Mark Manson is a blogger who uses plain English to espouse common sense insights and advice to the masses. He wrote a blog several years ago entitled Love Is Not Enough. I encourage you to read it in it’s entirety, but if you only have time for a “cliff notes” version, read on. The gist of the article is that John Lennon was wrong when he sang “all you need is love“. Mason writes that “in our culture, many of us idealize love. We see it as some lofty cure-all for all of life’s problems. Our movies and our stories and our history all celebrate it as life’s ultimate goal, the final solution for all of our pain and struggle. And because we idealize love, we overestimate it. As a result, our relationships pay a price.” In contrast, healthy relationships require more than just emotion and/or passion. We understand that there are more important things in our lives and our relationships than simply being in love. And the success of our relationships hinges on these deeper and more important attributes; such as respect, humility, a willingness to make sacrifices, a capacity to inconvenience oneself, a commitment not only to another person, but also a commitment to ones own personal growth.
Mason goes on to list three harsh truths about love:
- Love does not equal compatibility. It’s possible to fall in love with someone who has different ambitions or life goals that are contradictory to our own; who holds different philosophical beliefs or worldviews that clash with our own sense of reality in such a way that living life together is beyond challenging; or who is so temperamentally different that it makes inhabiting a life together a constant, grinding struggle.
- Love does not solve your relationship problems. While love may make you feel better about your problems, it doesn’t actually solve them. Solving problems requires an interconnected set of skills that includes, but is certainly not limited to, having effective communication, the ability to negotiate solutions, a willingness to give, the capacity to acknowledge when you are wrong, being able to say “I am sorry,” rejecting being a martyr, actually following through on doing what you say you will do, and on and on.
- Love is not always worth sacrificing yourself. A loving relationship is supposed to supplement our individual identity, not damage it or replace it. When it comes to sacrificing one’s self-respect, dignity, physical body, ambitions and/or life purpose just to be with someone, then that same love becomes problematic. If we find ourselves in situations where we are tolerating disrespectful or abusive behavior, then we we are allowing our love to consume us and negate us, and if we’re not careful, it will leave us as a shell of the person we once were.
Until next time, peace.