I have stated in at least one past post that doting on and caring for one’s husband will likely inspire him to do unexpected and caring things in return. I have also stated that while one is caring for one’s husband it is important to not expect anything in return. In doing some research, I came across this wonderful video with Father Robert Barron of Word On Fire (he makes these videos on a regular basis and they are all very good). I urge you to listen to the video in it’s entirety. It is wonderful.
Father Barron says,
What is Love? Love, as I’ve said very often, is not a feeling or a sentiment. Not a private subjective conviction. Love is willing the good of the other. As other, meaning, love gets you out of this, sort of, black hole of your own subjectivity, your own egocentrism. If I’m kind to you that you might be kind to me, that isn’t love. That’s just indirect egotism. Or if I say, I’ll be just to you that you’ll be just to me in return, that isn’t love. That’s just a clever way to be self interested.
What’s love? See, love is a very peculiar thing. . . It means I’ve broken free of that self reference. I want your good for you. Period. No strings attached. No reciprocation required. The Church has said traditionally that love, so described, is a theological virtue . . . The Church identifies love, as I’ve been describing it, as a participation in God’s way of being. See, God who has no need, (God is God. God is perfect. Absolute. God has no need.), therefore God alone can truly want the good of the other for the sake of the other. God can operate in a totally non-selfinterested way. And see, when we do that, when we are capable of that, it’s only because we’ve received an infusion of grace. We’ve received a participation in God’s own life.
Most today regard love as only that subjective feeling between two people. I remember as a young girl feeling very guilty that there were members of my extended family that I did not possess the feeling of love for. I used to try to force myself to feel love for them because I knew I should. I couldn’t ever force that. Because I couldn’t feel this love, I remember trying very hard to do for them what I couldn’t feel. I would do the things I knew should be done for one who is so loved. Then, a couple of years ago I read in a book (I wish I could remember the book, but I can’t. I believe it was a Catholic book about Angels) about the type of love that Father Barron is talking about here. It really struck a chord with me. I wasn’t an awful person for not being able to feel love for my family members. Rather, I did well. I loved them the way I knew how.
In a marriage, one is not going to be able to always feel the subjective love. It would be impossible to go about daily things if we felt this way at all times. There will be periods of time where that feeling will be fleeting. That does not mean that one still cannot love one’s husband as Father Barron is describing here. One should strive to provide “your good for you” at all times. One should grasp to provide the “want[ing] the good of the other for the sake of the other.” This needs to be done regardless of what is being felt at any given moment or for any given period of time. That feeling of love, if love is being worked at, it will return. Especially when both spouses are striving to love in this objective manner.
Women are utterly incapable of loving a man in the way that a man expects to be loved.
Women are incapable of loving men in a way that a man idealizes is possible, in a way he thinks she should be capable of.
I believe that the love Father Barron spoke about is how a man wants to be loved. Of course a man wants his wife to be full of the feeling of love, but I think men realize that this is not possible at all times. It is, however, possible to strive to break away from self reference. To love a man expecting absolutely nothing in return and to want nothing but his good for him with no strings attached. This is something that, regardless of everything else, you marriage should revolve around. If you can do this and expect nothing in return, you will likely find that his love revolves around you as well.
***Father Barron goes on in this video to talk about what happens when this love begins to dissipate on a grand scale,
Here’s the problem, get rid of God, or language about God, or the doctrines that describe God, in time that love that I’ve been describing will also be attenuated. It will also evanesce. Love that we so admire, see, in the ethical order is a theological reality described by doctrinal truths . . . When you deny certain doctrines like . . . the doctrine of God’s existence, then love begins to disappear rather quickly. ‘Oh no that will never happen! ‘ You bet it will happen. It happened in the lifetime of our parents and grandparents. The point is, this is a dangerous business when we drive [a] wedge between doctrine and ethics . . . The kind of person you are depends radically upon certain key doctrines. And that ‘s why doctrine matters precisely because we want to be people of love.
Love disappearing quickly. Sounds rather familiar, doesn’t it?
(Since I have never posted twice in one day before, and since I don’t want it to get lost by this post, make sure to check out another Father Barron video posted earlier on the home page. In it, he talks about hook up culture.)