September 30, 2016
We’ve been writing about love for quite some time now. In many ways, being diligent and consistent has really helped me to reevaluate a lot of what I thought I knew about love and its many different expressions.
This week, we’ll be discussing pragma or mature, practical love. Pragma is about making compromises to help relationships work over time, as well as showing patience and tolerance. It’s the kind of love that’s practical, mutually-beneficial, and endures through sickness and in health over the long-haul. As a special surprise, I’m going to introduce our first guest contributor, M. Divine.
Our society expends so much energy on teaching us how to both find and fall in love, that if we’re not careful, we can be just about of out steam when it comes to dealing with the real work that long-term relationships require to be successful. While it’s easy to fall in love, the exercise of staying this way requires so many practical things, three of which are patience, acceptance, and tolerance. These can show up in so many different ways in terms of how we decide to learn, accept, and get past our partner’s habits.
Plenty of questions come to mind when I think about the minutiae of managing a long-term relationships. How big of a deal is it if he forgets to put down the toilet seat? Can I love, or at least, tolerate my in-laws though I can’t stand them most of the time? Is it a deal-breaker if he never fully loves Samba as much as I do, despite all of my efforts? Will I be able to deal with the fact he can’t sleep unless the fan is on even though I’m anemic and often get cold at night?
“Pragma is about finding comfort and reassurance in this balance.”
During the early stages of the relationship, we’ll send those coveted good morning/night texts. We’ll check on each other throughout the day to see how the other’s day is going. We won’t go to bed without being near one another or without at least hearing the other’s voice. We’ll send gifts of appreciation just to make the sincerest effort to let the other know that we’re thinking about them and that they are loved. In this way, staying in love requires that we give without overly concerning ourselves with receiving anything in return.
Though the balance of finding & feeling contentment in the relationship is a two-way street, it is never quid pro quo in how to best interact with one another. We were put here on earth to give and receive love. Most of us want to feel acknowledged, appreciated, and valued in our efforts. Though we may foster a need to feel celebrated in our relationships, the practical realities of life don’t always allow for us to reciprocate this need 24/7. Pragma is about finding comfort and reassurance in this balance.
“Though you can love someone with every fiber of your being, if you are not equipped to successfully work together through the trenches of life, love will never be enough.”
As I walked through LAX Airport earlier this year with tears in my eyes, I realized that for the second time in my life that love just wasn’t enough. It wasn’t enough to carry us through being in different time-zones. Love wasn’t enough to replace the lack of his physical presence when both of us wanted to feel connected after a long and exhausting day. It also wasn’t enough to keep our hearts or eyes from wandering in the meantime. Love certainly wasn’t enough to get us through two more summers and three more falls together until one of us could relocate.
The relationship lacked the stamina required to create or maintain long-standing pragmatic love. Our love would never mature into one that would allow us to realize a future together. We’d never be in a place where he’d be comfortable enough to allow for me to know him completely or to accept who he really is when no one was looking. For several reasons, I wasn’t myself 100%. Though you can love someone with every fiber of your being, if you are not equipped to successfully work together through the trenches of life, love will never be enough.
Next Week: Mania