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Love requires discipline, commitment to compassion

by John J. Navarro
Family Advocacy outreach manager

The nature of goodwilled people is they intend to commit themselves to honorable behavior in all aspects of their lives. Their commitment reflects their moral, cultural, religious and ethical beliefs.

In our intimate relationships, many of us believe love conquers all life's trials and tribulations. This romantic concept is reinforced in literature and in cinema. Yes, love is the feeling, which needs the support of unconditional acceptance. We court our perspective partner often overlooking their shortcomings. We may even minimize or be in denial over our sweethearts' obvious self-defeating behaviors or danger signs about their lifestyle. This blissful state of love sweeps us off our feet and we find ourselves planning the perfect wedding and dreaming of the perfect life. We stand before all who gather at our wedding and make promises.

Little do we realize that a promise made can only be kept if the maker of the promise has the where-with-all to keep the promises. Simply, to have good intentions without the necessary skills and resources could result in your promised dreams turning into a nightmare. In our social and psychological development, where do we get these skills and resources? What are the necessary skills and who teaches them?

The human race has struggled with problems in establishing and maintaining relationships throughout history. How to stop the cycle of interpersonal relationship decline is a question that has plagued mankind. In the aftermath, we report "we fell out of love," "we are so angry with our life partners we are compelled to hurt them back," "and we were blinded by love."

People are searching for the answers of how to keep love alive. We watch television talk shows hosted by psychological experts. We read books about how men and women are from different planets. We talk with our friends and seek their advice. Perhaps the answers to our quest for marital tranquility can be found by conducting a self-assessment. We need to reconcile ourselves to the realities of our world and abilities, and inspire ourselves to adapt to the challenges of this life.

Perhaps a commitment followed by action -- not words. To commit ourselves to learning, to be a life long work in progress and never stop growing. Using all of the resources available and be accountable to the discipline to act first in that name of compassion and love even in our worst moments would be a good minimal behavioral standard. Partners must agree to be respectful and honorable. Then make sure the behavior matches their words.

In the end, we are all measured by our deeds - not the empty promises - we make to capture someone’s trust or forgiveness. We must seek out the solutions by actively working hard and smarter. We must take responsibility to be proactive. Time does not heal all wounds; it is our actions during life trials and tribulations which will make the difference during the course of our lives.



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