Friday, July 25, 2008

When love isn't enough

Earlier this summer and within the span of 24 hours, two distinct friends of mine in two separate conversations on two wholly different days echoed the same sentiments while musing on the topic of relationships: "Sometimes love just isn't enough!"

Today, an articulate friend from many memories out west emailed me a sweet little ditty full of rich thoughts about his latest love gone awry that pondered this very same statement and called one of Lennon's quintessential lines into question:

"I came across this the other day and I've been thinking about it a lot regarding my last breakup. She and I got along really well; we enjoyed each other's company and had similar values and interests and each of us had a lot to love about the other. That's what's important, right? John Lennon (along with most of the western world) sang "love is all you need," right? Except that he wasn't talking about me and my girlfriend. Love is what gets people into trouble because it only accounts for half of a person: the half that we don't want to do without. I love Her smile, I love Her laugh, I love that She won't take any crap from me… When you love someone you only see the best of them. Lennon said we need only love because that what we need as a community, as a people, as a world. Love is what lets us see the best of someone who is different from ourselves and maybe befriend him instead of fearing him for the ways he's different.

In the end, I think that She and I fell apart because we had more love between us than understanding. Love is an act of putting someone on a pedestal, of enhancing what is desired and denying what is not. We needed our love to have romance between us but we also needed an understanding of each other's whole self. We needed a better friendship to know how to give each other the benefit of the doubt, to have faith that the other's intentions are the best and to know how to forgive each other not because the love we shared outweighed our failings, but because of the value of our relationship. We each lost the other because we had more love between us than friendship.

Anyway, here's what got me thinking about all this:

"It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages." - Friedrich Nietzsche

Nietzsche's a lot more concise than I am."

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