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What is Love?

By:Wendy Stokes
Date: Wed,02 Nov 2011
Submitter:Wendy Stokes

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My fiancé is a religious teacher and he has told me that I am too spiritually immature for marriage. What does this expression mean and how can I address this problem? Kieren

Anyone who has an addiction to anything is not spiritually mature - as they have no capacity to delay gratification and are selfishly motivated in the extreme. Anyone who exploits, manipulates or abuses another person is immature. Those who are responsible and accountable and consider consequences of their actions are mature, as are those who are able to put others before self. Love is a mature emotion. What is called 'love' by teenagers is often nothing more than childish infatuation, not true love. There is a correlation between those incapable of mature love and those who lack spiritual maturity in general. Narcissistic and overly dramatic personalities are considered the least mature alongside psychopathic personalities (that is those who have no conscience). I think he needs to explain his understanding of this expression to you and detail what aspects of your behaviour he would like you to change.
First published in More to Life Magazine Spring 2008
The Spirit Guides readers are welcome to provide other explanations of what is not and what is 'mature love'.
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Wendy Stokes said:

Thank you for your email and words of advice and sharing.

Our language of love has become corrupted, we say 'I love curry' or 'I love to read', and when we speak of love, we speak of it in trivial terms, such as 'I 'fell' in love with someone across a crowded room', etc., as if it is possible to be in love with nothing more than an image. I recall a very nice looking young man from my teenage years who had no conversation whatsoever and I also remember a very rich one who I had nothing in common with because he bought people and showed them no respect or consideration.
When I was young, I used a method to learn quickly about compatibility by visiting the cinema to see a film with a complex plot and then speaking about it after to see what others made of the film. Travelling is also a good way to see if someone handles stress well and can enjoy themselves in a new environment. So many relationships break down because we think love is cheap and easy to come by, based on looks and fashions rather than being blessed by the Gods that we have discovered someone who has a caring disposition and will be there for us through thick and thin. It was suggested that the enquirer, Kieren, is not sufficiently mature in their love to marry and I hope they will avoid the hurt and rejection that many people experience by looking for something beyond appearances, to something more valuable and long term. Adult couples can experience more complex matters, such as whether each person is capable of being a good mother and father to any children and whether the responsibilities of household bills and other difficulties might break a tentative relationship.

Sat,03 Mar 2012,12:55:42 GMT

Gordon Mays Baird said:

Dear Wendy
I do not think that true love is that complicated as we just cannot help ourselves from falling in love.
This is my very feeble attempt to explain love.
You seem a very cleaver lady but I would guess that you have never Loved?
A view of Love.

As I have found out to my own cost, it is so surprising how when we first meet, and fall in love, we can exist on anything, and nothing, food and life’s rules are of no importance, all is love. Everywhere becomes a wonderful place to be, as long as we are with our new love.
We can live anywhere as long as we are together; every minute is devoted to our new love.
We are exploring our new companions mind, and body finding with surprise how alike we are, and yet how different, how we share so much in common. Also sharing personal loves in art, music and books, we feel invincible as if our love is the best the world has ever seen, and it will last forever.
All we want and need is each other and to be together.

Then it seems that after a time, due to the demands of life and the world, we have to let both life, and friends into this close nest of cherished love and devotion. The moment that this applies, things seem to begin to go wrong.
 I think that this is the turning point of many marriages or relationships when the doors are opened and the world and our friends enter. As friends we see the close love of two people, it seems so wonderful that instinctively we long to be a part of that love. At this stage selfish ignorant people enter the relationship, as friends, hoping to lure away one of the partners, for their own selfish needs, only to drop them after a short time, realizing it was lust, not love they felt, but it was a love of love.
They then leave the poor lost soul who was tempted away, to try and rekindle the loving, yet now devastated relationship they had left behind, which was their true love relationship.
This sad story happens so often in life. So, the longer that we exist in the blissful state of love thinking that we do not need anything, from outside of the relationship, the longer we are existing in a fool’s paradise, as one eventful day we must open the relationship to the world, as we all exist only by the help of others, who will flood in like wild animals franticly grabbing at anything available, then unless we are very strong the relationship will fail.

 Holding hands reading and writing poetry to each other, the long cuddles, that allow the very essence of your love to penetrate the souls of our loved one, we know will, one day soon be over.
If you feel an overwhelming love for someone and wish just to be alone with that person, then you are foolish for the quicker that love is open to the harsh world, and friends, then the better it is for all concerned.

A true love can without question withstand the tribulations of normal life. A true love can survive our friends, as it is mostly friends who supply the help in life, and sadly the harm.
We need to be loved.
Fri,02 Mar 2012,10:43:43 GMT

Wendy Stokes said:

Love is built on many aspects of everyday life, such as having interests and tastes, maybe a little background in common, mutual respect and thoughtfulness, etc., It also requires an ability that some people have - and others struggle to find - that is the ability behave in a way which is in accordance with the other's requirements and needs. Love is a verb - a doing thing. We grow and develop as human beings through loving and being loved. It is not so much a feeling because feelings can change from one moment to another. It is the ability to act in a way which is sensible, stable, attentive and has warmth and empathy.
If the enquirer lacks these, or some of these attributes, it could account for why they were advised against marriage until they developed more mature values.

If you have a story to tell us, Gordon, about your love, please let us hear your experience so we may also grow and develop our understanding.
Wed,22 Feb 2012,20:25:09 GMT

Gordon said:

I am a nobody and know nothing.
But having been so in love, I know that you cannot rationilize love.
It is only the world interfearing that spoils any love.
When you fall in love nothing can impeed the progress.
The man is not in love for posing the question and the woman is not in love because she listened.
They must Press on with their lives and keep looking.
Tue,21 Feb 2012,18:55:49 GMT

Wendy Stokes said:

Many people describe their love but it is sadly often the popular variety which accounts for so many divorces and relationship breakdowns, we see them daily on TV talking to Jeremy Kyle. The cost is enormous of 'affairs' that cause hurt to innocent people who become unable to trust due to betrayals, children are left without emotional and financial support, etc. Many of these affairs are narcissistic (a diagnosable condition) which invollves being engrossed in the self and having a singular and pathologically self-centred perspective on life that can ruin the lives of others.

What does true love require? Dedication certainly, selflessness yes, thoughtfulness towards the needs and wishes of the other, daily patience and kindness, loyalty and a real wanting to make the relationship work.

But it also involves us getting on with our own life and letting the other get along with theirs too. Scott Peck said that 'love is wanting the other to grow spiritually and to mature and develop so they can be the best they can be in this world' - to be fully-functioning as a powerful and talented inidividuals.

I am sorry Gordon, I have not had a chance to look up all your links. You are welcome to reply to the questioner who was advised not to marry due to immaturity. What advice can you offer to addressing this problem?
Tue,21 Feb 2012,14:27:57 GMT

Gordon Mays Baird said:

Dear Wendy
I have so much love within me.
My wife who I married as a friend is good, because I had previously fallen in love, and been left. I knew I would never love again.
I have a web page to my love and have written some thoughts of love which I will paste below.
Most women I talk to, say that given the chance they would leave the man they are with to get stardom in Hollywood as Audrey Hepburn did.
Her saying is:-
I was born with an enormous need for affection, and a terrible need to give it.
My sayings are :-
Do only men truly love?
Are women programed to survive with their offspring’s.
I have so much I would like to talk to you about.
My father invented TV and was called John Logie Baird.
He fell in love and suffered all his life because she left him and now I am doing the same.
This is the girl:-

My thoughts of Love:-

My book:-
I attack life with enthusiasm and then drop into a pit of depression, only to revive myself again.
E Mail
[email protected]
Web site

They say it is better to have loved and lost etc.
No never fall in love is much better as Love only hurts so much.
Your young man is wrong Love is not about anything only some strange God given attraction that possesses your soul.
I remember the dire need just to hold her and cuddle her with my nose pressed deeply into her hair adsorbing her very essence as she laid on my chest, Loved and safe from the World. Getting her love and giving her mine.
Love is not about sex or anything except the untold joy of being together.
For you young man to give the answer ne did he is not in love and once you fall without question you know it has arrived.
I deeply envy all those in love.
Back to my saying ---love is selfish as Catherine never asked to be loved she just walked into my life!
Once I knew her I was totally possessed by her, still she is not involved unless she wants to be.
Sadly she loved me back and a wondrous life began until the stardom thing arose. Then the pain began.
Please respond again
Tue,21 Feb 2012,11:15:23 GMT

Wendy Stokes said:

Dear Gordon

Thank you for your comment below which is a little mysterious. Unfortunately, an entire generation has been brought up the poetry of the young and immature writing love songs that sell in their millions. The Greeks had several words for love - caring, friendship, erotic love, there are so many different types. We cannot compare a mother's love - carrying a baby, feeding, weaning, potty training, teaching to eat, speak and walk, with meeting someone who buys us gifts and tells us we are the most amazing person they have ever met or to someone who does us a great favour, listening to our troubles or loaning us some money when we need it badly. Good friends do give us love. I recently met someone who said their religion was friendship because this was the very best way they could express love for another (chosen) person. Being in a caring relationship requires great love because we need to balance our own selfish wishes with the needs of another person.

Any other comments are appreciated...
Sadly, the New Age talks about 'love' but does not describe what is meant, so it is confused with infatuation, needyness, possessiveness and other neurotic traits that require no selflessness.

1 Corinthians 13:1-13 - Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude or self-seeking; it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails!
Tue,21 Feb 2012,08:54:50 GMT

Gordon Mays Baird said:

Love is just a selfish unexplained devotion we have to someone we meet on life’s path.

Yet it is more powerful than power and Money combined.

Maybe friendship is greater as this is a consenting union of minds,

a real caring about each other,

a true concern

about each other’s happiness.
Tue,21 Feb 2012,07:37:50 GMT
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