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Are You Ready For Love?

Dr. David Hawkins
The Relationship Doctor

CBN.comAdam was apparently still grousing around in the garden after he had been given the gift of all gifts—woman. It seems that he had gone through the stages of idealization and was well into the stage of realization. He had moved beyond the ideal and into the ordeal.

In an effort to cheer Adam up, God told him He would grant one wish, but only one.

Pausing for the slightest moment, Adam decided some time on the beach might help his disposition and asked God for a bridge from San Francisco to the Hawaiian Islands.

God quickly responded that this was an engineering impossibility. But, He would grant him a second request.

Well, Adam said thoughtfully, then please tell me how to reason with a woman.

God quickly replied. One lane or two.

There are endless stories and jokes about love and relationships. Why? Because we were created not to be alone, to be helpmates for one another—and because we are fallen creatures, who seem to have endless relational problems.

But, man, and woman, were not meant to be alone. There is something wired into us by our Creator that says, “I want to share my life with someone. I want intimacy.” And God said that it was good for us to not be alone.

And so it seems that we are always ready to fall in love. We get out of one relationship and vow to take it easy, to get to know ourselves, and within three weeks—or is it three minutes?—we are ready for another relationship. Even if we have the willpower, or fear, to stay out of a relationship, we are thinking about a relationship. We notice people who are married, or in relationship, and cannot help but wonder what is going on with us that we haven’t landed the perfect relationship yet.

Love often preoccupies us, dilutes our thoughts, captivates our time. Passionate love makes us something other than ourselves. We act differently, embarrass ourselves, and often pretend to be someone we’re not. Beneath it all, we wonder if anyone will ever really love us. We seemingly have an insatiable urge to merge.

I recall my time of singleness after my divorce. I was sure I was ready for love. In all actuality, was a VNWM seeking VNWF. (Very Needy White Male seeking Very Needy White Female.) Perhaps you have been there and know what I’m talking about. I thought I was ready for love, when in reality I didn’t want to be alone—and desperately wanted someone to make me feel loved.

Are you really ready for love?  I want to help you answer that question over the next several weeks. Saying you’re ready, thinking you’re ready, and actually being ready, are often very different things.
Consider the first of several traits needed to actually be ready for love, and see how you fare. (I’ll be sharing several more traits needed in following weeks, taken from my forthcoming book, Are You Really Ready for Love?)

The capacity to be in love. What is this thing called romantic love? Scott Peck, from his book The Road Less Traveled, calls it a desire to extend oneself for the welfare of another. The Apostle Paul says love is not selfish, is not envious, does not boast. Love is not self-seeking. (I Corinthians 13)

Romantic love is that passionate, spiritual-emotional-physical attachment between two people that reflects a high regard for the value of each other. If being in love has caused you pain, however—and welcome to the club—you may have concluded that being detached and distant is the safest place to be. But, if romantic love can bring out the worst in us—those irrational, needy and childlike traits we thought we had left behind long ago---it can also bring out the best in us. Consider what Ethel Person has said about love:

“Romantic love, subjectively experienced, is an emotion of an extraordinary intensity. The experience of love can make time stop, therefore giving one the rare opportunity to live in the present—Love may confer a sense of inner rightness, peace and richness, or it may be a mode of …enlarging and changing the self.”

Someone else has said that you fall in love and then you grow up and live happily ever after. But, be aware. There is faux love going around—attachment hunger. Or, what I like to call, the surge leading to the urge to merge. The desire to be in love takes on an urgency and desperation and therefore, instead of leading to “enlarging and changing the self,” lead to distortion and narrowing of the self. This difference—that a loving passion enlarges us while an addiction inevitably diminishes us—is a crucial distinction.

And so, we each must examine ourselves to be sure we are ready to love—we must be ready to let go of childish attachment that narrows and expects too much—to adult, mature attachment that enlarges us.

Which is it for you? Are you enlarged or restricted in your relationship? Are you ready to really extend your self for another person? If you are ready to give up your need to be right about which way the toilet paper comes off the roll, or your desire to win those inevitable battle of wills about inconsequential matters, and still maintain your own sense of self, you may be ready for love. If you consider the welfare of your mate as important as your own, you may be ready for love.

I’d love to hear what you think about readiness for love. Go to the Message Board and share your thoughts.

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