By Dr. Harold Sala
And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:14
So you think that you know a good deal about love, do you? It is an amazing thing, this quality we call love. Like weather and politics, it is remarkable how many sources of authority there really are when it comes to the subject. There are about as many authorities on the topic as fall prey to its octopus-like tentacles. Yet, surprisingly, our knowledge of the subject doesn’t really square with scientific findings on the same. Like what? Think about the following ten assumptions and rate them as true or false.
1. The most important thing, when it comes to love and happiness, is picking the right partner. Answer: False. Picking the right partner is only one factor. Being the right partner is even more essential. Most problems in marriage are not with the other person but with yourself. Most people want the other to change but are unwilling to bend themselves.
2. Few people agree on what love really is. Answer: False. A study of more than 1,000 young men and women demonstrates that love means the same things to most of us. And what is it? Love is a decision, a commitment to care, to meet the needs of the other person.
3. Being intelligent is a handicap to love. Answer: False. Studies indicate that individuals with intelligence have a greater capacity to change and adapt to the circumstances of a relationship. In simple terms, they are secure enough that winning every argument is not that important.
4. Absence makes a heart grow fonder. Answer: False. The reality is that absence causes the heart to wander. Being together is vital to resolving differences and to growing more intimate with each other. Separation makes communication more difficult, relationships more strained. Absence tends to foster romantic notions, but in reality doesn’t help a relationship to grow.
5. People who believe in romantic love are more apt to be emotionally unstable. Answer: False. Studies at a major university show that individuals with little sense of romance tend to be “rigid, inhibited individuals.” But people who can enjoy a walk in the moonlight, or are willing to spend some money on perfume or flowers, are better adjusted and more willing to contribute to a relationship.
6. Men are more willing to let their heads rule their hearts than women are. Answer: False. The fact is that having said, “I do!” women are far more interested in material considerations such as a nice home and furniture, a good car, and social status.
7. The strong, silent male is more likely to be a great lover than the outgoing verbal one. Answer: False. The American Institute of Family Relations studies show that the fortunes of love “strongly influence the man who is most fluent in expressing his feelings. A `strong, silent’ disposition was found to be a definite handicap.” The bottom line: The strong silent male is apt to have real trouble in expressing his love.
8. There are two periods of life — teen years and in your early 40s — when you are most apt to fall in love. Answer: True. For men, however, a bit later.
9. If you really love someone, success is pretty certain in marriage. Answer: False. Much more than love is necessary to make a marriage work. Love is only one of the ingredients.
10. To be happy in a loving relationship, you need to put your best foot forward. Answer: False. Being completely honest and vulnerable is vitally necessary if we are to know and really love the other person.
Resource reading: 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.