On Valentine’s Day a group on campus distributed free condoms. I took it unwittingly, thinking it was perhaps chocolate. But a glance at the package nearly made me drop it; I gave it back. In hindsight, I should have cut it in quarters, given them the pieces, and ask, Are you promoting love or lust?
This incident got me thinking: Have we lost sight of love in its true form? It may just be me, but today’s definition of “love” was yesterday’s definition of “lust”. Today, love is one-night stands, casual sex, and “Desperate Housewives”. Today, many think (erroneously) that love equates to sex. But love is not passion alone; if it were, then it’d be cheap love, false love, sham love. A flyer on campus says that people who say, “I love you” may mistakenly think “I love it“. These are the kind of people who distribute free condoms on a Christian holiday. People whose marriage is born of passion “love” have a high divorce rate because passion fades over time and they can’t stand each other anymore.
True love is, obviously, not lust. In the “Princess Bride”, did they want to find each other just so they could have sex? No, they wanted to share their life, their identity with each other. A wedding ceremony turns two people into one flesh; that’s why it’s called an union. Only when you’re an union can you have true, honest, loving coupleship, when you show your true love for another person, when you willingly give of yourself to someone else (and vice versa). True love means waiting. True love means sharing everything of yourself, making yourself vulnerable to another, because of the level of trust between the two of you. That’s why it’s important to have a waiting period before gettting married, to make sure you trust one another enough before the two of you become one.
True love is difficult to find nowadays, because many’s notions of love is corrupted. People expect too much of one another, people mistake passion for love, people aren’t willing to stick together for better or, especially, worse, fleeing at first sign of a crisis. There’s no knight in shining armor, there’s no fair princess in the tower. There’s just normal, average, fallible us. If you can’t stand a particular quality of somebody else, then ask yourself, is it worth it? If not, wait for somebody you can live with for the rest of your life, somebody to grow with for the rest of your life, somebody to love for the rest of your life.
“Part of my Soul I seek thee, and thee claim/My other half…” Adam speaking to Eve, Paradise Lost by John Milton
“Let me not to the marriage of true minds/ Admit impediments; love is not love/ Which alters when it alteration finds/ Or bends with the remover to remove./ O, no, it is an ever-fixed mark/ That looks on tempests and is never shaken;/ It is the star to every wand’ring bark,/ Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken./ Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks/ Within his bending sickle’s compass come;/ Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks;/ But bears it out even to the edge of doom./ If this be in error, and upon me proved,/ I never writ, nor no man ever loved.” William Shakespeare, Sonnet 116.