HOW REAL IS HER LOVE?
by Marc H. Rudov
October 19, 2008
I love you. Three powerful words. They change lives. Are they real? Unlikely. Men and women blithely utter these three words as easily as politicians promise tax cuts. Do they mean it? Odds are, no. The test below will tell you for sure.
Half of marriages end in divorce. What is a divorce, really? Besides being a legal process and a destroyer of families, it’s a biopsy on a marriage, a diagnostic evaluation of a failed union. On the alter, bride and groom pledge love as the primary component of their wedlock. As petitioner and respondent in a dissolution, which the wife initiates 70% of the time, they bicker over the loss of assets and children — not love. So, the biopsy reveals no evidence of love. What happened to it? Did it just vanish?
Unlikely. People marry for a variety of ulterior motives — money, lifestyle, loneliness, security, convenient sex, career, appearance, parental pressure, legitimate children, and Green Cards — none of which is love. In fact, in the entire history of marriage, love as a uniting force is a relatively new concept, and a weak one at that.
My contention is that love in a failed marriage or relationship was not real and never existed. To use a scientific analogy: If love is the chief component of marriage, it cannot disappear into thin air, without a trace. Think of love as having a binary property: either it exists or it doesn’t. By the same token, glass is the chief component of windows; it can’t just evaporate one day, defying all laws of physics and chemistry.
There are people who believe they’re marrying for love — but only because they don’t understand its meaning. Almost any dictionary mentions “passionate affection” in its definitions of love. But, most of us have experienced passionate affection, numerous times, with our spouses and paramours. If we’re honest, though, we’ll admit that those encounters weren’t necessarily love. So, a big problem is that, by and large, we don’t know the meaning of love. It’s a nebulous concept. Yet, we recite it, believe others who pledge it to us, and base wealth-depleting decisions on it. Total insanity.
Four Pillars of Love
What is love, then? How can one know whether he truly loves a woman or is receiving true love from her? This is a critical question, because one never should express or accept or base his life on anything he doesn’t grasp.
Allow me to offer a reliable, easy-to-remember love test. Simply, the four pillars of love are mutual and sustainable lust, obligation, veracity, and equality. For the structure of love to stand, all four pillars must be present. If one pillar is missing or deficient, the structure collapses, and there is no love. If the pillars are not mutual (supported by both man and woman) and sustainable (able to endure for years), there is no love.
Let’s examine these four pillars of love:
Lust — Lust is a powerful sexual attraction between mates. Without lust, two people are just companions. Lust is the result of mutual connection — physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, philosophical, political — manifesting as respect, admiration, and desire for intimacy. Lust cannot be sustained without the other three pillars (see below). Without lust, people get bored and stray. Women often are counseled by their mothers to disregard lust as unnecessary in a marriage (just catch a good provider); that’s why so many women cheat on and divorce their husbands. Many men find lustful women intimidating or offensive; that’s why they marry boring wives and then cheat on them. It’s a myth that lust is a short-term phenomenon. When asked why he never strayed in his 50-year marriage to Joanne Woodward, Paul Newman said: “Why should I go out for hamburger when I have steak at home?” Note: a quick way to kill lust is to eat like a pig and avoid the gym.
Obligation – Obligation is the mutual commitment to watch each other’s back, to defend each other, to speak well of each other in public and to the children, to rally each other, to be there for each other in difficult times (except in the case of self-destructive behavior like drug addiction), to consider each other in all major decisions, to be responsive to each other, to follow through consistently on promises to each other, to be faithful to each other, and to put each other first above all else and everybody else. Obligation, in this case, is meant not to be drudgery but voluntary and heartfelt. If you cannot imagine living up to or receiving these obligations one year or five years hence, love doesn’t exist in your situation. And, if one of you attempts to harm or destroy the other, at any time (including divorce court), love never existed between you.
Veracity – Veracity means truth. Two people must communicate the truth to each other — about their feelings, thoughts, likes & dislikes, intentions, agendas, and actions — and they must do so willingly, frequently, and effortlessly. Alas, most people do not live this way, and that’s why most relationships fail. If two people meet online, and their dating profiles contained lies (age, weight, photos, etc.), they’re already doomed. There’s a myth that women convey their feelings more easily, willingly, and truthfully than men. Not only is this a myth, it’s a downright lie. If two people don’t have mutual and sustainable veracity, starting with initial contact, they have no love.
Equality – Equality is the antithesis of entitlement. Equality means that neither man nor woman is treated better or regarded more highly than the other, period. With equality, neither partner has rights or privileges superior to those of the other. A woman who expects that a man will wine & dine her, “because that’s the way it’s done,” doesn’t believe in quality. No love here. Conversely, a man who expects a woman to pick up his dirty socks, “because that’s the way it’s done,” doesn’t believe in equality — if she consents, neither does she. If a woman’s attraction to a man is predicated on the carats, casas, and cars he provides her, she doesn’t believe in equality — if he consents, neither does he. No love here.
The NoNonsense Bottom Line
Life is simple, but people work hard to make it difficult. Love is simple to understand, as the test above proves. Either love is present in your relationship, or it isn’t. You might feel a lot of attraction for her, and she for you, but that doesn’t make it love. Only if you have mutual and sustainable lust, obligation, veracity, and equality can you have love. If one of those pillars is missing or deficient, you don’t have love.
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It’s OK to be in a relationship without love, as long as both of you are clear about it. If such is the case, never say, I love you, and never accept it from her — because both of you would be living a lie.
How real is her love? How real is yours? If the test shows not real, you have some big decisions to make.