April 3, 2013 at 6:39 pm #30402
There’s a story about a man who’s fallen out of love with his wife and goes to a wise man to ask for advice on what to do about his situation. He explains to the sage that he no longer loves his wife and is suffering because he doesn’t want to break up his family. But since he doesn’t love her anymore, the only solution he can think of is divorce.
“Oh,” says the wise man, “you need to love her!” “But, that’s just it,” says the husband, “I don’t.” “Yes,” says the wise man, “that’s the problem. You don’t love her. If you want to solve the problem, you need to love her.”
The husband doesn’t understand. The wise man continues, “You think love is a noun, something you find or fall into. But love is a verb. It’s something you give to others. If you act with love, you’ll begin to feel love for her again. What you give is what you feel. You started out loving her and so you felt love. If you want to solve your problem, go give her love.”
I remember the “aha” I experienced when I first heard that story. Love so often feels automatic, as if we just “fall” into it. Soon enough, however, the ego steps in and starts to judge whether or not this person is worthy. Eventually we begin to judge their behavior because we’re projecting our own lack of self-love on to them.
But in truth, there is nothing but love. Love is what we are. Enlightened beings see the beloved in every person they look upon. It’s the ego that excludes.
Of course, we can have our preferences about whom we want to spend time with, but love, in the truest sense of the word, excludes no one.
Think of how wonderful the world would be if we never stopped loving. What if we just changed the nature of our relationships when they no longer fit our original format? We can keep right on loving and honoring the other, it just requires a shift.
We all grow and change and partners can transform in very different ways. Sometimes it’s necessary to renew the relationship by reactivating love. Sometimes it’s right to let go of a relationship’s format while keeping the love. No matter how you slice it, love is the answer.April 4, 2013 at 9:50 am #30543Stephen LightParticipant
Thank you Jarl
Today I read some interesting facts – see below:
For Your consideration:
Fifty one percent of all first marriages end in divorce
Sixty six percent of all second marriages end in divorce.
Ninety percent of all third marriages end in divorce.
The picture becomes even more troubling when you also take into consideration three other important factors:
- The statistics cited were gathered from men and women aged 15 to 44 years of age (the age range in which 99.7 % of all births occur) so not all divorces are even represented.
- The above noted statistics also do not address the rate of separation among couples that simply choose to cohabitate and then split up because no statistical data is gathered regarding this growing group.
- Here’s the “kicker:
Many folks choose to stay in what can only be objectively judged to be ‘dysfunctional marriages’ due to financial pressures, children, family pressures to stay together, societal stigmas and issues around divorce, etc.
When all of these factors are considered, perhaps one in ten marriages are truly happy, ‘functional’, and mutually fulfilling. – Ron Capocelli (http://inspiredcommitment.com/making-it-count/friendship-and-romantic-love-2/#comment-2415)
It makes me sad to see people have an inability or drive to work things out.
Love & Courage
Stephen LightApril 5, 2013 at 8:36 am #31180Francesca HarrisParticipant
@Jarl – That was beautiful, thank you.April 7, 2013 at 7:08 am #31909laurenParticipant
Question. I’m new to this, so this might sound silly. So is there ever an acceptable reason for divorce? What if you change and become completely different people than when you began dating? Do you just live with that difference and is it selfish to seek a different relationship with someone who is more compatible? Should you stay in a relationship that is very difficult to avoid accidentally searching for external happiness?
I ask because I started dating my boyfriend of 4 years when I was 16 (almost 17) and while we can get along I just feel like we want completely different lifestyles. I don’t want tv or an xbox and he won’t eat anything I cook, I just feel like we’re always clashing and I’m trying to view it from a buddhist and mindful perspective but I’m just getting more confused.April 7, 2013 at 9:57 am #31918
Lauren, I love your question and honesty. In my article above ‘Love is a verb’ I tell the story about the sage suggesting to the man who feels the love is gone to reignite it by being loving. That’s a different scenario than the one you are describing. You feel you are not a fit anymore because your values have changed, you’ve grown in different ways and you want different things out of life. That is common among couples who get together early in life before you have even defined what you want out of life. There is no use in trying to fit a square poll in a round hole.
I would definitely leave a relationship that was no longer serving either of us in a joyful or healthy way. Of course, relationships have their discomforts and I wouldn’t recommend bolting just because the going gets tough, but if you’re not feeling like you’re on the same page anymore and don’t feel that you are growing together, it seems better to move on.
But that doesn’t mean you stop loving the person who no longer fits into the role they’ve been in. My husband and I divorced 15 years ago, after 18 years of marriage because we truly did want different things out of life. However, we did so lovingly and only when each was ready. We are still very close friends. We have a daughter who is 32. I’m remarried and so is my ex-husband, but we all get together and have dinners together and holidays. We still talk on the phone occasionally. I still love him. He has a new place in my life, one that fits who he is and who I am. We didn’t stop loving one another, we just took different rolls in each others lives.
I’m not sure that would be the case with you and your boyfriend since you are still young and don’t have children. But, I recommend with everyone who is considering leaving a relationship to do it with love and kindness and when both are ready. Just unilaterally leaving a relationship causes wounds. (Unless one needs to do so because of abuse.) When it’s done with love and care and consideration, it’s healing.
If I were you, I’d start a conversation with him letting him know your concerns and your desire for each of you to be in relationships that are perfectly suited for you both. And stay tuned-in to his feelings until he gets that you aren’t rejecting him, you are just wanting the best for each of you.
I hope that clarifies things a bit more for you. I’m happy to keep this conversation going if you have anymore questions. 🙂 Love, JarlApril 7, 2013 at 10:05 am #31919AnonymousInactive
?what is the purpose of life? the purpose of life is love. when you see that love and life are two names of the same thing, the question vanishes. hear it and follow that light, do not try to sort it out with your intellect, the intellect like the rest of the physical and recyclable side of us is in the realm of the senses, the other side of the coin that we are, is beyond change and temporary delusions, in that “kingdom” there is only light, that light, your perfect destination. Hear it, feel it,but not with your intellect or senses tools, but with your soul, which is the perfect side of You.April 7, 2013 at 2:35 pm #31925laurenParticipant
Thank you so much Jarl. We actually do have a child which is why I’ve tried so hard to make it work because I do still love him, he means a lot to me. But it hurts me dealing with his anger and having completely different interests and diet, I’ve just trying to been deciding the “right” thing to do, but at the same time I don’t want to settle even though I really want my daughter to have her parents in the same home and I’m scared of what would happen if we broke up. I know my happiness is important though and I need someone who will inspire me and help me to be better, not drag me down. Thank you so much for your insight.April 7, 2013 at 6:02 pm #31932
Hi Lauren, A child does complicate matters. Do you live together? Does he want to stay together? Is he interested in growing and getting a handle on the anger? Whether you stay together or not, I feel it’s really important for your child and for both of you to continue to be loving and communicate honestly and don’t leave him until he’s ready to have a different yet loving relationship of a different nature (friends and co-parents.) Unless his anger is truly problematic. Setting boundaries is really important too, when one party has unhealthy habits or behavior (like displays of anger.) I’m sure you will figure this all out. Just the fact that you’re asking the right questions means you’ll find the answers. Love, Jarl