Thursday, November 7, 2013

Loving in the Manner Acceptable to the one Being Loved

On the spiritual page of the Catholic Times the columnist recounts what an older priest told him about a couple with whom he had spent many enjoyable hours, and has known for many years. Hearing they were not on the best of terms, he invited them to join him at a restaurant for dinner. All seemed as it had been in the past, with the husband, during the meal, showing affection for the wife.

At the end of the meal, however, while the husband went to the restroom, she told the priest that the next time he visited she wants him to meet with them separately. The meal ended with the wife's bitter words ringing in the ears of the old family friend. He told the columnist that no matter how long a couple have been together, and how many good things were done, just one serious incident that one of the spouses hated would be enough to cause a great deal of trouble.

The columnist notes that when loving someone, we always want to do good by that person, to make them happy. And when the person loved enjoys the same things as the person loving, then great blessings come to both. However, he reminds us that, more important than making positive efforts in doing what the loved one enjoys, is to refrain from doing what they dislike. Such efforts, he feels, will enable one to show more interest and care for the loved one.

Though it is understood that the lover usually loves in his own unique manner, it is important to love in a manner, the columnist says, that is acceptable to the one being loved. When one knows what the loved one dislikes, great effort must be made to avoid doing what the other dislikes, which will develop trust and foster love. 

If there is someone we love now, he suggests that we refrain from doing what they dislike. But it must be mutual. When only one party to the relationship makes the effort to refrain from doing what the other dislikes, the lack of trust will take its toll and the relationship will break down.

The breakdown of marriages and the attempts to strengthen family ties are common themes in today's world. They are likely to continue if we cannot master our emotions, direct our loving thoughts toward others in a manner they can appreciate, and put into practice the old-fashion idea of living a virtuous life. Intentions to live such a life are well and good, but will accomplish little of permanent value if they remain in the head and fail to become a part of who we are.  

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