Last May, Mother’s Day was celebrated across the country. Families gathered to pay their respects to the woman who put so much of her time and energy into raising, feeding, and teaching her children. A mother’s life, we reflected, is truly dedicated to her children. A mother’s love for her offspring will always surpass the love of the child for his mother.
But why is this so? And why discuss this on a dating website? (And why, as an additional question, should we only recognize this on one day of the year? But this article won’t go there, at least not today…).
The answer to the above questions illuminates a profound truth about human nature, and about the nature of love. Often, we are told that the more we receive from someone else, the more we will love them. That seems to fly in the face of what we learn from our parents and the love they bestow on their children. Mothers and fathers give to their children since before their birth. Every minute of every day (particularly when in the child’s infancy) is dedicated to giving.
The reason for the love that develops as a result of the giving, is due to the investment the parents made into their children. They have put so much of their lives into the object of their giving and, as a result, the love grows. It is not a merely biological love; it goes much deeper. It must be the following: a parent will almost always love a child more than the child can love their parent because love grows from giving, and only from giving. And, the more selfless the giving, the more powerful the consequent love.
Anyone who has been truly in love can confirm this point. The love you feel for the other is made manifest by an overwhelming desire to give. One almost feels shame and annoyance, a besmirching of this great love, when one receives from their loved one in turn (which is unnecessary, to be sure, since another manifestation of the giving nature of the love is to permit your partner to give). Ideally, we should want only to give; the more you give, the greater the love becomes.
One of the reasons for this must be precisely the reason mentioned above for a parent’s love: the greater the investment of self that goes into the other person, the more you see yourself in that person. The natural human state is to love oneself; by extending this sense of self into the other by giving of yourself to him or her, that love expands outwards.
This can be seen quite clearly through our great affinity for things we have put so much time and effort into, such as our careers, building our homes (or even card-houses when we were children), or our music. The more time, energy, and money we put into a thing, the greater our love for that thing.
All the same, acknowledging this as truth today is unpopular today. In a relationship, we are told not to love as deeply as the other. Why? So we can walk away more easily, so that we will not be the one who leaves the relationship hurt. We must give the least and take the most.
The lesson we must learn from our parents teaches us the exact opposite: we must invest ourselves deeply into our beloved, to give as powerfully as possible, so that our love for them will grow. The paradox here is this: when you make the goal of the relationship the other person’s happiness, you in turn will find the greatest happiness of all. When the goal of the relationship is to be an altruistic giver, your relationship will last forever.