Monday, June 04, 2007

Why don't you just admit it?

I discovered some time ago that when it came to actually loving another human being I was short in skills. Relationally incompetent is what I called myself. Oh, I knew how to 'fall in love,' I knew how to sentimentally attach to another, and I was expert in creating a need to be needed.

One night I told my wife "I have no idea how to love you." She soon admitted she was challenged there as well. Could it be we made a mistake? I thought that there must be other possibilities.

Soon we were openly talking about our own fears, insecurities and just plain lack of information. We had assumed that because we loved each other we would know how to love each other. Wrong. They are not at all the same. In fact, it may be the easiest thing in the world to feel love for another. We feel love for puppies too and we easily fall in love with entertainers whose performances touch us. We sometimes 'love' teachers and we tell ourselves we love our children.

But loving our children like loving our partners is altogether a different matter. We saw that we had a lot of growing up to do. We also saw we would need to ask a lot of questions. In the Russian poet, Anna Akmatova's poem The Guest, there is this line "tell me how they kiss you. Tell me how you kiss."

Loving may simply be intelligent listening, genuine questioning, and non possessive caring of two human beings who are deeply interested in each other.

We welcome your thoughts on loving and love.

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