Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Unconditional Love and Musicals

Prata raised a point yesterday that talks about unconditional love. I have heard the phrase, but I have not felt unconditional love. Okay, I have a disadvantage. I don’t have kids. You see, I have seen others love their kids, and in some circumstances, they may experience something close to unconditional love. I have seen mothers, after hearing their children have killed lots of people, still love their children deeply. “I feel sorry for the victims, but I will be holding Jimmy’s hand until he is executed by the state.” I don’t get it, but alas, I have no kids.

I also know a woman who gets beaten by her boy (he is 16 and stronger than she is). She is concerned for her boy, but her love seems constant, even though he has put her in the hospital more than once. Unconditional love? Beats me – but please don’t beat me. Sorry, bad joke. Again, a foreign concept to me.

When I was getting married, I went through an Engaged Encounter, and if you were married in the Catholic Church, you probably experience the same thing. For Catholics, it appears that marriage involves conditions. Two, in fact: (1) mutual support, and (2) open to children. Neither condition mentions love.

Okay, I am a sucker for good movies. And this reminds me of a song in “Fiddler on the Roof.” Tevye (the main character) explains that even though theirs was an arranged marriage, his parents said they would soon learn to love each other anyway. The song that accompanies the dialog is “Do You Love Me?”. The very touching song ends with the lines:
Tevye: So you love me?
Golde (his wife): I suppose I do.
Tevye: Then I suppose I love you too.
Together: It doesn't change a thing. But even so, after twenty-five years, it's nice to know.

I really think that doing loving things for someone helps in fostering loving feelings. And that is what the song is about.

I am not sure love is an essential ingredient of a successful marriage, or if it is important, it is the most important thing. That is, it does not predict if a marrage is to succeed.

Unconditional love? Not sure I know what it is. But a good marriage – I can feel that in my bones. And it is not because hubbie buys me flowers when I least expect them. When he does this, he is opening up to me. When I give him a back scratch even though I am as tired as he is, I am performing a loving task, and it opens me up to being closer to him.

One can argue that my church is antequated, past its prime. That’s fine. What is nice is that people can choose their religion themselves, based on the shared views of the religion. Catholisism is not meant to be all inclusive. Inclusiveness has a price tag – one sacrificies meaning and importance for inclusiveness. Okay, you don’t believe in transfiguration? No problem. Well, then that diminishes the role of transfiguration in the Church.

Getting back to “Fiddler on the Roof.” I have seen an arranged marriage. The one is not a happy marriage – but they all were not tragic dramas. Take a look at “Fiddler.” Except for the fact that the Czar is throwing them off of their land, there is a happy ending. Well, not so happy. Actually, it is sort of funny, now that I look back on it, that I am using a Jewish example for this. But Judaism is the mother of Catholisism.


mal said...

Unconditional love does not mean "blind" love. In the case of the abusive son or the murderer, we can love our children without being blind to their faults. Acquiescence to their misdeeds is NOT acceptable and action should be taken. I wonder if it was the same blindness to their faults that allowed them to grow into abusers and murderers?

The irony of all the last 1500 years of religious struggles in the mideast? All the religions involved share common roots. Go figure

kathi said...

First, Fiddler on the Roof is one of my all time favorites. My mom and I had seen it together when I was in college. Sunrise, Sunset is my favorite song from the film. I'd bought my mom a white dove music box that plays it and sometimes when I can't sleep, I wind it up and play it. That music box is now nearly 30 years old, my moms been gone for nearly 15 years. Somehow this box still plays beautifully and reminds me of something we shared together that touched us both. I think love is much like this. It gets older, but the memories involved in that aging make it all that more precious.
I think that unconditional love allows love to grow and conditional love sprouts resentment.
Two days of beautiful posts, Leesa.

Mike said...

Yeah kids do that to you. Although I wonder about ....say...the parents of Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, or any other serial monster type.

Grant said...

I had a dog I loved unconditionally, even when she chewed up the drapes. I would have held her paw if she was sent to the gas chamber for serial murder. Actually, the receptionist at the vet told me about a family pet they had to put down by court order because it bit an intruder who sued. I decided if that happened, I would take the dog across state lines and leave her with friends rather than obey the courts.

I believe that she loved me too, even though she seemed to unconditionally love me a little more when I had food. Kids are like that, I hear.

Joe said...

Unconditional love does exist for me. I feel if for my nieces and nephews and my immediate family. It doesn't mean I'm always happy with them, but that I accept them for who they are, and they accept me faults and all - and we love each other regardless.

But that's being linked by blood. Unconditional love in relationships is much more difficult to find. I've experienced it once and it was frightening and yet more fulfilling than anything before or since.

Shannon said...

I agree with Joe above. Unconditional love means loving someone despite their flaws. I love my best friend that way. I love my brothers and my Father that way. My husband and my children go without saying.

That is the power love has over us.. we can love someone without judging them.. but by accepting them without expectations. When love comes easily and freely you know it's unconditional.

dasi said...

As a single mom, things aren't always easy. And both my daughter and myself have had nasty moments with each other. BUT, we always have that love. I have said to her on many occasions "Right now, I do not LIKE you, but I will always LOVE you." Unconditional love is actually quite painful, because it is so strong you sometimes wish you DIDN'T love so much. You just can't help it. And it is why, as a parent, your heart breaks when your child gets picked on, or feels inadequate, or hurts themself, or gets sick. A counselor once told me, when I asked why my daughter was so MEAN to me sometimes or talked back or copped an attitude (even at 7 or 8 years old - she's 10 now), that children are sometimes at their worst with their parents - more commonly, their mothers. Why? Because they know that they are loved unconditionally, and no matter what they do, that love will always be there. Frustrating as hell, because it's true.

As far as marriage love, I wouldn't know. Never been married, and truly not sure if I ever will be. But I do know I will always have my daughter.

TrappedInColorado said...

Love is a chemical reaction in the brain.

"When I see the way you paint your lips
and I smell your perfume
when I see the brand new color
that you've dyed your hair, too
I know, you know, it's more than physical
My love, my love, my love, love is chemical"

(This post was done by the cynical-I've-been-in-love-and-been-crushed personality of Trapped. It does not reflect the views of his other personalities.)

Prata said...

Grant..I couldn't agree more. Even though I think my dog is an idiot sometimes, I wouldn't let someone put her down for biting an intruder that's for sure.

Has anyone ever read some of the lawsuits criminals lodge against their victims and win???? It's insane.

Mmm. Unconditional love just seems foreign to me, and maybe that's because I am a person with limits. There are limits for all people in all things. Why do people believe that love is this one thing that is or can be unconditional? Isn't love an emotional and as Trapped stated, a chemical reaction? If that's true, then there must not be unconditional love; humans are people with limits this is true of all things that humans participate in, physical and emotional.

I can say this about anyone including family or my child. If I am betrayed by a loved one (and to what degree I am betrayed is not something I can explain...I simply know in my heart my personal limits), I can not love them any more; it would be evident they do not love me.

I, apparently am very shallow in comparison to several readers here hehe. ^_^

~Deb said...

Unconditional love…

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. ~1 Corinthians 13:4-7

But if you think about it, it’s ‘too perfect’, and we’re humans. Sometimes we get a little jealous, sometimes we demand our own way and get irritable and personally, I know sometimes I keep a record of when I’ve been wronged. It depends.

My definition? Acceptance and a little give and take here and there. As far as arranged marriages; to learn to love---I don’t know if that sits well with me. Obviously most of those arrangements work out. But do they really and truly love one another? I don’t know.

You raise valid questions here. Very thought provoking as usual.

Prata said...

~deb! Fancy seein' you again! That's a very good point. Are they really loving one another, or is their understanding of love changed because of the arrangement? I guess the question is, does our definition of love change with the experience of knowing someone?

To a teenager, is love the same as the love felt by an adult? Is the love we feel for our parent the same as the love we feel for our husband/wife? I think some people would say no. That's the tricky thing about love, it's similar to pain. When you are in pain, your body begisn to handle it in a manner that the pain becomes dull and soon you've forgotten about it. Love could be that way too yes?

Someone who has an arranged marriage, does this person (or do these people??) have a similar situation, they begin to understand love in a different manner and so what they have over time is true love, but it would be foreign to someone from the outside. I will ask about this, as I know several people in more than one country that has had their marriage arranged. It would be interesting to present to everyone here. I'll see what I find out.

Bruce said...

The only unconditional love I've ever experienced was from my pets. Guess that tells you what kind of shape my love life is in, huh?

~Deb said...

Prata, I have a friend who had his marriage arranged in Pakistan. He is the happiest man alive. He has three children and is totally in love with his wife...vise/versa. I guess it depends on the two people and what sort of chemistry the both have. Interesting though, isn't it?

Leesa said...

oh, everyone. Your comments were so long today. I guess everyone had more than a few things to say. Thanks for the thoughtful answers.

Prata said...

Extremely interesting. I know 1 Indian couple (as in from India not Native Americans obviously) that had their marriaged arranged. They seem pretty happy, I don't know them well enough to pry into their lives though.

I know 2 vietnamese couples who had their marriaged arranged. One couple never met one another until the day of their wedding. The other couple were introduced as teenagers and were told that was the one for them. Interesting stories they have to tell too. I willf ind out more and let people know!

Grant said...

Leesa - you cheated. :p Where are our personalized responses?

Leesa said...

mallory: Thanks for the thoughtful answer.

kathi: Thanks for the thoughtful answer.

mike: Thanks for the thoughtful answer.

grant: Thanks for the thoughtful answer.

joe: Thanks for the thoughtful answer.

shannon: Thanks for the thoughtful answer.

dasi: Thanks for the thoughtful answer.

trapped: Thanks for the thoughtful answer.

prata: Thanks for the thoughtful answer.

~deb: Thanks for the thoughtful answer.

prata: Thanks for the thoughtful answer.

grant: your personalized responses are above.

Phantom of the Bordello said...

Since I'm addicted to blogs, it only seems natural that the next evolutionary step in techno toys will be a vibrator that I can read email on. It's just one extra button and a small screen. Oh... I get it, then they'll wanna put cams on them. Talk about innerspace. (in-her-space)

Who says guys can't multi-task? C'mon geeks, we just need the right incentive. It's time for VibroCam, now with new and improved email, or hell, why not put a phone into it so I can talk to dear old Mom 24/7 ? "Huston, are we reading? You're, bzzzz, bzzz, breaking up, bzzz bzzzz"