Valentine’s Day is approaching. You can’t go to Walmart or turn on the TV without being bombarded by messages of love.
But what is it? How do we attain it?
Love is a verb. God is love. All you need is love.
We talk about love a lot; we’re constantly seeking it.
It’s what every musician is singing about, what every writer is writing about.
It is so often what motivates us. But it is also what confuses us. We don’t know how to wrap our minds around it.
Every movie, writer, person defines it differently.
We desire love, but it often eludes us. We can’t figure out how to obtain it, and we’re all too often disappointed by our search for it.
And what’s odd about our fascination with romantic love is our inability to hold on to it.
Fifty percent of marriages in the U.S. end in divorce, with February being the most “active” month for divorces.
In the month we celebrate “love,” many Americans end their marriages.
So what’s the deal? Why can’t we seem to hold on to our relationships?
The way we talk to each other may be part of the problem. Psychologist John Gottman believes he can tell within a few moments whether a couple’s marriage will be successful or not.
He has analyzed videotapes of couples and discovered a ratio of 5:1 – five positive interactions to every one negative interaction. He believes a couple’s ability to laugh about their annoyance with the other person and show affection despite their irritability contributes to a lasting relationship.
A more obvious problem is our innate selfishness.
Every human being has a desire to avoid personal pain or heartache and to experience pleasure; however, we sometimes neglect others in our seeking after these two goals.
Along these same lines, we often use our significant others as a means to gain pleasure and to avoid heartache, but this is hardly healthy behavior.
We can’t expect our mates to be perfect; they are just as human as we are.
Instead, if we begin to see our own selfishness, perhaps we can begin to understand and be more sympathetic toward our significant other’s selfishness.
This isn’t to say selfishness is something to be completely ignored; obviously, if you’re in an unhealthy or unstable relationship, you may need to get out of that situation.
However, we often let our emotions escalate over more trivial matters like forgetting to take out the garbage.
With the approach of Valentine’s Day and, according to statistics, an increase in divorce rates from last month, let’s try to keep in mind that the way we treat one another and the way we view one another play a large role in whether or not our relationships will last.
So try to speak kindly to the person you love and remember that while it is important for one to have standards, it is also important that those standards be humanly possible.
Megan Massey is a senior religious studies major from Mount Olive. Follow her on Twitter @megan_massey.