Sunday, July 12, 2009
Love or Commitment - Which is More Important?
As a marriage counselor, you would think that I would use the word love frequently in my work. “Do you love him? Is there still love in your heart? Can your love return?” I tend to avoid using this word. A recent blog post (http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/in-the-name-love/200803/loving-two-people-the-same-time) highlights why this is so. This blogger asked the question, can you love two people at the same time. Examples were given where the individuals having an affair found themselves feeling love for their lover and their spouse.
Love is a word that is associated with feelings. While you can have positive feelings toward more than one individual, it is difficult to be fully committed to more than one partner. The deception that is part and parcel of an affair undermines a commitment to a relationship. One cannot be fully committed to their partner while lying to their partner. Openness and honesty are important elements of a committed relationship. Betrayed spouses often express more hurt over the dishonesty than the sexual infidelity.
While love is an important feeling, there are many other factors that attract you to be close to your partner. Respect and admiration for your partner’s role in parenting, business, and the community contribute to your attraction to your mate. In fact, one’s commitment to the marriage continues when feelings of anger temporarily push aside loving feelings.
While it's interesting to speculate whether one can love two or more individuals at once, it is more important to focus on identifying the elements of commitment in marriage. That is why buy my initial blog posting focused on the core elements of commitment in marriage. Go back, read that posting (http://marriagemattersblog.blogspot.com/2008/06/mission-of-this-blog.html) and determine whether you could have such a commitment to more than one person at a time. I think that you will find that you cannot.