I believe love is show business. If a love does not show, that love is not so. Simple as that sounds, a lot of people struggle with the expression of love both in human and divine relationships. Hopefully by reading this article we intend to solve this complex equation permanently.The first reason why most people in our generation struggle with the expression of love in their relationships is because most of us are descendants of parents who are stoic in disposition. Stoics are people who subscribe to philosopher Zeno‘s school of thought, that people should be free of passion and unmoved by joy,love and grief. While our forefathers might not have studied Zeno, their propensity for expressionless relationships was a confirmation of his ideologies.
This is especially true in the African and Asian contexts. As a young man moving close to my forties, I do not have any clear memory of my dad every hugging my mum. The implication of growing up in such expressionless homes for the first 18 to 20years of our lives meant that we lost the opportunity of learning how to express love in our first learning environment. Most men still struggle with this foundation today.
The second reason why people struggle with the expression of love in their relationships is because of the globalization of evangelical/puritan Christianity and Islam. It was as if the pioneering missionaries of these global movements equated spirituality with the denial of emotional expression. As this religions gained social acceptance, many people began to pay the high price of emotional denial in other to attain the lofty height of spiritual excellence. Most clergy were even trained never to comment on the emotional side of human beings. Teachings on sexuality were rare, and many adherents of these religions went underground with their emotional nature while these religious institutions lost the vital opportunity of being a defining influence in the emotional lives of the people.
We must commend these flourishing religions for the democratization of morality in our society, without which our civilization would have been long extinct. We however must also acknowledge the fact that, the emotional denial generated by the extreme advocacy for morality needs to be addressed by a more engaging and socially relevant generation of clergy who are not afraid to have a say in the emotional struggles of their day.
The third reason why some struggle with the expression of love in their relationship is temperamental in nature. Some temperaments seem to be saddled with a deficit in emotional expression. For example, phlegmatics and melancholies compared to sanguines and cholerics who are expressive and bouyant by nature.
This is not to say that the first two temperaments do not feel love deeply, they simply do not have as much competence in expression as the other two temperaments. This enabled me coin the term “feelers” and “expressers” in my research on the subject about a decade ago. Feelers to me were people who had greater depth of feelings than they are able to express,while expressers were people who have greater competence in expression than they actually do feel.
The two fold implication of this understanding is that every lover must find out if your partner is a feeler or an expresser. Then with patient understanding help your partner develop the strengths necessary in their predominant area of weakness,in a non judgmental atmosphere.
The final reason why many lovers struggle with the expression of emotional love is due to past hurts of people who took their love for granted. Almost every lover has had the experience of someone taking your revealed feelings for granted. Most lovers leave such painful circumstances with a vow never to be hurt again. Many therefore will rather conceal their love for another, than risk getting hurt again. The truth however is that the rewards of love can never be attained without taking the risks of getting hurt. On this I agree with Eddie L. Long when he defined love as giving another person the power to hurt you but trusting them not to do so. Sometime in future we shall address the subject of risk management in love.
It is however crucial not to confuse the expression of love with the intensity of love. The heart is deceitful above all things,and desperately wicked: who can know it. There are certain wicked individuals who derive pleasure from leading people on emotionally for the fun of it. Others do so, in other to get back at someone else who hurt them in their past. This is why you must prove all things emotional and only hold fast to that which you have proven to be true.
That said, every lover must understand that demonstrating open love for your partner is a fundamental lover’s right. If you can’t show them you really love them,it is best you leave them alone. All emotionally stingy lovers must prepare their heart to loose their partner once a more benevolent lover shows up in their partner’s life.
Finally we must understand that there should be responsible limits of expression in love for unmarried couples. For example, sexual expression is best reserved for the depth of marital union, if you won’t get used and hurt. There is no better way to end this article than the way we started it. Love is show business,if the love does not show that love is not so.
THE GREATEST IS LOVE!!!
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