Valentine’s Day is just around the corner – candy, flowers and cards espousing undying love. But what happens when we don’t feel the love anymore? The following story, taken from the “tiny Buddha”, may provide the answer.
There’s a story about a man who’s fallen out of love with his wife and goes to a wise man to ask for advice on what to do about his situation. He explains to the sage that he no longer loves his wife and is suffering because he doesn’t want to break up his family. But since he doesn’t love her anymore, the only solution he can think of is divorce.
“Oh,” says the wise man, “you need to love her?” “But, that’s just it,” says the husband, “I don’t.” “Yes,” says the wise man, “that’s the problem. You don’t love her. If you want to solve the problems, you need to love her.”
The husband doesn’t understand. The wise man continues, “You think love is a noun, something you find or fall into. But love is a verb. It’s something you give to others. If you act with love, you’ll begin to feel love for her again. What you give is what you feel. You started out loving her and so you felt love. If you want to solve your problem, go give her love.”
I remember the “aha” I experienced when I first heard that love is a verb. Love so often feels automatic, as if we just “fall” into it. Soon enough, however, the ego steps in and starts to judge whether or not this person is worthy. Eventually we begin to judge their behavior and question our love and commitment to that person. This is the time to really take a deep look inside oneself and challenge the feeling that “I’ve simply fallen out of love” – with the man or woman that I previously committed my life and love to.