Wikipedia: Psychologist Erich Fromm maintained in his book “The art of loving” that love is not merely a feeling but is also actions, and that in fact, the “feeling” of love is superficial in comparison to ones commitment to love via a series of loving actions over time. In this sense, Fromm held that love is ultimately not a feeling at all, but rather is a commitment to, and adherence to, loving actions towards another, ones self, or many others, over a sustained duration. Fromm also described Love as a conscious choice that in its early stages might originate as an involuntary feeling, but which then later no longer depends on those feelings, but rather depends only on conscious commitment.
This new experience, infatuation, Fromm describes as “one of the most exhilarating and most exciting experiences in life.” However, Fromm argues astutely, that this initial infatuation feeling slowly and naturally loses its miraculous character more and more with time, as the two people get more acquainted and learn more and more about eachother – flaws, character defects, etc. Fromm says the problem all-to-often arises when people confuse infatuation feelings (exhilaration/excitement) for proof of the intensity of their Love….(a person) after a few times of getting burnt will begin to actively destroy or sabotage Love in the nascent stage when it occurs in the future, in an effort to avoid the past painful feelings associated with Love gone wrong or to avoid feelings of vulnerability and/or to maintain control — in essence to not surrender to Love. Fromm concludes that Love is not just a feeling, it is a decision, it is a judgment, it is a promise. To love means to surrender and commit without guarantees.
There is some sort of amazing transformation that comes from a commitment to something. That stage right before you dive in, where your original passion has calmed, where other choices seem so tantalizing, where you flail around waiting for something to confirm your selection, is terribly painful. This is where I fail most often. I certainly gave it a lot of lip service with JJ, but I was never quite willing to commit and trust.
As I said in a previous post, I use JJ in this blog as a representation, because, unless we’ve only ever had one relationship, don’t we all go through this? I don’t think his hesitation was any different than mine really. We just acted it out in different ways. He told me once, “there are seven billion people in the world, I’m sure you will find someone else.” I laughed. I couldn’t help myself. How could I explain to him the childishness of that obvious statement? Didn’t he know that you can search the world over to find someone, but until you become culpable for your own actions and choose to treat someone lovingly even in difficult times, you will never really know love? The really sad part is that even if he didn’t know that, I did, but I still didn’t do. What can I say, vulnerability sucks.
I’m sure you know how it will go from here. Both of us might find someone new. We will be happy, for a while, and then that feeling of restlessness will settle in. Little things overlooked before become annoyances. Questions…
The mature person will know that there is more than just saying ‘I love you’ to someone. They are cheap words anyway. You can pick them up at any Hallmark or hear them flung around causally while people converse at the table next to you. Me, I avoided them until the moment I walked away. Until I had nothing to loose and nothing to commit to. The words we want to hear are, ‘I choose you’. The real magic in any kind of relationship is an ability to choose to nurture each other. It seems so simple.
And this is not confined to romance, it goes for family and friends as well. I have a friend who is buried in her graduate studies right now. She is MIA. I was suspecting that she may have been kidnapped by Somali Pirates. But I am now considering the possibility that she may be withering away in a basement room somewhere on the UW campus, her wasted corps slumped over a computer and the tips of her fingers worn away from typing. Although it’s not much, I’m going to make her very favorite thing for her the next time I see her. Every relationship needs a little nurturing sometimes.
- 1 pound or two containers of Mascarpone
- 2 egg yokes
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 2 tbsp. sugar
- 3/4 cup dark coffee or espresso
- 1 tbsp. Kahlua or rum
- Lady Fingers or shortbread
Mix together the Mascarpone, egg yokes, vanilla and sugar. In another bowl mix the espresso and alcohol. What the hell, for get the ‘or’ and use both rum and Kahlua. Dip the lady fingers in the coffee/alcohol mixture and put down a layer in the bottom of a serving dish. Smooth a layer of the cream on top, add another layer of lady fingers and another layer of cream. Dust with cocoa powder and refrigerate for two to three hours before serving.
Now, BB makes this a little differently, but I promised not to give away her special secret ingredient. If you really must know what it is, she says she’ll give it up for $10. But you would have to swear on your kitty’s life and/or on pain of public embarrassment that you will not divulge it to anyone else. I think it’s absolutely worth it.