THE VIEW FROM RIZAL
By DR. JUN YNARES
“What do I say when my wife asks me if I still love her?”
My contemporaries in high school and college have asked me that question quote a few times. Many of us have been married for over a decade now and it appears that our better-halves have made it a point to reassess our commitment to them – particularly during the week leading up to Valentine’s Day.
Occasionally, my wife would ask me that question, too. I remember that a few years back, I shared with our readers through this column, how I handle that “annual review” of our commitment to “love and to cherish, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us part.”
I shared that my usual short and sincere answer is, “Of course, with all my heart.”
One time, I gave a different answer to that annual-review question which came as a surprise to my wife. I decided to give a different answer. The response was:
“Of course, with all my mind.”
“How unromantic,” my wife said. “Whatever happened to ‘heart’?” she followed up.
“Well, at this stage of our marriage, I decided loving with one’s mind makes for a stronger commitment than just loving with one’s heart,” I said, bravely.
“You better explain that,” she warned, sweetly.
Here’s how I explained what I meant by “loving you with all my mind.”
At this point in my life, I have realized that true love goes beyond the realm of feelings and emotions. Feelings and emotions are not reliable. They are vulnerable to many unstable internal and external factors such as glands, hormones, mood swings, weather, politics, and other uncertainties.
I believe that true love must transcend this realm and enter into that sacred seat of every man’s rational decisions – his mind.
For me, love is more than just a “nice feeling.” It’s a decision. It’s a decision one must consciously, deliberately make using the faculties of the human mind.
Here are some specifics.
Establishing priorities. One who loves must have a clear hierarchy of priorities and put the persons he loves at the top of the list. Making and understanding priorities assure those whom he loves that they are ahead of everyone and everything else when it comes to the allocation of my time, my presence, my attention, and my resources.
Planning. One who loves must have a clear purpose and direction for the relationships he has with the people whom he loves. Marriages and families have clear missions. It is up to me to determine what I and my loved ones must do so we can work together as a team and achieve the mission we are called to accomplish.
Strategizing. One who loves must realize that we do not live in a perfect world. Relationships go through challenges and conflicts. One who truly loves, I believe, must have clear strategies in his head to make sure that the relationships he values can go through adversity and come out of its stronger.
Listening and understanding. True, one who loves must know how to listen – both with his “heart” and his mind. Listening with the “heart” means the ability to empathize and sympathize. Listening with the “mind” means the ability to assess and to understand what the pain, joy, concern and issues are on the part of the loved one being listened to. This is important because the one who loves must be able – at certain points – to offer wisdom and counsel to the one whom he loves.
So, there you are. That’s what I mean when I told my wife that I love her “with all my mind.”
She, and all other people brought to my life by God for me to love, are ever-present in my mind. They are constantly the subject of my planning, strategizing, understanding and efforts at sticking to my hierarchy of priorities.
It is interesting that the feelings and emotions one associates with loving simply follow.
This Sunday, I am including all our readers in my prayer that the grace to love with “all our mind” be showered unto us by Him “who first loved us” and gave us “His only Son as a ransom for our sins.”
That was clearly a decision on the part of God, Our Father. He truly had us in mind when He declared that “God is love, and love consists in this – not that we have loved God but that He has loved us.”
A blessed Sunday to all.
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