in Living

The Tao of Love Part 2

On the Importance of Maintaining Equilibrium in Love

To sustain mutual love, balance is vitally important. In a relationship permeated by respect, each partner must be sympathetic with the other. One partner should not be the exclusive “giver.” Both partners should do their best to give everything they can to the relationship and to each other. While this is vitally important in keeping a relationship healthy and alive, it should not be so forced that it goes against your impulses. Balance should never be forced, but always attempted. There are many problems that can arise from an unbalanced relationship.

When a couple fails to maintain the balance in a relationship, feelings of inadequacy, neglect, and disappreciativeness can arise. This is heavily related to the passage about sacrifice.

A friend asked me the other day, “You said you are truly in love. What would happen if you couldn’t be with your girl for ten years? Would you stay with her? How long could you wait?” When I replied that it depended on the circumstances of our seperation, he said that if I truly loved her I would wait as long as it took, no matter what the circumstances were.

In my mind, a situation such as this deals with not only sacrifice, but balance. While sacrifice is rooted in the principles of ideal and pure love, balance is based on the realistic and practical side of it. Why should there be a practical side to love? The totally idealistic view of love that some people have is impossible given the flawed nature of humanity–keep in mind that I speak of romantic love, not the kind between a mother and son, or a god and his disciple.

The importance of balance is show in the following example. A couple has been married for ten years. The husband is generally a loving man, except that when he drinks he turns into a totally different person. He becomes verbally and physically abusive. The wife has stood by her man for those ten years, sometimes with happiness, and at other times with fear. The situation ends when one night while under the influence, he beats her to death. In this situation, the woman sacrificed her safety and welfare for her love, but was this reasonable? People take a vow to stay by their mates in sickness and in health, until death do they part, but is it always right to keep this vow?

Balance is not only important in sustaining mutual love, but also a prerequisite for love itself. A relationship in which love is not reciprocated is no relationship at all. For love to exist, feelings must be reciprocated. Otherwise, love becomes obsession or any number of alternatively unhealthy emotions. Examples of this are the women who stay with abusive husbands and obsessive stalkers.

Through balance, each member of the relationship can maintain their mental welfare. It is up to each person to decide which, either balance or sacrifice, is more important to the relationship or whether both are equally so. The decision may rely heavily on whether one’s practical side is more potent than one’s idealistic side.

The Tao of Love Part 3: On the Importance of Mutual Respect and Understanding

or back to

The Tao of Love Part 1: On the Subject of Sacrifice as it Pertains to the Nature of Love