“Did you mention, when you predicted my marriage, just how much work marriage would be?”
Actually, I probably didn’t.
Love relationships are tricky. Most people want a love partnership. Fewer people are satisfied with their current relationship situation and/or status. Many people, like the friend I mentioned above, are surprised by the amount of work it takes to maintain even a great relationship.
What does it take to keep a relationship going? Compromise, certainly, along with humor and compassion. A willingness to apologize even if you don’t think you were wrong. Patience is important, too. Of course, the most important ingredient is love – unconditional, bountiful love.
Many of the single people (both gay and straight) I know have a list of the qualities they are looking for in a potential partner. Sadly, the qualities that it takes to keep a relationship going aren’t often high priority on the list.
What is high on the list for many folks is money. “I want to meet someone with money,” folks say to me without shame. “If they don’t have money, I’m not interested.” When I predict a great relationship coming their way, often the first question is “Do they have money?”
I wonder why so many people seem to value money more than they value love. Given what it takes to hold a relationship together, I wonder how people expect to maintain their relationship without love. Of course, if they can stay married long enough and avoid a prenuptial agreement they can always get a good settlement in the divorce.
Comedian Lewis Grizzard said, “Instead of getting married again, I’m going to find a woman I don’t like and just give her a house.” That is brilliant, hilarious, and really, really sad. Those who fear that marriage equality threatens the sanctity of holy matrimony need to realize that it is already in shambles.
My friend Blaire Allison, the Love Guru, just posted a great video on her website that really says it all. She feels we should not be looking for a partner to “complete us” a la Jerry Maguire. We need to be complete within ourselves in order to find the right partner. That means complete emotionally, and financially. I agree completely.
I had a friend tell me she was looking for a romantic partner to “take care of her.” I responded with “Yes, it is wonderful to have someone with whom to share your life.” She said, “No, I don’t want to share my life with anyone, I just want someone to take care of me.” As the conversation continued, it became clear that she was also not interested in being someone’s mistress. Nor did she, at 50 years old, want to be a stay-at-home-mom. She requires a monogamous relationship with someone who has enough money to keep her in the style to which she would like to become accustomed. Oh, and the prospective partner also has to be physically fit, and good looking. Clearly, she may not get what she wants out of life.
I had another friend, an older woman, tell me she really wanted to meet a man so she could feel more financially secure, and if she needed work done around the house he could help her out. My response was, “If you found such a man and he suffered an accident, lost all his money to medical bills and could no longer hang your shelves and change your light bulbs, what would you do then?”
So how did we, as a society, create so many people who lack financial confidence, feel deserving of wealth they didn’t acquire themselves, and have no interest in actual love?
I think a lot of the problem is that people don’t know what love is, or understand why it is valuable.
Pagan though I am, I think a great description of love can be found in the Christian Holy Bible, in Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
That pretty much sums it up for me. How about you?