All done in the name of love

Valentine’s Day is Wednesday. It also is Celebrate Singles Day. One billion Valentines will be exchanged, 220,000 marriage proposals will be made, and 73 percent of the people who will buy roses are men, according to information shared on the world wide web.

During the Middle Ages, young people drew names which they wore on their sleeve for a week, in essence wearing their hearts on their sleeves for all to see their “love interests.” In the 19th century, doctors recommended eating a lot of chocolate to get over a broken heart. The origins of Valentine’s Day are Roman. Soldiers were not allowed to marry because they would be distracted from soldiering which could be costly to the empire. However, St. Valentine performed marriages in secret, which cost him his life.

C.S. Lewis, author of The Chronicles of Narnia and other works, wrote about The Four Loves: affection, friendship, eros and charity. He writes that Gift Love “moves a man to work and plan and save for the future well-being of his family which he will die without sharing or seeing.” Need Love is “that which sends a lonely or frightened child to its mother’s arms.”

Lewis wrote that Need Love “is the accurate reflection in consciousness of our actual nature. We are born helpless. As soon as we are fully conscious we discover loneliness. We need others physically, emotionally, intellectually; we need them if we are to know anything, even ourselves.”

In relationships there needs to be a balance between the two persons involved. Compromise is a part of the relationship’s dynamics. But sometimes balance is lost because one person is needier than the other. Ignored, the balance will be less and less. Without repair of the damages, the problems continue and grow. Everyone needs other people in their lives. Everyone needs to find balance of self (to love oneself) and to have compassion for others, helping each other to reach their greatest individual potentials. Out of balance, pulling in opposite directions, there is struggle, stress, disunity and the breakdown of the relationship.

There are some words to take a look at and to understand in matters of love. For some, the word love is spoken so easily, so early in the relationship, posing the question (red flag, little voice inside), “You don’t really know me very well. How can you love me so early in our relationship?”

Love is “an intense feeling of deep affection; a romantic or sexual attachment to someone.”

Lust is “very strong sexual desire; a passionate desire for something, a sensual appetite regarded as sinful.”

Commitment is “the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc; a pledge or undertaking; an engagement or obligation that restricts freedom of action.”

Codependency is “a type of dysfunctional relationship where one person supports or enables another person’s drug addiction, alcoholism, gambling addiction, poor mental health, immaturity, irresponsibility or under-achievement … an excessive reliance on other people for approval and a sense of identity.”

In the Disney animation, Moana, the grandmother asks, “Moana, do you know who you are?”

Children need to grow up in a loving environment that helps them to learn to grow to be the person they are. They need to learn that the important things – happiness, hope, sense of humor and strength are a few – come from inside the self. They need to learn to stand steadfast in their convictions. They need to know love. They learn these things – or not – from their parents and other important people in their lives.

Love is a wonderful thing in its true form. It heals the hurts. And everyone needs to feel, to be, loved.

Addiction has no address, but Family Recovery Center does. For more information about the education, prevention and treatment programs for substance abuse and related behavioral issues, contact the agency at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468; or e-mail, info@familyrecovery.org. FRC is funded, in part, by Columbiana County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board and the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS).

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