Sometimes it’s not about what we want…REALLY???

not about what we want

by Kenneth Justice

~ “Look Kenneth, sometimes life is not a perfect package and you just have to take what you can get….sometimes life is not about what I want but about making the best choice available

That is what a young woman said to me at coffee recently. I hadn’t seen the mid-30ish woman in a few years; the last time we talked she had found out she was pregnant with her boyfriend’s baby….. It turns out the two of them got married and she is now pregnant with her second child.

Although we hadn’t talked in a few years I specifically remember her telling me that she wasn’t ‘in love’ with the boyfriend and she was debating whether or not to stay with him; I recall that she had sat at my table looking for me to tell her what to do and I never did….its not my place to tell other people how to live their lives when it comes to important decisions such as whether or not to marry someone!

Well, your probably wondering if I love him” she said, “Its been five years and I still don’t know. But ‘Paul’ is good to me. He’s a good husband and he’s a good father. He’s the only man I’ve ever been with that doesn’t do drugs or drink….I couldn’t ask for a more honest man to be with….and ‘love’…well, I guess I just finally decided that some things are more important in life…and giving my children a solid family life is all that matters to me right now

Last month I received an email from a reader who was comparing their relationship with god to the relationship with a spouse, “I would never stay married to someone I didn’t love….I wouldn’t stay married to someone out of a sense of duty….and that is how I feel about God, I wouldn’t obey God out of a sense of duty…I obey God because I love God….”

It’s interesting for me to see how the reader’s opinion is the complete opposite opinion of the woman that sat down at my table;

—) For the woman at coffee; love meant doing what was best for her and her children…love is somehow intertwined with her ‘sense of duty’

–) For the reader who emailed me love had everything to do with ‘feeling’ and was completely separate from ‘duty’

I’m not about to say that one of them is right and one is wrong. Who am I to tell others that “Kenneth knows what true love is”? But I will say that its an important issue that many of us deal with in various aspects of our lives.

For those of us who have children, loving our children no matter their behavior is something that we do; we will always love our children because it is ingrained within us to do so……

Being a Christian, I have found that ‘love’ is perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of my religion. One of the statements of Jesus is, “This is my commandment that you love one another….” I find that to be a very difficult pill to swallow because to be quite honest; most of the time I don’t feel like loving others.

—) If Jesus had said, “When you feel like it you should love others” my religion would be a lot easier for me.

—) If Jesus had said, “When people are nice to you its important for you to love them back” my religion would be a lot easier to me

—-) If Jesus had said, “Love is simply something you should do when you feel like doing something nice for others” my religion would be a lot easier to me

Unfortunately, Jesus didn’t say any of those things…..instead he left me with this damn blanket statement; “This is my commandment that you love others” and it is a very difficult command to follow.

To love other people who are nasty, mean, or who simply don’t give a damn about us; well its a hell of a lot harder to love those people.

When I was younger my Christian faith had very little to do with love; for me, being a Christian was all about ‘believing the right things’ and ‘saying the right things’….as a young person my Christian faith was about carrying around a checklist of do’s and don’ts….but when I got older and I began to realize that being a Christian was about loving others; well, all of a sudden my religion became a whole lot tougher to fit into my life.

As I sat with the young married woman I listened to her share with me the joys of motherhood. She showed me pictures of her 3 year old child and told me how excited she was to be pregnant again. She showed me pictures of a trip her and her husband took to Paris and of the awesome café’s they sipped coffee at…….she seems really happy. Is she ‘in love’ with her husband; does it matter? Perhaps ‘love’ could come later…….perhaps it won’t…..

The simple fact of life is that none of our lives come in a perfect package…each of us are trying to make the best with what we have. We’re trying figure things out as we go….some of us are still recovering from abusive relationships in our past, some of us are recovering from years of wasted time, some of us are simply trying to get up each morning to write and sip our coffee…which reminds me…




Categories: relationships

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54 replies

  1. Hi Kenneth,

    Another great brain teaser. How do we know when we are in love or even, how do we know when we love someone?

    I am on the other side of that question. I was in a similar situation as the young woman with the child. I honestly didn’t know for sure. My husband was kind, considerate, gave up drink and smoking, did no drugs, was funny, a good father, a great companion, but did I love him?

    I found out the truth when he died.

    You bet I did! There was absolutely nobody else that could touch that man!

    That’s my answer, but one solution may not fit all.

    All the best to you, my friend. Best wishes for the Christmas period and a very Happy New Year.

    • Thank you…merry Christmas to you also…

      and dude…I totally love your comment; “I found out the truth when he died”….so beautiful!

    • But so true.- love to you! You’re amazing!

    • Dear AB – love reading the comments below these pieces. And for me you have Captured It. Sorry to butt-in – but you expressed something profound so concisely. Now butting-out
      And Kenneth .. today’s post: what she said! 🙂

    • Dear Paul,

      You didn’t butt in. Your comments are very welcome. The trick is to appreciate what you have at the time. A man’s willingness to work for his family is worth all the gold in the world. Have a great holiday and New Year. Bless you.

    • You know burrow, I was going to say something similar. Love is a funny thing and we can’t always know when it’s struck – it can be sneaky. It’s not always this super giddy, super romantic like the movies kind of love. Sometimes it’s just quiet and happens subtly. I’m sorry to hear about your husband, but so glad you had that love in your life. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! 🙂

      @ Kenneth – did you really just call this lady, dude? Tsk tsk. 🙂 Love this post Kenneth! And my comment to Burrow pretty much covers it today.

    • Thanks for your reply, Stormy. I sometimes think that this love at first sight business is false, and more often than not, can get a person into trouble. I also think it’s important to get to know someone over time and then decide to go further with the relationship, if at all.

      My best wishes to you and your family at Christmas and have a great New Year, with loads of blogging! (Dude is okay with me, by the way. I am cool with it!)

    • Well, I think love at first sight happens, but it’s rare… that’s why it’s special – that’s also why you can’t rely on it. I figured “dude” was okay with you but I love to harass Kenneth lol. 🙂

    • Jen lol! Everyone is “dude” to me.. Ha ha…perhaps my language has been to influenced by Jeff bridges 😉

  2. …and methinks “love” in the Christian sense is no feeling (like the content of the second person in your example), but more a duty (like the content of the first person). If we only loved when we felt like it, we would fail to meet the larger implications of Christ’s words. Tough indeed! – The Forgetful Philosopher

  3. if you look at love as a ‘state of being’ instead of an emotion it begins to all fit . . . what Jesus/ Buddha and all the rest meant. . . is all the same thing.

    • you may very well be right. I used to go to school with a Buddhist from Cambodia and he and I had some interesting conversations about love and ‘state of being’…he was to the say the least a very smart person.

  4. I find that to love others (to wish them well in life) is much easier to like them. Even then it’s not the fact of disliking a person. It is more about disliking their characteristics or choices. As far as relationship loves goes, that grows over time. After all, love at first sight is really only lust. This girl may have found the man she’ll grow old and happy with, with a deep rooted love.

    • “love at first sight is really only lust” I’ve heard people say that before and it’s an interesting thought…..are there perhaps times in life where love at first sight isn’t lust? I wonder if sometimes people pick up non-verbal cues from others that make them “fall in love at first sight” that aren’t based merely on looks…..

    • That’s a good point. However, I don’t believe that all ‘love at first sight’ lust experiences are based off of the person’s appearance alone. We can lust after all sorts of things: companionship, kindness, a person’s sense of humor and even the way a person talks with us. This is especially true for women. Most women lust after what is being portrayed through a man’s mannerisms and their aura (for lack of better words). With that said, the immediate characteristic that draws us to them can definitely lead to love. Love is learned and grown over time, through trials and challenges along the way.

    • “Most women lust after what is being portrayed through a man’s mannerisms and their aura (for lack of better words). ”

      that’s a really interesting thought…a friend of mine mentioned something similar to this before. Me being a guy…I don’t usually think of ‘lust’ in this manner but I think there is a ton of truth in what you are pointing out.

  5. Rainbows are all the colours put together Love.

  6. “If Jesus had said, “When you feel like it you should love others” my religion would be a lot easier for me.”

    If Jesus had said that this would not have been your religion! 😉 First of all Christianity is not a religion in the true meaning of the word. It is a way of life. And love is the basis of this way of life. Because by loving unconditionally and suffering from it, on occasion, can change the other, can change the world for the better. Yes, it is perhaps the most difficult to follow of all. Otherwise it wouldn’t be the foundation of our belief. It means no selfishness, no complaining, no questions asked. It means first and foremost a deep change in us and then our attitude towards the world. It means that the “other” is more significant than me.
    If you take the extra step you will see that this is so hard and in the new city environments next to impossible, that no wonder we can’t even understand the general outline of it. Yes, we are not a flock of sheep, we are thinking people and that is why it is so hard. We can tell the good from the bad, but still we can not always do good.

    And about love, I can only say that people haven’t found the description that could cover everyman. And it is a lot harder when we confuse the love that waits for no return (best described as the love between mother/father and their children) for the love amongst lovers that is full of tensions, expectations, lust and desires and unfortunately (or fortunately) changes over time.

    • “no selfishness, no complaining, no questions asked”

      Tough, tough, and tougher! But u are right… is so hard to practice that kind of love and I suspect that is why so many peep fail at it….I’m glad I’m not a millionaire because they seem to fail at it the worst!

    • The peasant in heaven Fairytale
      A fairytale by the Brothers Grimm Grimm
      9.6/10 – 21 votes
      The peasant in heaven

      Once on a time a poor pious peasant died, and arrived before the gate of heaven. At the same time a very rich, rich lord came there who also wanted to get into heaven. Then Saint Peter came with the key, and opened the door, and let the great man in, but apparently did not see the peasant, and shut the door again. And now the peasant outside, heard how the great man was received in heaven with all kinds of rejoicing, and how they were making music, and singing within. At length all became quiet again, and Saint Peter came and opened the gate of heaven, and let the peasant in. The peasant, however, expected that they would make music and sing when he went in also, but all remained quite quiet; he was received with great affection, it is true, and the angels came to meet him, but no one sang. Then the peasant asked Saint Peter how it was that they did not sing for him as they had done when the rich man went in, and said that it seemed to him that there in heaven things were done with just as much partiality as on earth.

      Then said Saint Peter, “By no means, thou art just as dear to us as any one else, and wilt enjoy every heavenly delight that the rich man enjoys, but poor fellows like thee come to heaven every day, but a rich once in a hundred years!”

  7. Great post. “For love, it seems to me, is an action, not a feeling.” Can’t remember who said that or something like it, but it sums up what you are describing.

    • Great quote…..what’s interesting to me is that it seems to me that people in general are split down the middle; half of most people believe love is an action….and the other half of people believe it is a feeling…….

    • Is that why half of all marriages end in divorce? Feelings are fleeting, there will always be ups and downs. If your focus is on acting lovingly with your partner, then you won’t have to experience those ups and downs alone.

    • Jason,

      actually….I think it is a BIG part of why so many marriages fail. Because the people involved focus too much on feelings…not that feelings are bad…but our feelings change so quickly and can be easily influenced by negative forces.

    • For sure, and I think I’ve seen statistics showing those in arranged marriages are typically happier in their marriage, which I think is a reflection of this idea as well. If you aren’t driven by feelings, you can truly let the love shine through. Keep those feelings in the passenger seat!

  8. Did you ever watch the movie, The Bridges of Madison County? Your post made me think of it. I remember watching that movie and cringing. As a woman, I saw both sides of her soul. Yes, we are to love, aren’t we…

    I can identify with it not being easy to do for those around us who seem to get on our very last nerve. Its all about seasons in our lives sometimes. Easier some days than others. A constant struggle to remember to love everyone, it seems.

    For the first woman in your post, well she and I could talk for days. Now I need coffee.

    • Was that a Robert Redford film? I really can’t remember if I’ve seen it….

      As far as the woman in the post…..I really respect her attitude: I’ve omitted a ton from the story to preserve her privacy but she has had a tough road and she’s trying to make the best of things…..

    • I think so. Its been a long time.

      I respect it as well. Many woman, including myself, have walked the same sort of road in some way.

    • for many people, a relationship like the one the young woman that I wrote about has…is a difficult thing to handle because she is demonstrating a lot of faithfulness…without all the ‘lovey dovey’ feelings…and the average person simply doesn’t buy into that.

  9. It’s not hard to find someone who tells you they love you, its hard to find someone who actually means it.
    The sad thing is we’re never happy with what we’ve got. We’re silly, selfish and naive always believing that things could be so much better when really, this is the best it’ll get. It’s no wonder why love never lasts. Expecting something magnificent, perfect to happen.
    Things happen for a reason ? Not so sure about that, they just occur and you must deal with it, good or bad. Watch your tongue, but even more importantly, watch your back. There is always someone standing there ready to stab you. Who finds love is the lucky one, and who keeps love is blessed.
    Toast to that Kenneth, watch your tongue, coffee must be hot. 😀

  10. I sort of agree with the email – that a relationship with God is similar to being in love with someone. That statement has a different meaning to me, though.

    The way I see it, God is love. God is not an entity we can see, touch or hear. We know God exist because of this feeling within our souls. You could say we communicate on a spiritual level, as if our souls know what are physical being does not. You believe in God with no other proof besides these feelings of unity and belonging. You just know, somewhere in the core of your being, that God is there. The relationship works because you believe without any need for physical proof. You just believe.

    I feel like love is the same way. Sure, a person can say they love you. They can give you things. They can do a million and one things. None of them are proof of love. Love is the same – that unexplained feeling in the core of your being that your souls are connected on a deeper level than we have words for. The relationship works because, even without proof, you believe. There are many other aspects that can make or break a relationship, but one thing is certain. Both people must believe in the other’s love in the same way they believe in God’s love. The relationship works because they believe without any need for physical proof. They just believe.

    • Dude….very deep thought “the relationship works because they believe without any need for physical proof. They just believe”

      For a lot of people that kind of belief or faith is really tough…..some people need to “see” in order to believe…but others seem to be able to just be able to demonstrate the type of belief your talking about…..we are all so different

    • That’s fine, but I don’t see how someone who has to see in order to believe would ever be able to say they’ve seen love. Like I said, giving something or doing something is not proof of love. You can’t prove someone gave you something because they love you.

      …but then, maybe these thoughts come easier to me because I was raised in a religious home and went to a religious school where these topics were often discussed.

    • Yea….I mean “I” personally actually agree with most of what you wrote…but I too was raised in a very religious household……but I have good friends who were raised in agnostic homes who would read what you said and find it to be difficult to grasp….and it’s not because your wrong but because they simply wouldn’t relate to that kind language pertaining to love….personally I thought it was interesting the way u tied “love” and “faith” together; I have a book by pope Francis i read awhile back where I swear he said something similar…I’ll have to see if I can find it

    • I wrote a post a while back about how God is love. It would take me a while to explain, but that concept also contributes to this view. I think God and Love are the same.

      In college, I worked for an online dating blog (no joke) and I wrote an article about how marriage is like religion. I wrote it that way, because I wanted both religious and non-religious people to benefit from what I said. The short of it is that religion (not necessarily God) is something you believe in blindly. Because it feels good and feels right, you believe. If there is doubt, the relationship crumbles. It’s the same for marriage. Most religions require you to attend a service at least once a week. At least once a week, you remind yourself of what you believe and why you believe. It’s the same in a relationship. You need to take regularly time for just the two of you, even if you have to plan into your schedule, and remind yourself of who you love and why you love them. I think there was one more point, but it escapes me.

      I wouldn’t say that anyone else’s opinions on love are wrong, but I can’t think of a relationship and differently. This is just how it works in my mind.

  11. I honestly think some people have an idea of love being a lot of things that it is not —I could blame romantic comedies, right? 😉

  12. Somethimes love is blind and doesn’t matter what others will tell us, we cannot hear or see. That is in my opinion true love between two persons. I can’t say will last a life time but this is love. And we go beyond family’s will and get married because we really want that, no one else…
    Touchable post, Kenneth.

  13. I believe people watch too much tv and try to shape their lives based on something solved in a short amount of time…


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