“4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”-1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Since ancient times, people have recognized the importance of romantic love. We have stories and murals, plays and rituals all designated towards the honoring of romantic Eros love. There is, however, another form of love that has equally inspired humanity to create, Agape love. This love is unending and unconditional, and is usually associated with God. As a Christian, I have seen the power of this love. It is because of this background that I believe that it is impossible to have true romantic love without the love of God.
The world we live in isn’t kind. Even in the times when we are the happiest, there is still a world outside, unavoidable and striving for nothing more than to tear apart a good attitude. When love has taken over, there is nothing more that we want than to protect it and keep it safe from harm. Romantic love has a serious flaw in that when we fall completely, we don’t even brace for the impact. This is where the problem ensues; with defenses down and the war still raging outside the protected bubble, stepping outside poses an immediate and extreme danger. Any problem that comes your way has the potential to become an atomic bomb. Agape love speaks through your conscience in these moments, giving little warnings. Whether we choose to heed them or not, they are there, telling us to be on the lookout for the problems on the way.
As anyone who’s been in a relationship that failed probably knows, it is extremely hard to make things works if the views of one person involved differ from their significant other’s. This doesn’t only apply to religion, but differing views on things like pre-marital sex, drug use or even something as simple as politics can spell disaster. It’s hard to establish a common ground with someone who was brought up differently. For example: while one might think that premarital sex is fine and is natural in the progression of a relationship, the other might see it as something that should be preserved and saved for one person. Of course, both would want to find common ground, which results in a compromise. In most situations, compromise is good. But on things where moral values are involved, this usually means that one side gives in to the other. For a person to waver their convictions for their love is not the ideal situation. Agape love teaches those involved to respect the beliefs of the other and be selfless, thinking of the other before themselves. This works best when both involved agree to live this way, exercising not only their romantic love, but their self-less unconditional Agape love for each other.
Agape love is unconditional. That means that whatever is done, whatever happens, agape love is not taken away. Anyone exercising agape love forgives and forgets. Romantic love is jealous, and when the trust that goes along with it is betrayed, there is rarely any going back to the way things were. Reconciliation and romantic love have a hard time meshing. Often, the one who is hurt refuses to forget or forgive. However, when agape love works with romantic love it is much easier for those involved to forgive and move on.
Bob Dylan once said “You can't be wise and in love at the same time.” Romantic love isn’t wise; it is crazy, unexplainable and exciting. Like anything fitting that description, it has its dangers. Not that it should be avoided, not in the least. What is necessary is for those involved to have a secondary love for each other that is wise and unconditional to counter the shortcomings of their passion. Agape love and romantic love are perfect complements, and to truly love someone, it is necessary to unconditionally care for them.