Love comes at a high price
Love is a spiritual attribute therefore it comes at a high price. That means that love is not something that comes passively, it must be worked at throughout life. All spiritually valuable commodities come at high price (such as patience, humility, kindness, optimism, honesty). That means that all these qualities are practiced consistently over time. You don’t become patient or humble overnight. Similarly with love, we do not become loving over night. We cannot achieve true love after 3 months with the partner we have chosen. A spiritually developed person, who has truly developed their ability to love, can feel this love for every living thing. They possess a special type of love for anyone.
It is impossible to decide to “love” and think of it in textbook terms. It is one thing to say “I have made the decision to love everyone” and it is a completely different thing to truly feel that genuine and sincere love in our heart for everyone. We can only start to nurture this loving feeling within our hearts, we can create an environment in our soul that allows love to grow without killing it. This can take a very long time, sometimes a whole lifetime, sometimes more than one lifetime. But that’s what we are here to do, so let’s get started today.
These days we throw around the word “love” like cheap currency. We make it synonymous with things like lust, passion, desire – but as you can see – there are other words for that. So we should try to keep the word “love” as pure as possible, and as true to it’s real meaning as much as we possibly can. Because love is not passion, nor is it desire, and love is definitely not lust. These feelings have nothing to do with real love, and don’t give any realistic indication of what real love is.
The rate of divorces and separations is increasing exponentially in our culture today. The Vedas actually predict that in the future, the couple who has remained together for life will be seen as saint-people – those who possess some mystical ability to hold a relationship together for life.
According to the Vedas, there are 7 stages of love in a marriage between two people.
Stage one: Falling in love.
This is the most famous stage of them all. The trademark symbol of “love”. It is in this in this stage that some of the strangest things can be done by people in their wild and sometimes inappropriate expressions of love and commitment. And in Romeo and Juliet’s case- even suicide and murder was justified by their “(Stage One) love”.
This is “chemical love”.
The man and woman experience an inexplicable lust and desire for each other. Hormones are released in their bodies that give them a feeling of attachment and commitment towards each other. It’s like being on a high. The lover’s logic and reason is dulled, and a sense of ambition, pride and motivation take over. Together, they become unstoppable, invincible. They believe nothing could conquer their love. Under the influence of this chemical intoxication, the lovers in this stage need all the help they can get from an outside sober mentor – but unfortunately at this time, they are least likely to accept their mentors advice. They become very sensitive to advice or criticism regarding their love.
They become obsessed with this euphoric feeling and expect that it will last forever. That they will maintain this intense and pleasing “togetherness” forever. But we know that’s not how the story goes….
Stage two: Fullness
Anything that receives a constant input of supply, will eventually become filled – and that is what happens to this couple’s love. Their sensual desires eventually become full. There is no more space for more. This stage is more like a thin boundary between Falling in love and stage three: Rejection, between love and hate. What a strange type of love this is – the kind that is just one step away from hate? This stage can be achieved very quickly- depending on how often the couple sees each other during their Stage one. You can pro-long your love by keeping distance between you and your partner as long as possible – which means to not see each other every possible moment. The closer and more inseparable you are, the more intense the chemical love feeling may be, but also – the faster you will fall into Stage 2 and the harder you will fall into Stage 3.
Stage Three: Rejection
The Rejection phase begins when the intense chemical reactions from Stage One begin to die down. It’s the Hang-Over phase. Both people tend to feel deeply frustrated and sad. They reject each other on all different levels. It is in this stage that most couples separate. It is a very primitive response – we tend to try to squeeze as much “enjoyment” out of our partners as long as possible because it feels good for us, and then as soon as our partners object to being “enjoyed”, we leave. Because it doesn’t feel good anymore. This is such a primal way of thinking about love. We have a higher sense of consciousness than that, we have the ability to make long term commitments. We have the ability to commit to someone to love, and often times, we do not use it, because it’s hard work.
So now that the high is over, the partners begin to notice all the flaws in each other. They feel awkward, irritated and tired of each other. They begin to self-pity- feeling bad for their unfortunate situation, to be trapped in a relationship with a partner with so many flaws – what a sad story . Their conscience sometimes whispers quietly in their ear, suggesting they should keep their love together, to work towards their marriage, to keep doing useful and helpful things for each other. The other voice tells them to leave, to give into their own selfish desire for self-preservation. To step away from the magnifying glass that they are under, which magnifies all their own flaws and bad qualities, to shy away from responsibilities and duties to their partner, and to keep chasing the elusive stage one love.
Stage Four: Patience
If you are raised in a culture that encourages long-lasting marriages and relationships, it is likely you also value commitment. This may give you enough incentive to be patient in your relationship and stick it out. However, modern day communities often encourages divorce. Divorce procedures are becoming more and more simplified. Many people even enter their marriage believing that “getting divorced” is always an option. When the couple reach stage 4, it is only their national, family, cultural and religious traditions and values that can help keep their relationship together. The couple must believe in keeping their relationship together.
In this stage what the young couple need most is to be around good examples of married couples. They need to understand what it takes to build family happiness, and how to disregard and work through the building resentment they are experiencing. The couple need to be educating themselves during this period of patience – on how to develop strength in love, commitment, devotion, faith, trust and loyalty. The couple may not feel much “love” towards each other during this phase, they might also be feeling quite exhausted from all the emotional ups and downs, but they can use their higher wisdom to stay strong and keep putting one foot in front of the other.
Patience is easy to achieve if you grew up with these values. If you did not grow up in a community where patience and perseverance were embodied and encouraged, it is going to be harder work for you. Of course not impossible though!
Stage Five: Duties
Patience is only good if, during the time that you are “patient” you also build on your sense of responsibility. Patience without an increase of responsibility will cause troubles and oppression. It would be kind of silly. In this stage the couple must be patient with each other but continue to fulfill their duties and responsibilities to each other. They should continue to help each other out however they can. Patience means that the couple should focus so much on their duties and responsibilities to each other that they simply do not consider their partner’s bad qualities important. They should not think about what they are getting back for their efforts, they should focus only on what they must do, and the changes they can make. It is only in this way that their relationship can progress.
I am sure many people will read that and I think “What kind of relationship is that? What kind of relationship is one where the couple do not have love for each other, but instead live like slaves to each other? That doesn’t sound like love to me!”
But what does sound like love to you then? Complicated love triangles, open relationships, passionate love affairs, the first 6 months of a relationship, a husband who buys your flowers for valentines day but never wants to come home, a wife who wears beautiful dresses and accompanies you to a work party but who keeps secrets from you? It sounds funny, but strangely these are the love-schemes that we accept today. We think that’s OK. We think that’s love because it has elements of the chemical love that we are addicted to. We are raised to be selfish – to demand things from our partner, but to spend little time thinking about what it takes to actually care about our partner. We are wiling to live together for convenience reasons, and then have affairs on the side in order to chase what we believe feels good.
I think what we need to understand that love does not appear out of thin air. It must be nurtured, it must be fought for. In eastern societies, the concept of long lasting love in marriages is simply “to endure – together”.
So there is no need for us to believe too heavily in the stages of disillusionment. It’s not going to be a fairytale. There will be a magnifying glass on all of your flaws and that is going to be uncomfortable. You will have many opportunities to take offense and be selfish. You won’t FEEL like being loving all the time – but it is important that you do it anyway. Love will only arise out of respect, and respect comes over a period of time of demonstrating trustworthy behavior, and when your spouse sees you consistently choosing the higher, and most loving and kindest option, when your spouse sees you continuing to keep your promises and fulfill your duties regardless of what you “feel like doing”. When your partner sees these traits in you, and you see the same thing your partner, you will start to feel a deep sense of respect for each other, for all the things that have been done by them from a sense of duty over the years of living together. And only then do you have the opportunity of real love.
Stage Six: Respect
Stage five is likely to be the longest stage of all in the couples relationship. It can last a very long time, almost their entire life together. However, from time to time, little flashes of respect are shown in the form of gratitude and spontaneous love. A sense of duty is a spiritual concept and only a spiritually rich person can act from a sense of duty. Fulfillment of duty elevates your dignity and builds respect.
Love and duty go together. Respect is what happens when people commit to each other in relation to service and selfless work. In this stage of the relationship the couple realizes how valuable their partner truly is. They truly feel the unconditional love emanating from their beloved. They feel deep respect and security from their partner. At this stage the relationship begins to feel much more stable. A new level has been reached.
Stage Seven: Love
True love can only be created out of respect, and respect can only be cultivated when one observes their duties and responsibilities completely and fully. The love between the husband and wife will only manifest when their interest in each others material bodies have run out (that does not mean only physically, but it also means aspects of their partners life that is occupied in the material world). They longer identify themselves with trying to enjoy each other, but instead devote themselves to bringing the other, and also everyone in their life, happiness. They continue to do their duties, but now a true and strong love begins to emerge in their actions. This is the beginning of real love.
Hope you enjoyed it!
Sources: Unfortunately I can’t find the exact lecture that I first learned about these 7 stages, but it was from The Art of Living!!