Meditation on relationships . . .

There is likely to be nothing in the United States (and possibly beyond) that so occupies attention as hooking up.  Sex sells because nearly everyone is obsessed with it.

I’m unsure at this moment exactly who to attribute it to, but I read something many years ago that has stuck with me – If two people in a relationship are identical, one is unnecessary.

It is my humble opinion that the path to success in relationships has nothing to do with being like the other.  True success requires someone who complements your weaknesses, and who’s weaknesses your strengths compensate for.  Even that doesn’t stand a chance if you don’t like each other.  But if you have all three traits and honest, open communication, you have a chance.

I hope my wife will forgive me for not asking this in advance, but I’d like to use our relationship to demonstrate this.

We are NOT much alike, beyond some surface issues like political ideology.  I was born in late September 1962, she in late December 1970.  By the Chinese zodiac, I’m a tiger and she is a dog.

She is a librarian – an expert at online research, bookkeeping, filing.  She’s written articles for peer-reviewed publications that get cited by other librarians when they write for peer-reviewed publication.  She believes in success by following the rules.

I’m quite the opposite.  This website is the one and only place where I deliberately violate my own privacy.  I do not like bookkeeping, and have filing projects that have yet to hit a folder from more than 5 years ago.  My big area of expertise (if you can call it that) is being able to see validity to multiple points of view of the same issue without being immobilized by them. Playing “devil’s advocate” isn’t a pass-time for me, it’s a lifestyle.  I use rules as a general guide, and go with my gut, even if it says to break the rules.

She’s Jean-Luc Picard, and I’m a hybrid of Spock and Kirk.

Our relationship works because she keeps our finances up-to-date, all the important records straight, and manages to still enjoy having me in her life.  I use skills I have had since the Army to keep our laundry caught up, our home more-or-less clean, and our health on an upward gradient as much as possible.  I manage home maintenance, landscaping, and other things – while still enjoying having her in my life.  We talk often, and exchange emails frequently.  We’re partners, but not clones.

In our society, there is a lot said about “LOVE” – but most of the time we trip over our own terminology.  We don’t communicate clearly because one person can mean one thing by using the word, and someone hearing them will believe they meant something entirely different.

The ancient Greeks understood this problem well.  When I was studying ancient Greek for my Christian ministry courses in college, I learned that they had FOUR different words for concepts we cover with “Love”.  The following is an excerpt from an article on Wikipedia:

  • Agápe (ἀγάπη agápē[1]) means “love: esp. brotherly love, charity; the love of God for man and of man for God.”[2] Agape is used in ancient texts to denote feelings for one’s children and the feelings for a spouse, and it was also used to refer to a love feast.[3] Agape is used by Christians to express the unconditional love of God for his children.[citation needed] This type of love was further explained by Thomas Aquinas as “to will the good of another.”[4]
  • Éros (ἔρως érōs) means “love, mostly of the sexual passion.”[5] The Modern Greek word “erotas” means “intimate love.” Plato refined his own definition: Although eros is initially felt for a person, with contemplation it becomes an appreciation of the beauty within that person, or even becomes appreciation of beauty itself. Plato does not talk of physical attraction as a necessary part of love, hence the use of the word platonic to mean, “without physical attraction.” In the Symposium, the most famous ancient work on the subject, Plato has Socrates argue that eros helps the soul recall knowledge of beauty, and contributes to an understanding of spiritual truth, the ideal “Form” of youthful beauty that leads us humans to feel erotic desire – thus suggesting that even that sensually based love aspires to the non-corporeal, spiritual plane of existence; that is, finding its truth, just like finding any truth, leads to transcendence.[6] Lovers and philosophers are all inspired to seek truth through the means of eros.
  • Philia (φιλία philía) means “affectionate regard, friendship,” usually “between equals.”[7] It is a dispassionate virtuous love, a concept developed by Aristotle.[8] In his best-known work on ethics, Nicomachean Ethics, philia is expressed variously as loyalty to friends, family, and community, and requires virtue, equality, and familiarity. Furthermore, in the same text philos denotes a general type of love, used for love between family, between friends, a desire or enjoyment of an activity, as well as between lovers.
  • Storge (στοργή storgē) means “love, affection” and “especially of parents and children”[9] It’s the common or natural empathy, like that felt by parents for offspring.[10] Rarely used in ancient works, and then almost exclusively as a descriptor of relationships within the family. It is also known to express mere acceptance or putting up with situations, as in “loving” the tyrant.



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