In a perfect world, love is expressed unconditionally and without expectation. We know, from experience, that expectation is the mother of all disappointment. I believe God loves us this way; but what does it mean to love without expectation in this imperfect world? What does love look like without some sort of entitlement and control?
I have this theory that most problems in relationships (romantic, family and friendships) are the result of trying to control the other person’s behaviour, by making them experience the world through our eyes. We want our children to make life choices based on our convictions and values. We want our partners to understand marriage or parenting the way we do. We don’t want to see our loved ones fail, or hurt because of decisions we feel they might regret. We don’t want the bond we’ve worked so hard to create to come to nothing, after all those years. Most of the time this comes from a good place, but it usually leads to a lot of misunderstanding and conflict. The ones we love end up shrinking themselves to fit into our little boxes, or completely rebelling against our misinformed view of who they should be.
It’s unfortunate that we only know people based on our interactions with them, always in relation to ourselves. This seems like an incomplete view of the whole person. We only ever see one side, and that’s never enough to really know someone. Also, there is no constant self, and people change throughout their lives. We grow as we discover ourselves through experiencing life. Yet we choose life partners based on an ideal that only exists in our minds. We raise children the way we believe our parents should have raised us. We choose friends based on our understanding of what friendship should look like. We filter out anyone who doesn’t fit a mold that pleases us. We rarely ever allow people to simply be, whether or not we agree with their choices.
Don’t get me wrong… I’m not saying we should watch on as the ones we love dig their own graves. However, as much as we should motivate, advise and support the people we love, we have to be careful not to cross the line separating love and control. The truth is that nobody enjoys being told how to live their life, not even by the spouse they adore. Think about how strongly you feel about your convictions, and accept that the next person feels exactly the same way.
Your beloved is not an extension of your existence. He’s a unique expression of God, created with purpose and love. He has his own world view, thoughts, quirks, ambitions and beliefs. He exists here as an individual, and adds immeasurable value to the universe. The world wouldn’t be the same without him, he plays a vital role in the divine plan. He’s important with and without you. He does not belong to you, you can never own him. He is not a thing to possess. He stays with you only for as long as he, or God chooses. He can only ever exist freely as himself, and not as you would have him.
Are you capable of such a love?
Yours in ✍🏾