*Tip: get through the first paragraph
I’ve been in a committed relationship now for over two and a half years. It’s been really good. She can be a bit temperamental, but I know how she likes to be handled. She’s been reliable and has only let me down a couple of times. In the beginning it was surprisingly difficult for me to accept that I wasn’t her first. She’s been with two other guys, but I learned this was okay since having more experience meant they were the ones who had to deal with any beginner kinks she may have had. Plus, having previous guys in her life meant her value had dropped, which is the only reason I was able to be with her. She’d normally be way out of my league… and budget. Having previous men did take its toll, however, because as the saying goes ‘the old girl ain’t what she used to be.’ She’s still beautiful, but she’s starting to show her age. Her surface blemishes are increasing and, I know it sounds awful, but she’s bigger than I’d prefer. Fortunately, despite her size, she’s still a great ride. I’m generally really happy with her, but sometimes I see others out there with a thinner shape and a couple features I wish she had, and it’s hard not to dream of something better. For now I’m happy with her, but she’s getting older and I’m trying not to get too attached because I know I’m going to eventually trade her in. This isn’t forever, because it’s not love; it’s ownership. The relationship you have with your car (which is what I’ve been discussing) should be different than your relationship with your spouse (if I was talking about my partner I’d be a huge jerk).
Love isn’t ownership, but too often we confuse the two. I know it can sound like a nice analogy to use that dating is like test driving a car and marriage is like buying it, but that’s not how love should work. Getting married isn’t like buying a car. Sure when you pick a car or a partner there are some similarities like you should know what features you want and don’t want, and you should stick to what you can afford. The big difference, however, is that when you buy a car you don’t really look at yourself. You don’t really look at what you can offer the relationship. Ownership is more about what you are buying. It’s about the other side giving you what you want. It’s about the other side filling your needs. It’s about the other side making you happy. There is no concern whether the car will be happy with you. How many people have purchased a standard car without having driven one and the first while is spent hopping and stalling the car as the new owner learns how to work the clutch? I’m pretty sure the car would’ve preferred an owner who knew what he or she was doing. Similarly, I’m sure there are a lot of Honda Civics out there, if given the choice, would choose a gentle senior citizen owner who brakes cautiously and has no idea how to work the radio. Instead, many Honda Civics are owned by young want-to-be race car drivers who drive recklessly through city streets playing music that sounds like a steady, on beat barrage of exploding bombs: (scared person) “Are we under attack?” (companion) “No, just our eardrums. Those kids have destroyed theirs, so now they’re after ours.” On the positive side, I now know what a small earthquake feels like.
Real love isn’t what the other person can do for us. It’s about what we offer each other. It’s about offering patience, kindness, self control, faithfulness, and forgiveness. Love is essentially about offering each other safety. In our hectic Western society we need some place that lets us escape the tumultuous world around us. Marriage, in particular, is meant to offer us a place of safety; safety to be challenged, to take chances, to be successful and to make mistakes. Ownership is about what the other gives us while love is about what we give to each other. When this is forgotten, relationships are doomed. It becomes about “You don’t…”, “You never…” and “You always…” We forget that it takes two people to make a relationship work and two people to make the relationship fall apart. Too many people seem to get married in order to have someone to blame for everything that goes wrong in their life. Too many people seem to get married in order to have someone to boss around and to unload all of their negative junk. But that isn’t love. Ownership is about getting what we want and trading in when we’re not happy, while love is about working together. We need to start to realize that love isn’t ownership. Besides, just like your partner has a few habits and/or traits you can’t stand, he or she will have a list about you as well. Your partner needs you to treat him or her with love and not ownership just as you need him or her to do the same for you.
This week, may you start to see what real love is about in a way that lifts your spirits and grows the relationships around you.
Rev Chad David, Emotional Sex, emotional tune up