HOLINESS IN LOVE

Love and holiness are concepts that might seem polar opposites of each other but are in fact intertwined with each other.

Love served on a platter of holiness tastes ambrosiac.

However, it is just as difficult to love wholly as it is to maintain holiness in love. Holiness in love does not refer to chanting the name of God ceaselessly or sermonizing on spirituality at all times. Holiness in love is a call to guard the sense organs and mental perceptions against unholy intruders just because you have decided to present your unalloyed self to a special person.

WHY IS IT NECESSARY TO MAINTAIN HOLINESS IN LOVE?

· When you love a person, s/he is special. S/he occupies a place in your life like none other. It would be an injustice to present a deliberately defiled unrepentant self to that special person. You wouldn’t gift a broken pen or half-eaten chocolate to anyone, would you?

· There is a moral standard set in place against unholiness. Does it really matter? It does. Entertaining unholy intruders sears the soul and the spirit, just as it defiles the body. But, then who decides the moral standard? What may be unholy for you, may simply be fun for me. Why then drag morality into the picture and make a big deal out of it?

· We are created in the image of a holy God, who is love. Holiness is a part of our DNA. When we think of ways to fiddle with holiness, we fiddle with our DNA which is more than mere biology. Consequently, love gets the beating.

· Pleasures of holy love are richly rewarding. While the pleasures of unholy love offer momentary gratification, pleasures derived out of holy love are perpetually gratifying as it soothes the soul and strengthens the spirit.

HOW TO GUARD OUR SENSE ORGANS AGAINST UNHOLY INTRUDERS?

First, it is important to identify the unholy intruders. Be it having fun at the expense of a dirty joke, flirting, watching soft/ hard porn, mere sexual fantasizing or physical intimacy before/ outside the marital relationship – these are unholy intruders into the holiness of love. These intruders destroy all the potentials for enjoying love to the fullest extent. Hence, it is vital to identify them.

Second, erect mental and physical barriers. The next step after recognizing the unholy intruders is to block their entry. If you have more idle time, develop a constructive hobby. If you have peers who challenge you into entertaining any of the unholy intruders, part ways with them. If your body secretes high levels of hormones which push you towards welcoming the unwanted intruders, build up a regimen with the help of professionals to deal with it.

Third, say NO to experimentation. Thomas Alva Edison once burned down his lab in the course of his experimentation to discover the incandescent bulb. Alfred Nobel blew up quite a few rocks and boulders while experimenting with dynamite. Neither Edison’s lab, nor the rocks blown up by Nobel were restored to their previous forms ever. There are enough explosive precedents of experimentations in love across all cultures and generations. Need we experiment further?

Fourth, tap on the strength from God. God is Love. He provides the necessary restraint to safeguard our minds and bodies so that we can cherish love in its totality and holiness. It is not easy to prevent the unholy intruders from sneaking into our lives merely by self-determination or vows of chastity. Missiles cannot be encountered with rifles. Missiles need to be encountered with missiles. That is precisely why all nations keep their military arsenal well-stocked with missiles!!

WHAT ABOUT THE SLIPS?

It is easier to give a dictum to follow than to follow the dictum. Slips do happen!! Big stalwarts have fallen flat in surrender to the unholy intruders. Temptations often knock at the door. Discernment between mood uplifting fun and unholiness is rarely pondered upon. When slips do happen during unguarded fragile moments, it is vital to recognize the sin, admit to self and God, repent for the same and resolve never to repeat them. And the, of course, to erect stronger barriers than before.

SHOULD YOU ACCEPT DEFILED LOVE?

I know of a man who had guarded himself against all possible unholy intruders, just to be able to love the special person who would come his way. When he realized that he was in mutually reciprocal love with his friend, he also realized that she had been emotionally bound to two others before (which he already knew as her friend).

It was a tussle for him. He remained true in his love as he was in his friendship with her, but it took a while for him to come to terms with the fact that he would be receiving what he called ‘a third-hand gift’.

What helped was the fact that she was true about her past, was true with him all through and admitted to having sought God’s forgiveness for those seemingly silly affairs. Overall this was God’s strength that helped him brush off her past and accept her with loving holiness.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, remember truth and forgiveness are vital keys. Genuine slips need to be forgiven when truly repented for. Unintentional unholiness needs to be forgiven in acceptance as well. Victims of human trafficking and sexual abuse deserve the healing and bliss of holy love. God heals the broken with His love, and so He expects that we give the scope to the broken for healing by showing our love.

Love is an intense emotion which rules the world. The consequences of love dying in the world that we live in would be disastrous. What can keep love from dying is holiness. This is not only true about romantic love but also true for all relationships.

When there is holiness in love, all the other virtues discussed earlier in the week – Justice, Truth, Equality, Kindness, Respect and Acceptance, Patience would be largely visible.

WITH LOVE AND PATIENCE NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE

The car lurched forward, jerked and stopped. Sameer said in a frustrated voice “Aanya you have to slowly leave the clutch and press the accelerator simultaneously. How difficult is it to comprehend?” Aanya was near tears “You’re sitting next to me and rolling your eyes is pressure enough for me. Don’t shout at me. Have patience na… It’s my first day learning how to drive a car.”

Kaushal came home in a very bad mood. He was snapping at the kids and Suhana at every small thing. Nothing they did was right according to him. The kids scuttled away into their room on the pretext of homework. And Suhana was left alone to face the wrath of Kaushal. Suhana was simmering inside and was ready to blow her top too. But at the right time, her mind reasoned that she needs to deal with this situation with some patience. Kaushal was on his notice period in the office having been asked to resign. The pain of being treated unfairly in the current job and no other job in sight was taking a toll on Kaushal.

Shruti was bedridden for last one year after the accident. She was beginning to lose hope that she would ever walk again. She was so dejected that she had stopped trying also. No amount of cajoling was pulling her out of this stoic mindset. Aayan was at his wit’s end. But he knew he had to keep his patience while dealing with Shruti or else he would never be able to help her out of this dark pit of depression.

There are innumerable such instances in our daily life. Among all the relationships in our life, we have the maximum expectations from our spouse. There will be times when the behaviour of your spouse will irritate you or frustrate you. But before you lose your cool think about what the other person’s emotional state is. Maybe their heightened emotions are making them behave unreasonably. So be patient. Don’t react immediately and look for a better way to deal with the situation.

No, I am not saying always put up with their bad behaviour but do put yourself in your spouse’s shoes and think maybe at this moment they need your empathy and not your equal and opposite reaction.

RESPECT AND ACCEPTANCE – A LOVELY COUPLE

Gaurav and Sweekriti are at the sessions court, they came for a hearing as they have applied for divorce. Court gave adjournment of six months which is a normal practice for couples applying for divorce to give them time to rethink their decision.

Gaurav and Sweekriti, married for 5 years now after a brief courtship period of 5 months are at a pedestal today where they don’t want to continue their relationship. And it was their mutual decision and they didn’t involve their respective families for they feared that they might be pressurised for the sake of SOCIETY. They are individuals having their respective perspectives towards life, love an independence. Amidst all the disagreements and arguments one thing that they agreed upon is separation is the independence and MIGHT bring happiness to them.

As they were waiting the period of six months given by the court to pass, they had a sudden yet pleasant guest – Setu Uncle, who happens to be Sweekriti’s best friend’s father and even Gaurav is so much fond of him. They couldn’t continue their charade of a happy couple in front of him and within two days the issue was out in open. Setu Uncle isn’t someone who talks in a circumlocutory manner. Also is someone who isn’t into the foul and futile practice of upholding a false, fragile prestige that gets dented by happy carefree smiles. That might be the reason that Gaurav and Sweekriti broke the news to him as they knew he won’t be judging them.

Setu Uncle smiled and said “at the end of the day we are responsible for our happiness, if you guys think this is it then let it be. But can you do one thing for me?” And pulled two blank papers from his file that was lying on the table and handed them to the couple. They were blank as the papers in their hands and stared each other. And Setu Uncle continued “I know that you dislike each other so much that don’t want to be in this bond any longer. I can’t use the term hate as I find it too strong to be used for two lovely, intelligent people like you, so dislike will do (he chuckled). Take these papers, think and write what are the reasons, characteristic traits in your partner that made you loathe about the person to a point that you don’t want this association anymore. Take your time and no cheating” (he winked) and left them.

He returned after two hours only to find the papers kept on the table folded. He called Gaurav and Sweekriti and opened their respective sheets.

Gaurav – she doesn’t understand me 😡

Sweekriti – he never respects me, always brooding 😡

Setu Uncle read and laughed hard ” I thought one paper wouldn’t be enough for your complaints but you guys disappointed me. Coming to your issues did you guys ever spoke to each other about your feelings? Gaurav you said she doesn’t understand you, that means Acceptance is the issue but did you try to talk to her explaining your stand or perspective without getting irritated. Your irritation, the choice of words in the heat of arguments come across as crass and disrespectful which are more dangerous than the obvious physical abuse. Have you thought about that? Sweekriti I am on your side, words said in anger hit like venom but apart from that any other flaw that stands out remarkably in this man? Is he not loyal to you, not supportive of your aspirations, not a responsible partner? Isn’t one flaw pardonable in otherwise perfect man? The way you deserve respect so does he acceptance. We all are flawed some way or the other, isn’t it? Flaws can be complimented and completed but lack of love can’t be and none of you have given that as a reason to call it quits”.

Both Gaurav and Sweekriti looked at each other, once angry glances mellowed down. Confusion still persists but a willingness to try once more has sprouted up.

And Setu Uncle continued “see I always believed our happiness is our prerogative and call so whatever be your decision it should make you happy, together or otherwise. The issue I see from where I stand is non acceptance of the problems or flaws – both within and our partner. Acceptance of our problems induces solutions, acceptance of others’ flaws induces clarity. And that bridges the gap by paving the path of respect, communication being the bricks. If talking is leading to arguments drop messages, handwritten works better any day. Don’t think I am being preachy or poking nose in your business. It’s just that I would never want a couple to become separate entities just because they couldn’t identify and accept, respect the bliss of being together, think differently and not indifferent or devoid of love. Any way I am leaving tonight and leaving you to ponder over. I promise this will remain with me as a secret unless you decide to spill the beans. Take care”.

*****************

Can you guys guess the ending of the story?

PS** Gaurav – pride/ prestige/ respect; Sweekriti – Acceptance; Setu – Bridge**

IT HAS THE POTENTIAL TO DO WONDERS IN RELATIONSHIPS

Many people struggle in relationships, especially romantic ( love and marriage ) only because they aren’t being kind enough. When it comes to our parents, they don’t complain even if we are not kind to them. One might ask is being kind that important? Personally, I feel that is the most important aspect in upkeeping with  the relationship. Being kind is rather simple but works wonders in relationships. So, how do we do that?

Do you surprise your partner with small gifts at times?

Do you walk up to your partner, wrap your arms around them to say how much you love them?

Do you regularly keep a check on your partner if they are feeling fine?

Would you voluntarily ask you partner if they want to talk when they are feeling low?

Do you assist your partner in day to day chores?

When your partner is sick, do you take good care of them?

Do you also do the dishes the day your duty was only to cook?

Do you greet your partner with a smile when you see them after a long day of work?

If nothing, can you just spare the day without complaining?

The list is not limited to the above. There are various small and big things we can do for our partners.

I particularly remembered one incident when the thought of kindness in relationships pondered in my mind. In the earlier team I worked in, we had a Usability engineer. She is an elderly lady. Way back in 2013 or so when I travelled to the US for some usability tests, she and I worked together collecting feedback from prospective customers. One day she walked up to my cubicle to say that she is going to pick me up the next day evening and I should spend the night at her place. That was the first time someone invited me home on overseas travel. It might be impolite to reject, so I hesitantly agreed to that proposal. On Friday evening, she drove up to the hotel I was staying in, and then took me home along with her. I spent that evening with her, her kids, dogs and cats. She arranged for a separate guest room for me. She decorated the room herself with flowers, alluring scents and nice food to top it all. I felt very honoured by her hospitality. For a junior employee like me, she didn’t have to do anything. She also taught me that it is very important to be kind and generous to others around us. This is not romantic I know, but kindness can really nurture any relationship. Kindness is extremely powerful when put into action.

In the monotonous life we lead, we sometimes forget that our partner deserves our undivided attention regularly. We cannot divide it between weekdays and weekends like we do at work. No matter how busy we are,  it is incredibly important that we are present in the relationships we are in. The ways are numerous. A warm touch, subtle appreciation or a small gift goes  a long way. The assurance we provide to the person we love is all they might need to have happy and fulfilling relationship. It may sound like being kind is easy, but , we should consciously ensure that we are there for the other person.

There are ways of behaviour that couples need to learn to express, share and receive love. It doesn’t matter if you are an introvert or an extrovert. Just think it through and you would find things you can do for your partner to make them feel special. Many teenagers and even people in early 20’s do not realise that the easiest way to impress a person is to be kind 🙂 It is not the flowers, the compassion and the thoughtfulness behind bringing those flowers is what’s more important

Being kind also leaves us feeling very positive and is foundational to enjoying happy and healthy relationships. So, just be kind, spread love.

Caution: Don’t make the mistake of being kind in an abusive relationship. That is counter effective. Your partner might start taking more advantage of you and your emotions.

Because that’s what kindness is. It’s not doing something for someone else because they can’t, but because you can.” – Andrew Iskander

DOES YOUR PARTNER KNOW WHO EXACTLY YOU ARE?

I will start this article with a list of questions that we all can ask ourselves and answer them to ourselves only.

“Why do I put a password on my phone?”

“Am I comfortable handing over my phone to my better half?”

“Do I whisper on my phone in my spouse’s presence or talk normally?”

“Can I share where I have gone or whom I have met or what I talk with my better half?”

“Do I delete a few of my chat logs fearing my spouse can read them?”

“Am I an enigma for my spouse?”

“Do I hide anything from him or her?”

“Do I have a constant fear that something might be revealed?”

And the list can go on…

Don’t get me wrong, these questions are not only for you to answer or go through, but they are applicable for me as well. And there will be many other exceptions and situations where these questions are not applicable. But I am sure, we all understand what I am talking about.

The above questions I set keeping a marital relationship in mind and I can have different sets of questions for different kinds of relationships or friendships that exist in this world too.

They can be –

“Do I pretend to love one friend but say otherwise in front of him or her?”

“Do I gossip which about a friend without verifying the truth behind a matter?”

“Do I keep things hidden from my parents or sister or brother or any close friends?”

Again, the list can be stretched to any length possible.

All this process of question and answer mentioned above are pointing at one serious and most important attribute a person in a relationship should have is Truthfulness.

Speaking the truth or truthfulness or honesty are almost close to each other. Honesty is expressing our feelings and opinions accurately and Truth is an accurate representation of what is real. Honesty is more expressions and feelings driven. Truth is more facts and information-driven. But they both, truth and honesty go hand in hand in any sort of relationship that exists on this earth. So being truthful and honest to our spouses or friends is of utmost importance in a marital relationship or in a friendship. Although there is a flip side to this subject which we need to understand clearly. We should not mix up with the difference between secrets and privacy. We need to remember that privacy is a personal boundary around someone’s own thoughts, ideas, and information that don’t directly involve his or her better half. But a secret is something which is intentionally kept hidden from spouses for the fear of being caught or judgement.

Writing down so many preachy advises don’t really help if I don’t plunge into the root cause of people telling lies to or hiding things from their spouses or friends whom they love so much or at least claim them as own.

Let me explain it with a real case study:

A husband observed his wife to be quite secretive for a last couple of days. He has never seen her going out of the room while talking to someone over the phone before. But these days he observed she is trying to get away from him while she is on the phone. He also observed that she snatches her phone away or cover her phones when he comes close to her phone or when he tries to touch her phone. He was surprised with her recent actions and reactions because he has never seen her behaving like this before. She used to leave her phone with him all the time without a worry previously but why she was behaving like this now was really strange.

He was suspicious now about her actions and planned to check her phone once when she is either taking bath or something. One day he got the opportunity and saw the messages. He was surprised, hurt as well as upset to see her chat log with one particular person.

He confronted her and she was annoyed knowing why he had to check her phone and messages. He fought back saying why she had to hide things from him, her husband. They had a big fight over this.

He was hurt and was terribly upset and rightly so but he decided to leave her to her condition and wait. One day, he saw her depressed and troubled. He asked the reason behind her being so sad or upset. She shared that her friend is ignoring her and that has hurt her. He was patient and heard her agony and slowly she opened up. She said she was feeling very vulnerable and when this boy messaged her from nowhere and spoke well, they became good friends. The husband asked why she had to hide it from him and she said she was scared thinking about how he will react. He smiled and said how he has so many female friends and it is alright to have a friend. And soon she allowed him to handle her phone and never behaved as he was doing for some time.

If we want our partners to be honest and truthful with us, then we have to be a skilled listener and communicator because relationship demands two-way communication.

As a good listener, the husband in the above-mentioned case study displayed the following attributes to let the wife speak the truth to him. And those are vital for all of us to learn and practice in our lives as well.

    • The husband was hurt and angry but wasn’t unreasonable and impatient which allowed the wife space to understand his point of view.
    • He was non-judgmental and that’s the reason she found the courage and felt safe to discuss her heart’s matter with him.
    • He was open-minded which made her disclose everything one after the other.
    • He didn’t impose his personal views but allowed her to ask for suggestions when she felt ignored by the other person.
    • He didn’t force her to tell everything all at once but gave her time and space.
    • He never jumped to any conclusion about the relationship between his wife with that other person which made her to rely on him.

And their marital journey became smoother in respect to the issue that they encountered in their life for some time.

Friends! Remember, truthfulness and honesty are the foundation stones for the trust in a relationship, and trust is the fuel for any relationship to function, flourish and move on.

Are you ready to encounter Truth and Honesty in your relationship and friendship? Does your partner or friend know who exactly you are? Do you wear a mask of lies or something that you want to hide from him or her???

Keep reading and keep thinking about it.

Stay Blessed!

“Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment.”
– THE BIBLE

EQUALITY IN LOVE

What is better than expensive gifts and dream holidays in love? An equal relationship of course!

Love and equality go hand in hand. If all the relationships shed the desire of power, I guess there won’t be bitter relations at all. Balance and equality are needed whether it’s in terms of respect, support or responsibility. Problem occurs when either of the partners is dominating.

Setting up boundaries, expecting too much, dictating what to do and how things have to be done, not consulting each other in important decisions, etc., all result in unhealthy relationships. If one is continuously being held back, the love will only get weaker. When you are in a committed relationship, you need to accept the person as is without changing him/her.

Reena and Jay were madly in love with each other, but their relationship went sour as Jay was too authoritative and dictating. Statements like “You can’t talk to that person” or “You can’t wear that skirt”, chagrinned Reena. Moreover, during any disagreement, it was only Reena who used to apologize. As a result, gradually they broke up.

Accepting one’s mistakes, giving priority to ‘our needs’ rather than focusing on ‘mine’, ensuring that being in love is not a bonded relationship is vital. Hence, there must be equality of couple who are in love.

Perfect Love Cannot Be Without Equality
-Scottish Proverb

HOW LOVE & JUSTICE WALK TOGETHER

One of the most used YET less understood word is LOVE. Probably, that’s the reason each of us has our own definition of love! Whereas it is the power of love that brought us into existence, it is the warmth of that love that made us feel secure when our mom for the first time put her arm upon us and we stopped crying, it is the language of love that we first learned, and it is the love we witness at the death bed of our dear ones. Moreover, it is the legacy of love that is indomitable and immortal. And explaining love the Bible says,

The greatest of all characters is LOVE.

Once two prostitutes came to king Solomon to have an argument settled. One of them said, “this woman and I live in the same house. I gave birth to a baby while she was with me in the house. Three days later this woman also had a baby. We were alone; there were only two of us in the house. But her baby died during the night when she rolled over on it. Then she got up in the night and took my son from beside me while I was asleep. She laid her dead child in my arms and took mine to sleep beside her. And when I tried to nurse my son, he was dead! But when I looked more closely in the morning light, I saw that it wasn’t my son at all”. Then the other woman interrupted, “it certainly was your son, and the living child is mine”. ”No”, the first woman said, “the living child is mine, and the dead one is yours.” And so, they argued back and forth before the king. Then the king said, “Let’s get the facts straight. Both of you claim the living child is yours, and each says that the dead one belongs to the other. All right, bring me a sword.” As the sword was brought to the king, he said, “Cut the living child in two, and give half to one woman and half to the other!” Then the woman who was the real mother of the living child, and who loved him very much, cried out, “Oh no, my lord! Give her the child – please do not kill him!” But the other woman said, “All right, he will be neither yours nor mine; divide him between us. Then the king said, “Do not kill the child, but give him to the woman who wants him to live, for she is his mother!” And justice was established.

LOVE & JUSTICE GOES HAND-IN-HAND. As a child, I always complained if my father loves me how can he punish me? If he loves me, doesn’t he realize the pain of punishment? But as I grew up, I learned “Love is not in the absence of Judgment but in the very presence of it.”

TO ESTABLISH JUSTICE, LOVE HAS TO BE SACRIFICIAL. It is only the love for the child that gave courage to the real mother to give away her child to the other woman instead of dividing the child into two. Love cannot be understood without understanding the value of life.”

TO ESTABLISH JUSTICE, LOVE EXPOSES THE TRUTH. While in prison as the last wish before his execution the son demanded to meet his mother. As his mother comes closer, he whispered to her, I wish if you have scolded me that day when I brought the stolen pencils and chalks from the classroom, I won’t have ended up like this today. The story is so evidential to learn Whoever loves us they never pamper our lie rather they expose it.”

TO ESTABLISH JUSTICE, LOVE HAS TO BE SACRED. For example, involving in sex before and beyond marital boundaries seizes the sacredness of the marriage bed and is an injustice to the spouse. Sacredness is the epitome of justice. Compromising sacredness fails justice. “Sacredness in love is justice to one another.”

LOVE & JUSTICE BRINGS LIFE. From an in-depth study, the child was treated as a mere product until the sword entered the judgment room and the child’s life came to risk. As the sword was about to come out of the scabbard, love took the screen. And it is because of love, truth enfolded and justice was established. That’s why Gandhiji said, “Where there is LOVE, there is life”.