe for disaster. ”

He said, “Mom why do you have to be such a downer?  Why can’t you just celebrate the romantic part about what I just said and give me a hug?”

My reply surprised him.  I said, “Because you are on a journey and you don’t head out on a journey like an obstacle course without looking ahead to see what you might have to do to get through it the fastest, best way with as little injury and delay as possible.  If you just started running without looking ahead you might not be prepared for what hits you and it can cause damage in lots of ways.  But if you DO look ahead you already know what might happen, you can react well to make sure you succeed.  If you want to marry this girl down the road, you must look at the pitfalls that might happen so you can avoid them.  Don’t manipulate them to your gain, but instead trust them as good challenges that you must overcome to actually succeed.  Think of it this way if you set out on a mile run and half way though cut across the field to get ahead, you might be further along in the journey but you just cheated yourself and ever other runner and the victory is fake, hallow, and short-lived.  You want REAL victory and I want that for you too.”

He got it.  I wasn’t being a downer as much as a coach helping him get through the course.  But it is a classic lesson in not letting your heart lead without engaging  your brain along the way.

My Harry said yesterday, “Can I marry you over and over again every day?”  And I said, “Yes, I think that’s a good thing.  To choose with intention your path everyday instead of going on autopilot.”

It’s about balance.  It’s about choice.  It’s about feeling.  One without the other is no good.

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