What do we have in life that’s more important than the relationships with the people around us? But where do we learn how to develop those relationships? Who sits down with us and teaches us how to share ourselves with other people? We certainly don’t learn it in school. We learn algebra, history, and English instead. With relationships, we learn by the painful process of trial and error. Is it than any wonder that we make so many mistakes? It is any surprise that our relationships fail so often?
Most relationships are doomed from the start. Two people who don’t have what it takes to be happy come together and expect their partner to supply them with what they need. That’s impossible — two unhappy and incomplete people cannot make each other happy, nor can they create a fulfilling relationship. But they still have those unreasonable expectations, and when they don’t get what they want from each other, they become frustrated and angry.
So what’s missing? What do we need to be happy? From birth the thing we all want most is to feel loved. But not just any kind of love will do. We need Real Love — unconditional love — where people care about our happiness with no thought for what they might get for themselves. It’s Real Love when people don’t get disappointed or angry when we make our foolish mistakes, even when we inconvenience them personally. Very few of us ever got that kind of love. Instead, people loved us when we were “good,” when we did what they wanted us to do. People smiled at us and praised us when we were clean, quiet, obedient, grateful, and didn’t fight with our sister. But when we made mistakes, made messes, made too much noise in the car, fought with our sister, got bad grades, dragged dirt across the clean floor, and were otherwise inconvenient, we didn’t hear the same kind words or see the same smiles that we did when we were good. Although no one meant to tell us this, we quickly learned that we were loved conditionally.
Unfortunately, conditional love leaves us feeling empty and alone. It feels worthless because we have to earn it. In effect, we have to buy conditional love with our behavior. Without Real Love, we never feel genuinely happy and complete. We then try to fill our emptiness with money, praise, approval, power, sex, and other pleasures, but those things never bring us the real happiness we’re looking for. We also establish relationships with people, hoping that they will bring us the happiness we’re missing, but if they don’t have Real Love to offer, they can’t help us, either. And we can’t bring any genuine happiness into their lives.
That’s why relationships struggle and fail. Two people without Real Love can’t possibly have a truly loving relationship. The Truth About Relationships teaches us the simple steps that we all can take to find Real Love and loving relationships.
Continue to: What Goes Wrong in Relationships