When my girlfriend and I go out to eat, it usually transpires the same way each time. First it starts off with one of us posing the question, “Are you hungry? Do you want to get something?” After we have established that we’d like to go somewhere, then we engaged in the timeless dance that couples have been doing since time immemorial:
“What do you wanna eat?”
“I don’t know– what do you wanna eat?”
“I’m good with anything.”
“Okay, well we can go to that one restaurant that just opened right down the street.”
“No, I’m not in the mood for that.”
“Okay, how about?…”
This back and forth proceeds anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes. Then finally we break through the indecisive haze enveloping us both and we decide on a restaurant that we’ve been to a million times before. Often we’ll end up going somewhere she’d like to eat at (although I’m certain she’d argue that it’s the other way around). I’m sure there are times when she agrees to go somewhere that I want to go although she’s not particularly in the mood for that and vice versa. There’s been numerous occasions that I haven’t been up for what she wanted and I went along with it anyways (partially to prove to her that we do in fact go where she likes to go).
This makes me think about love and how it shows up differently during different situations. To do something that you and your partner both like and enjoy– that’s good love. However, doing something that your partner wants to do but you have no particular interest in whatsoever– that’s great love.
What I find fascinating is that too much great love is not necessarily a good thing and only having good love will never lead to anything great. If you are always doing what your partner wants to do and it’s never reciprocated there comes a point when it’s no longer a healthy exchange, it’s an imbalance that can lead to resentment. If you only do what you both want to do then a deeper appreciation for your partner will escape you. You can never find out how much you care about someone, until you do something you personally despise but they absolutely adore. That’s when you know how real it is. If you were to ask me for the proper ratio, it would be something close to 80-20. 80% of the time you have a good love and the remaining 20% you’re biting the bullet and taking one for the team.
Sometimes that looks like going shopping when you don’t want to. Sometimes that’s watching the weird illuminati conspiracy documentary on youtube even though you know it’ll give you nightmares. And a lot of times, that’s agreeing to eat at some restaurant that you’re not particularly in the mood for. That’s love.
What are some of your examples where you have had to demonstrate great love for someone you’ve cared about?