Failing in Love: Possibility or Implausibility?

?I don?t agree with the last line,? my friend shot back.


I looked over the last line.  I could not understand why he would disagree.  It made perfect sense. ?Love never fails,? it read simply.


?I agree with all else?but I do not agree that love never fails.  It?s demeaning to what you did have,? he said again.


The topic of our discussion was the passage found in the Bible in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.  The passage presents a definition of love that is not rooted in idealism but grounded in reality.  Here it is. 


Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered,
it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.


The last line in particular bothered my friend.  Saying that love never fails was demeaning to what he did have once upon a time? 


So why was he objecting?  Well, if love never can fail then by extension of this principle, if a relationship based on love has ended, the fact of its very failure indicates that there was never any love present to forge a relationship.  What was once thought of as love, was perhaps an infatuation or an obsession or an admiration or a genuine liking or caring but it was not love.  The logical conclusion of a statement such as ?love never fails? singularly bothered my friend and it would probably bother all those who once thought they were in love, only to find that their love (his or hers or perhaps both) unable to withstand the obstacles of time.  The idea that an emotion perceived as intensely as love and defined as love is in effect something much less winds up leaving some feeling foolish and na?ve.


To delve further, if my friend does not agree that love never fails, then, he must by default believe the contrary i.e. that love can fail.  One does not need to venture far (personal experiences or even the media is more than sufficient) to find examples of love apparently failing with the once-in-love-couple ready to call it quits and the divorce lawyers eagerly ready to halve the halves.  But before we proclaim the failure and death of love, we need to seriously ask if whether the broken relationship was in actuality based on love or was it based on a vulnerable or immature attraction that would succumb eventually to the patience of time?  


Now, is it really fair to call it ?love? when the individual in question in the ?love relationship? decides to put their needs and wants first over and above the needs and wants of their partner?  You can say with surety that the individual loves himself or herself but does he/she love their partner?  The reality of some situations is that as long as it is convenient to their existence, many are prepared to call what they feel ?love?, and when it becomes inconvenient for whatever reason, be they financial, parental or societal, these same people are just as willing to walk away from the relationship as they are willing to call it love.  A recent article in Mangalorean Voices, ?? illustrates this point.


If you love someone, do you give up on him or her or do you remain committed till death do you part?  Do you place them first in your life above all else or do you place them second, third, fourth or fifth?  And if you do place them anything other than first, can you truly say you love them?  Can you not just as easily say you ?care deeply? for them?


Some will say that there are different degrees to truth, just as there are different degrees of love.  But is that thinking correct?  Isn?t there only one truth?  The earth is either round or it is flat.  It either revolves around the sun or the sun revolves around the earth.  There are no different degrees of truth, what exists instead is similar versions of the truth, which come close to sounding like the truth but on examination it is not the truth, neither complete nor whole.  And it is the same with love.  There are similar versions of love from ?admiration? to ?infatuation? to ?like? to ?care? and they come close, containing the same elements of obsession and caring but lacking the elements of commitment and altruism and for that they still cannot be ?love?.


So does love fail?  I do not think so.  It cannot, does not, will not fail.  You can and should be able to count on the one that loves you, really ?loves? you… someone who acts on their love, not someone who pays lip service to their love.


My friend still disagrees with me.  He thinks love can fail.  Oh well, I would still choose to recognize the truth of love never fails to one that does.  

Author: Tanya Pinto- Canada