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Love Endures All Things


Mini-Love-Lesson  #252

Note: this is the 15th in our series “What Is Love: a New Testament Reply based on Paul’s description of love and informed by the relational and behavioral sciences”.


Synopsis: The amazing, enduring nature of real love along with its big difference from false love; the many and diverse ways of enduring love; the intriguing things Paul may have meant, with a special emphasis on those who endure; the many attacks on love done differently.


Millions of Endurance Miracles

Side-by-side he was with her and she with him as they got past the disfiguring accident, then through the years of serious surgeries and rehab, the loss of a child, a medical insurance-caused bankruptcy and the rejection that came from both their families when they changed religions.  They endured it all together and a lot more.  Why?  How?  The answer is real love can empower us to miraculously “endure all things”.  Are they happy today?  Yes, immensely!

Did they sometimes think about splitting up and looking for an easier way to go?  Yes, of course, lots of times.  Did they tire of supporting each other and caring for one another when one was down and the other the caretaker?  Yes certainly, especially when things seemed hopeless.  Were they tempted to seek care-free other love.  Yes, in fact when things seemed at their worst both sought and found comfort and support in the arms of others and then they endured recovering from that also.  I am pleased to say I had a little to do with that part.  For me, the best part was when I was invited to attend their 40th wedding anniversary celebration years after the agonies they had endured were over.

Here is the real miracle.  Though it has some unusual features, their story is not as uncommon or as rare as you might at first think.  Thousands upon thousands of examples exist showing people, with love’s empowerment, enduring horrendous difficulties of all kinds.  Back to the very dawn of written history, there are examples of love relationships enduring hardships, catastrophes, losses, crippling diseases and every sort of tragedy.  Time and again, comrades have risked death to save their deeply loved brothers in service, countless parents have toiled for years to give their loved offspring a better life than their own.  Lovers have dashed into harms way to save their heartmates, lifelong friends have stayed side-by-side facing nearly endless trials and tribulations.  On and on go the stories of love empowered enduring all things (see our book Recovering Love).

False Love Endures Little

When she was hospitalized for three days, her lover did not visit although he did call each day.  Everyone else who loved her did visit.  He said it was because his amateur sports team had practice during visiting hours, and besides, hospitals made him nervous.  He later complained that he could not understand why she broke up with him over this and that it was most unreasonable and unfair.  After all, she was in safe hands and well cared for.  Months after the breakup she learned he had spent the second night she was in the hospital with another woman.  She said, “I’m so glad, relieved in fact, that he proved his love was fake before I found out about his cheating on me.  That would’ve hurt but now it’s just validation.  I know I’m worth a lot more than his stupid sports club”.

One of the best differentiating signs of real versus false love has to do with the answer to the 3D question.  “Will someone professing love willingly endure ongoing, discomfort, difficulty and danger for the well-being of the loved? (See “Why You Need To Know More About Real Love” and our book Real Love False Love.)  Remember: real love causes us to want for and, if possible, act for the well-being of the loved (see “The Definition of Love” and “A Dozen Things Love is and A Dozen Things Love is Not”).

False forms of love tend to be about the paramount desires of the self, not about the loved.  They may be well masked and hard to detect but they tend to surface in time.  Good, healthy love of another does not preclude actions of good, healthy self-love.  It just is that love of another is equal or stronger and shows up especially when a loved one faces ongoing discomfort, difficulties and dangers.  Real love often, but not always, can be genuinely happy to be of service and assistance when facing difficulties.  Acts that come from duty, obligation, guilt, etc. – not so much (see Real Love False Love).

There are some forms of false love that seem to show signs of love’s enduring quality.  One of these is the form called Fatal Attraction Syndrome.  Its enduring actions come not from love but from an obsessive and compulsive mental health problem.  In its moderately serious form, it results in annoying, continuous harassment and stalking behavior.  In its most serious form – death by murder and/or suicide can result (see “Fatal Attraction Syndrome”).
       
Paranoid syndromes may also seem to have enduring signs of love in a seemingly protective way.  The protectiveness usually is a mask for possessiveness  and insecurity.  This is birthed  from fear not love.  Addiction syndromes can manifest pseudo-love endurance behaviors so long as the supposed loved one continues to be a facilitator of the addiction.

What Does It Mean to Endure

Love empowers us to keep going in adversity, continue in spite of difficulty, remain, last, tolerate, withstand and, when needed, to suffer patiently.  It also can mean to bravely resist, courageously carry on, stoically live through and with resignation weather the storm.  It is love’s enduring quality that gives,  assists and defends love’s longevity.  Enduring love means not only do we come to the aid of our loved ones but we stay there, not withdrawing or retreating in the face of adversity or adversaries.

Is This What Paul Meant?

At first glance, it can seem like this precept in Paul’s discourse on love is just another way to say love bears all things (see “Love Bears All Things”).  There are, however, some important differences.  I am told those may be easier to understand in the ancient biblical Greek than in English.  Love endures all things in the ancient biblical Greek is “agape panta hupomenei”.  Remember, just like in English, Greek words can have more than one meaning.

Some scholars suspect that in Paul’s day it perhaps was understood that these words emphasized not fleeing or removing oneself from the fray, abandoning the field of conflict, or to stand one’s ground under attack.  The word agape is thought to carry with it the connotation of compassionate love and continuously active love in the needed service of the loved.  Interestingly, some think Paul’s teaching also implies willingly enduring or putting up with awkward circumstances caused by unloving fellow church members, or something like that.  Love endures all things is further thought to especially imply to endure persecution, afflictions and troubles caused by those acting against the Christian movement.

Of the 30 biblical translations reviewed, 17 translated Paul’s words as “love endures all things” which is the most common interpretation.  It is, therefore, the one we use here.

Other interpretations, both in Bibles and suggested for possible future consideration, include “love endures”, “ love is always no matter what”, ”love endures through every circumstance”, “love - she is full of patient endurance”, “love never gives up”, “love always remains strong”, “love always perseveres”, “love never looks back”, “love needs never retreat”, “love will never remove itself from adversity”, “love does not flee from its opposition”, “love makes us stand our ground”, “love prevails over the unloving”, “love will endure the persecution and afflictions of all who move against it”, “love gives us endurance over all troubles”, “love has the power to endure all difficulties” and “love is forever”.  I suggest all of those may be used to broaden our understanding of what Paul’s words may cover.  The all things part is thought to mean, by implication, all things difficult.

Enduring the Attack on Love

A lot of the world has been intolerant and attacking of love when it comes in forms different than that of its attackers. In my career as a family and relational therapist I frequently was called upon to assist individuals, couples ,families, alternate lifestylers and others in their fight against those who did not want them to do love the way they were doing it. In counseling sessions, often in court, once in a while in public forums and in politics I and others like me have battled for loves diversity and against anti-love bigotry, prejudice, intolerance, bias, and ignorance.

One of the most common difficulties concerning tens of thousands of couples, parents, families and others who are challenged to endure is the ongoing intolerance for who, and how, others do their love.  Issues of bi-racial love, bi-sexual love (see “Gender Diversity Love”), gay love, throuple love (see “Throuple Love, A Growing Worldwide Way of the Future?”), elder love (see “Elder Love”), age different love (see “Should Age Make A Difference – In Love” and “Age Differences and Romantic Love”), different religions love, parental love, family love, etc. –  all have their active and often well-meaning but sometimes vicious enemies.

Those who choose a path of love different from the accepted can face family banishment, legal battles over custody of children, public shaming, forced isolation from loved ones and their home communities, efforts to break up their marriages, costly legal entanglements, episodes of hate, rejection and condemnation and even being honor killed –  all because of who and how they do their love relationships – differently.

Enduring family rejection that lasts for years unfortunately is very common in the lives of those who do love out of the norm.  It is so wonderful when this is finally overcome and reconciliation occurs which very often it does with the help of family counseling and/or coaching.  When loving re-connection does not happen, escape to a new environment full of new and more loving people frequently is the best solution.  Given the chance, love will find a way.

One more thing: Do you have friends who like to discuss things religious, spiritual, denominational, theological or ecumenical?  If so, you might want to talk over this mini-love-lesson and this series with them.  If you do, please do mention this site. Thank you!

As always – Go and Grow with Love

Dr. J. Richard Cookerly

Quotable Question:  Is your way of doing religion leading you to the ways of more love?  If not, where is it leading you to?

False Form of Love: Nympholepsia

Synopsis: This mini love lesson starts with a getting to know Nympholepsia; then discusses unrequited love; a typical case; getting the accurate picture; confusions; sex and Nympholepsia; not wanting what’s wanted; ever seeking and never finding; and what’s to be done about this False Form of Love.


Getting to know Nympholepsia

Nympholepsia is one of the most interesting forms of false love.  Sometimes it is like being in love without having to go to the trouble of actually having any relationship at all. It even can be a love-like relationship with someone who doesn’t even exist.  Nevertheless, the emotions involved can be extremely intense, the behaviors involved quite complicated and sometimes the outcome is quite devastating.

Judge Roy Bean, of “The Law West to the Pecos” fame, is thought to have had a pretty bad nympholeptic problem focused on the greatest actress of his time, Lily Langtry.  He went to all sorts of trouble concerning her, including even renaming a town for her, Langtry Texas.  However, he never had any but the most formal personal contact with her.  One of America’s greatest salonnières and the female who was declared the World’s First, Great, New Age Woman, Mabel Dodge Luhan, is said to have had a terrible nympholeptic relationship with John Reid, the amazing young chronicler of both Poncho Villa and the Communist revolution in Russia and who wrote the incredibly influential “Ten Days That Shook the World.”

Unrequited Love

In the age of chivalry, knights who were supposed to chastely and platonically ‘pine for’ unattainable Royal ladies, who were above their own rank and station, may have been being led to suffer from Nympholepsia (also known as nymphlepsy).  The same condition is thought to affect a fair number of the thousands who go into frenzies when adoring the rock star of the moment.  Then there are those who learn of some hero or heroine of a past time and are quite sure they have hopelessly fallen in love with that person who is no longer counted among the living.

Tragically some of those even suicide so as to have a chance to find their love-interest in the hereafter.  Others swear they meet their paramour in their dreams, while others testify strongly to having had wonderful sex with their favorite lover ghosts.  Some even claim to be madly in love with literary characters that never existed in real life.  Most who suffer from this false form of love do so in a more ordinary way, but that doesn’t make their suffering any less intense.

A Typical Case

Chastity was brought to counseling by her husband who said she cannot sleep, won’t eat and is in a frenzy about everything, but can’t tell anyone what is wrong and we are all very worried about her.  Talking to her alone Chastity frantically fidgeted, got up and paced around and showed many other signs of agitation.  After miscellaneous comments she began to blush and whisper that her condition began right after she learned her pastor was moving to another church in a distant city.  Slowly it all came out. She had become enamored of her pastor soon after he arrived at their church some six years ago.

He was a popular, handsome, charismatic figure that many women found intensely attractive. Chastity quickly came to secretly worship him from afar.  At the church she volunteered for everything that would put her in contact with him.  At night she dreamed romantic but never erotic dreams of him and never let anyone know her true feelings.  She gave him and his wife and their children very nice appropriate gifts, did them favors and never strayed over the lines of propriety.  It was enough for her to just serve him and be in his shadow, though her actions slowly became more and more frenetic.

Her husband, and her children, and later even her parents occasionally complained that her church activities seemed a bit too much but that’s all they did.  But now that the pastor was going to be even more completely unattainable than before she was in a frenzy of uncontrollable, rapidly changing, very difficult to handle emotions.  In time with therapy and some medication she did become healthier.

Chastity came to see she actually did not have an adult, real, romantic relationship with her pastor but rather she was fixated on the fantasy of him loving her.  By being valued by him in her fantasies she too became valuable.  In real life he would often thank her, praise her, compliment her, and make laudatory remarks about her to others.  This gave her meaning, purpose and fulfillment for a time.  Later she figured out that all had to do with her childhood and her father who never was very loving, seldom praising and almost never thankful.  She saw that she didn’t want her pastor to respond to her erotically or even very romantically because those actions would be too different from a father to a daughter.

These dynamics are not common to everyone who suffers from Nympholepsia but they were her dynamics.  Today she is well past all that and has actually grown from the experience but she would not want to go through it again.

Getting the Accurate Picture

The two most important words for understanding Nympholepsia are ‘frenzy’ and ‘unattainable.  The condition throws people into a frenzy of emotions, and scrambled thoughts and sometimes peculiar behaviors.  The dynamics often involve seeking or even feeling one has love for and/or from that which is unattainable.

In the worst cases some people ‘go crazy’ trying to attain the unattainable and then fall into the pits of depression or even psychosis.  In the 1800’s the condition was thought to frequently cause convulsions and seizures, along with other somatic symptoms.

The word Nympholepsia comes from the Greek ‘nympholeptos’ which means to have been caught and bewitched, or entranced by a naked, highly erotic, attractive nymph or Sprite who was by definition unattainable to humans.  This, it was thought, drove people into an emotional frenzy causing them to spend their lives in hopeless pursuit of the nymphs and finally to wither and die.

In mythology and Catholic theology the term meant accidentally seeing a naked nymph and being driven into a frenzy of ecstasy, never again to be satisfied by a mere mortal human.  The only salvation from this demonic possession required a full-fledged exorcism.  Today the term refers to going into an emotional frenzy while trying to obtain something or someone unable to be obtained and being destructively effected in the process.

Confusions

Nympholepsia sometimes is confused with pedophilia because it often involves people of rather different ages being attracted to each other or one to another.  It also has been confused with the ‘Lolita complex’ and misidentified as something that mostly men do with younger females.
It, furthermore, has been confused with nymphomania, probably partly because it has the prefix nymph and partly because it has to do with romantic-like relationship situations and dynamics.  It also has been misidentified as something young girls do toward and with older men.

Some of the people thought to suffer from this false form of love have been known to be quite fixated, and obsessive and occasionally even violent in their acting out of their passion.  The ones in this condition who are highly sexed sometimes are confused with having a sex addiction and the nonsexual ones with having a neurotic or, more recently, with having a sexual desire problem.
It’s interesting that some therapists seem to think this condition mostly occurs only in males and others think it mainly shows up in females.  In my experience it’s pretty gender even.  It also seems to occur in homosexuals, bisexuals, older people, younger people, all races, all socio-economic classes and every other category I know, although there are those that disagree with me about that.

Sex and Nympholepsia

With this condition there can be people who have no sexual desire nor even any sex feelings involved in their nympholeptic condition.  With others there is a great deal of sex especially frenzied, passionate sex.  Sometimes the sex is with a surrogate and sometimes with the target of their passions, and if that target is unattainable sublimation may occur.  A common complaint goes something like “he (or she) professes lots of love for me, has great sex with me, but won’t stay with me, marry me and won’t stop going off with others, or won’t stop doing big, long, involved things that have nothing to do with me and don’t including me”.  Another common complaint is that she (or he) is emotionally unavailable while at the same time being very sexually available.

Some nympholeptics have serial sex.  I once counseled a girl who just knew she was truly, and deeply, and incredibly in love with one drummer after another.  She had all-consuming, frenzied emotions with each drummer right up to the morning after a wild, passionate night of sex together.  Then she would have the realization that the drummer would be going on to others and never really be hers at a heart level, and he just would be like the last several drummers and probably like the next one, which essentially was that he would be unavailable for a healthy, real, love relationship.  In her case the background cause was very poor self love and very musical parents.

For some people suffering this condition it all can change if the female becomes pregnant.  At that point they often lose interest in the other person and it’s all over. This leads some of my evolutional psychology friends to suspect the whole condition has something to do with genetic survival mechanisms.

Not Wanting What’s Wanted

Some people suffering from Nympholepsia are quite secretly and safely satisfied if the unattainable person remains unattainable, though they still suffer about it.  By longing for someone they can’t have, they have a relationship without having a relationship. They can tell people that they love someone and often can tell a great deal about their romantic feelings, but when they want to do something as a single they are completely free to do it.  This accounts for some of the people who marry a prisoner serving a life sentence or serving a very long sentence.  They can say they’re married, they can send love-like messages back and forth, they even can visit, and they can have romantic, long-suffering experiences which brings the drama of romance to their life but with very little of the trouble.

This may be a sort of pseudo-Nympholepsia or just another form of it.  Sometimes people in this variation of Nympholepsia panic and run away if their ‘romantic target’ suddenly becomes available or somehow actually comes into their real life.  Others truly pine away and, to a large degree, either dysfunction or excuse their dysfunction with their unrequited love situation.

Ever Seeking Never Finding

A fair number of people repeatedly go after the unattainable lover, and for a long time they just won’t quit.  This wears them out, drains them, distracts them from healthy productive living, causes a lot of agony, depletes their self-confidence, generally wastes a lot of life, and sometimes gets them to turn to various addictions, become depressed and sometimes suicidal.

Some of these people keep going after the same person over and over, and others keep going after ‘versions of the same person’ but either way they never really get what they’re after.  That’s because what they’re after is truly unattainable.  Do they subconsciously know this?  Some therapists think so, others think not.

Interestingly for many with Nympholepsia if they actually do seem to attain the lover they are after, one of two things happens.  They either have finally won the prize and don’t need to go after it anymore, so they basically sort of say “thank you, goodbye” and go on to something healthier.
The other outcome is that what they have attained turns out not to be all that desirable after all.  In both cases the relationship comes to an end.

In its milder forms Nympholepsia is like a ‘crush’ or ‘the idealization’ phase of an IFD False Form of Love pattern, maybe without the F and D stages. (See False Forms of Love: The Devastating IFD Syndrome)   In a stronger form, the frenzy can get quite destructive and the lack of attainment can be very deeply frustrating and depleting.  All forms of Nympholepsia generally are thought to have a tendency to block people from having healthy, real, love relationships develop.

What’s to be done?

Some form of fairly deep psychotherapy usually is what’s needed to cure this affliction if it is severe.  There are those who seem to ‘mature out of it’.  Some who are good at insight and redirecting themselves, figure it out and learn about healthy, real love and go after that instead.  Knowledge about this condition helps people avoid it, especially in its earlier stages.  If a friend or family member seems to be headed toward suffering from Nympholepsia I suggest you encourage them to read this mini love lesson and then direct them toward a therapist known to be able to do deep, psychotherapeutic work.

As always – Go and Grow with Love

Dr. J Richard Cookerly


Love Success Question Are you now or have you ever set yourself up for love failure by desiring the unattainable?  If so, are you likely to do that again?



Illustration: Nymph by Blanche Paymal-Amouroux, French, 1899, public domain, thanks Wikimedia Commons.

Love Hopes All Things

Mini-Love-Lesson  #251


Note: this is the 14th in our series  What Is Love?- A New Testament Reply based on Paul’s descriptions of love and informed by the relational and behavioral sciences.


Synopsis: Love’s Hope and hope itself are quickly, freshly and rather deeply explored here with probes into a new defining of hope; ways to keep hope alive; an introduction to co-hope love relating; listening to your own hopes “all things” insights; cultural conditioning pro and con; and the results of love’s hope.


The Miracle of Love’s Hope

Love gives birth to great hope!  Let’s look into that.  Love’s Hope is of incredible importance.  Every love relationship starts with hope and grows with hope.  The hope of love gives both joy and power to love relating.  Sharing the hope of love bonds and brightens us as we love.  In down times we are lifted by hope and in up times hope helps us soar.  But do we understand the nature of hope?

Is not Hope an enthusiasm for the future, a sort of pre-happiness that future happiness can and will occur?  Does not love’s hope encourage, inspire and empower us to go forward even when there is little or no reason for optimism.?  Is it true that with fear held at bay by love’s hope, love’s hope sustains incredible endurance, achieves victory in the face of overwhelming odds and cheers up the most dreary of our days?

Is the following a truth about hope?  Hope and love have a circular relationship with each other.  Love breeds hope which then in turn feeds love which then in return feeds and breeds more love and more hope.  To grow love, grow hope and to grow hope, grow love.

Research shows Hope to be one of our most powerful psychological forces for surviving and thriving.  Hope has been found to be wonderfully assistive in helping our biological and our psycho-neurological processes be and get healthy.  It also is a major factor in the dynamics of all types of love relationship and love relating well.  Suppose it is for those reasons that hope and especially love’s Hope exists.

What Is Hope Actually?

Hope is an emotion that occurs in higher order species and much like love is a natural, often vital process assisting survival and advancement toward well-being.  We can define hope as an elated, positive suspicion that a desirable, positive something can or will happen.  In addition, Hope creates the elated, positive suspicion that when positive results occur, positive feelings will accompany them.  In effect, hope is a positive emotion about the possibility of future, positive emotions brought on by future, positive occurrences.

Hope is thought to be processed in the limbic system of the brain which activates and involves our good feeling neurochemistry and neuro-physical brain regions.  It also is thought to frequently, quickly activate when the brain’s love processes activate.

Simply put, hope can be seen as a happiness about the chance for more happiness.

Hope From, With and For Love

Giving love contains the hope that the love given will be helpful, nurturing, enjoyable, perhaps bonding and, when needed, healing.  Hope is pretty much vital to joint love action.  Hope gets people to cooperate toward mutual goals, motivates giving, getting and sharing love experiences and works to heal love relating wounds when they occur.  Love’s Hope can come from love, with love and work very much for love’s health and well-being.

When love relationships get mired in difficulties, it is love’s Hope that keeps the people in those relationships trying for repair and recovery.  When things get so bad, for so long, hope can be lost and then the love relationship itself can be lost.  Keeping love’s Hope alive, therefore, is a major concern for all love relationships having troubles.

Keeping Love’s Hope Alive

When couples, or any close or intimate love relationship, are having trouble it helps if the people in the love relationship decide to be lovingly co-supportive as they work on their troubles.  That helps them work as a team against problems instead of against each other.  Whenever couples or others go against each other, their connection with each other loses and hopelessness tends to grow.

When love relating is suffering, hope can help a lot.  It can make more love-hope happen by sincerely making encouraging remarks, mixing in statements of affirmation and appreciation, taking a break to do shared enjoyment, practicing loving listening skills more than talking, and showing loving care for a loved one’s pain no matter where that pain came from or who caused it.  Making a mutual goal of getting past the troubles and back to happy love relating also can help get love’s helpful Hope going (see “Dealing with Love Hurts: A Dozen Love Hurts to Know and Grow From” and “Conflict, Power and Love Success”).

Co-Hope Love

Do you hope for your loved ones to receive what they hope for?  One way to use Paul’s “Love hopes all things” is to include hoping for what your loved ones hope for.  Then show it to them in a sharing way.

Let’s think about this a little.  Do you seek to know and understand what your loved ones hope for?  Do you help your loved ones discover and understand their own hopes?  Do you share your hopes with them?  In sharing hopes, will you do it in a way that is joyful, celebratory and love bonding for you both?  Doing those things is doing co-hope love .

Here is one of the better ways to love someone via co-hoping.  Joyfully agree to co-share your more outlandish, whimsical or intimate and perhaps secret hopes and dreams.  Then do so sweetly and tenderly.  That often accomplishes doing some Self-Disclosure Love and sometimes some Affirmational Love too.  Both are major ways to communicate Love (see “A Behavioral (Operational) Definition of Love” in The Definition of Love Series).

As you do co-hope, it is important to remember not to go negative.  Any hope is best enjoyed together before and without it being realistically analyzed and/or its down sides being discussed.

Worries and fears are sometimes aroused when hearing what loved ones hope for.  When that happens it usually is best to first examine our own feelings before trying to change those of your beloved’s.  What a loved one hopes for can represent and reveal deep, cherished parts of themselves.  I suggest such revealing is to be not only cared about but enjoyed, even if you do not like the subject matter.

Generally for good love relating – celebrate first, critique later and do not mix the two.

The Importance of Listening to Your Own Hopes

Let’s say you notice you are hoping for something.  Where did that hope come from?  Maybe it came from deep inside your own inner wisdom.  Maybe it is a message that is telling you something you need for your own well-being which is coming to you in the form of a hope.  Perhaps it is a message about someone you love and what they need.  Is your subconscious talking to your conscious via your hopes?  It probably is safer to conclude the answer is yes than no.  It can be good to delve into your hopes to see if they are telling you things you would do well to know.  So often hidden in our hopes and wants are our needs.  This has to do with healthy self-love so do not be too quick to dismiss even your wildest and strangest hopes as merely idle and frivolous thoughts.  Remember, we are talking about hopes ALL things.

All Things- Good?

Translating is tough.  Perfectly interpreting one language’s word into another is like all other earthly perfection --impossible.  Some words in other languages carry or suggest different and additional meanings than our own words for the same thing and vice versa.  For instance, let’s look at our words for believing and for hope.  In English, the word believing does not automatically connotate believing good things but our word hope does.  The word hope, by definition, suggests looking forward to something desirable, or in other words, something good from the point of view of the one doing the hoping.

Some people in language studies posit the ancient Greek words for both believing and hope may connotate a good things meaning.  Therefore, making both believing all things and hoping all things more easily logically sensible and not mysteriously open-ended.  Then perhaps Paul’s words can be accepted as meaning all things good i.e. positive, beneficial, constructive, helpful, healthful, virtuous, holy and sacred.  But that is only a maybe.

These semantics are important because they may help us to more fully understand Paul’s teachings about love.  Thus, Hopes All Things connotatively may mean love automatically goes toward the well-being and benefit of the loved and, perhaps, never against them or it.

Consequently, if you get upset at a loved one and start to want, and/or to act toward hurting or harming that person, according to Paul’s teaching, those destructive feelings did not come from real love.  In fact, they may have come from love-destructive-factors inside you.   Remember, it is posited that healthy, real love always works for and not against well-being.

Not everyone believes love is so purely constructive.  When I worked with law enforcement, I found many who thought there was a strong, dark side to love that caused people to do violence and even murder those they supposedly loved.  Some quite openly saw Christian teachings about love to be wrong or at least ill-informed and incomplete.  Then there are those who see love is a sick thing.

I suggest destructive actions come more from the under-loved, miss-loved, the brain and heart wounded, and the psycho-neurologically malfunctioning than from those who have real love.  I also suggest those who would contemplate or do violence operate from non-love, anti-love and the various forms of false love.  They often manifest things like jealousy, hate, possessiveness, fear, frustration, desires to control, etc. and not the manifestations of healthy, real love.  To this concept, there is the possible exception of mercy killing.  What do you think?

What About Love’s Hope and Cultural Conditioning?

Let us not forget that along with family conditioning, many are conditioned by their culture to be either non-loving or anti-loving.  Love’s hope seems to have little conscious or collective significance for them.  In the more love-positive cultures, spousal murder, physical and psychological child abuse are rare.  Stress illnesses are much less severe and less frequent.  Generally speaking, the more love-positive a society is the more physically and psychologically healthful it is.

The people of love-positive societies are those who teach and model frequent use of the major known behaviors that stimulate love processes in the brain, love feelings in the emotions, and love actions in responding behavior patterns.  In such groups and living conditions, those people exhibit much hopefulness about many things small and large, short-term and long-term and they exhibit the evidence of having healthy and happy love relationships of a number of different kinds.  One of those kinds tends to be good self-love.  You can read about all that in Love and Survival by Dean Ornish M.D. and in The Meaning of Love in Human Existence by Ruben Fine PhD, both of which I highly recommend.  For the major behaviors of love, I proudly recommend my book Recovery Love.

For more knowledge about love’s hope and hope itself, I suggest you check out The Power of Hope: Overcoming Your Most Daunting Life Difficulties--No Matter What by Anthony Scioli, PhD and Making Hope Happen by Shane J. Lopez, PhD (which stems from three interrelated, really interesting, meta-analysis projects).

Love’s Hope Gets Results

When love and hope together work their motivating magic love, relating tends to bloom, broken relationships recover, love happiness mounts and love’s endeavors come to fruition.  Not only that but via love’s hope, causes become victorious, breakthroughs are discovered, potentials  get actualized, advances attained, wrongs righted, and even lives saved.  Of course, it doesn’t always happen that way but because of love’s hope it happens more often than it would without love’s hope.  So, with your love, hope for all things (good).

One more concept.  Some good things might happen if you talked all this over with some friendly, positive others.  If you do that, perhaps mention this source and site and, thereby, maybe help to spread some positive knowledge about love.

As always – Go and Grow with Love

Dr. J. Richard Cookerly

Quotable Question: If your hopes bear little action, will your life likely have much actualization?

Smart Kids from Smart Love

Synopsis: This mini love lesson covers love and IQ; the well loved human child; brains and love; love with smarts and success; what is well loved?; and the smart parent challenge.


Love and IQ

Take any two babies of any mammal species (like rats, rabbits, monkeys, apes and humans) and the one most well-loved will likely be the smarter of the two.

For baby rodents the lovingly licked and groomed will learn the psychologist’s maze faster and remember it longer than the one raised by less loving rodent parents.  The cuddled, caressed, petted, kindly fed and comforted when upset larger mammals produce the same kind of results, indicating the better-loved ones are smarter than the lesser-loved ones.

The same is true for every kind of primate where the well-loved appear smarter, handle stress better, are better at social interaction, are more curious, are less susceptible to disease and live longer.  In laboratory tests the well-loved primates figure out puzzles faster, find hidden food sooner, obtain higher social rank and, oh yes, mate more often and make better parents to their own young later.

The Well-Loved Human Child

A human child who receives lots of well demonstrated, loving touch in the form of hugs, cuddles, kisses, pats and strokes and  verbal love especially in the form of affirmation including challenge and encouragement will score higher on IQ tests than children with lesser amounts of loving input.  In research with at least some identical twins, raised separately, the twin who receives well-demonstrated love most likely will have a higher IQ than the one who receives less well-demonstrated love.

Children raised in poverty who receive more love actions in the first years of life are much more likely to go on to graduate from high school and much less likely to become felons than are children raised in poverty who receive less well-demonstrated love actions.  Well-loved children also handle stress better and suffer much less from stress-related illnesses.  This is especially true if in their environment there is loving attention given which helps these children feel securely loved.

Brains and Love

When scientists studying the brains of the well-loved versus the less-loved they have found distinct differences when they studied siblings, identical twins or just matched offspring.  Brain scans and autopsies both show the brains of the better-loved are better built.  Their neurological architecture is more complete, mature and functions more effectively.  Well-loved infants of all mammal species studied tend to keep their neurochemistry better balanced and, thus, tend not to suffer from the disorders of neurochemical imbalances nearly as much as the less well-loved.

Love with Smarts and Success

The well-loved, human child grows up making better grades, attaining higher social status, actualizing talents more, and in just about every category succeeding more than the less well-loved child.  There certainly are exceptions as in the less well-loved child who becomes better loved as an adult.  The well-loved also have higher than average successes.  There also is evidence to suggest that the high IQ children who were not so well-loved are more likely to experience more erratic success patterns.  Especially do the well-loved do well in love relationships more than the less well-loved.  Smarter individuals who focus on learning the skills of love are thought to do much better at love relationships than smarter individuals who do not focus on learning the skills of loving well.

What is Well-Loved?

Being well-loved means receiving ample, skillful demonstrations of the eight groups of behavior, social scientists have discovered, convey love.  It also means that when one is the recipient of these love-conveying behaviors, healthful brain chemistry reactions are triggered which in turn brings about physically and psychologically healthful results.

Briefly stated, these groups of loving behaviors can be titled: Tactile Love, Expressional Love, Verbal Love, Gifting Love, Affirmation Love, Self-Disclosure Love, Toleration Love, and Receptional Love.  (Find more details about these loving behaviors in “Behaviors That Give Love – The Basic Core Four”, “A Behavioral (Operational) Definition of Love”, “Parenting Series: How To Love Your Child Better”.  Also important are the mega-psycho-emotional categories of love actions which can be called Connection Love, Nurturing Love, Protective Love and Metaphysical Love. To learn more about all these I suggest you study the definitions, delineations and descriptions of love and love behavior entries at this site; you might start with “A Functional Definition of Love”.

To learn more about helping your child be smarter and come to have a more successful, adult life you might read the following books: How Children Succeed by Dr. Paul Tough; to learn a lot more about helping young children have healthy brains and, therefore, better lives you might read Why Love Matters by Dr. Sue Gerhardt; to get a fuller understanding of the eight major ways of directly and effectively showing love you might read Recovering Love (in Part Two) by me, yours truly.

The Smart Parent Challenge

Let me suggest you contemplate this. Smart loving parents study smart loving parenting.  They look up research, they read, they take courses and classes, go to workshops and they learn every way they can.  A lot is known and more is being discovered all the time, but too many parents don’t avail themselves of the knowledge. Those who do – do better and so do their children.

As always – Go and Grow with Love

Dr. J. Richard Cookerly


Love Success Question
Are you helping your brain health by being a good receiver of the love that is demonstrated to you, and are you being a good giver of love helping those you love have better brain health?


Love Believes All Things

Mini-Love-Lesson  #250


Note: This is the 13th in our series What Is Love, a New Testament Reply based on Paul’s description of love and informed by the relational and behavioral sciences. 


Synopsis: An examination of believing in believing; looking at how different believing was in different times and places; questions about Paul’s way of thinking; introducing Heart, Gut and Head approaches to believing; and searching into “good” and “bad” for you believing are all pondered here.


Believing in Believing

Let’s think a bit seriously about believing and belief.  Lots of people do not think about this, you know.  Oh, they may think about what they believe but not so much about believing itself.  Psychologically believing has many uses, benefits, drawbacks, confusing factors, dynamics, psycho neurological effects on our bodies’ health and a whole lot more.  We will not be dealing with any of those here but you could if you wish.  We, however, will be dealing with some other beguiling belief factors concerning love and life (see “Thinking Love to Improve Love”).

Did you know, that in current popular usage, belief has become a mild and what some call a cheapened word.  Its impact does not nearly carry the weight it once did.  Nowadays, belief and believing are words rather glibly tossed around with little thought or concern, and even less emotional impact, but it was not always so.

In a number of historical times and places, what you said you believed could be of immense significance.  It even could determine whether you lived or died.  Announcing your beliefs carried considerable gravitas and could have profound influence on how people related to you.  Beliefs were weighty and serious matters which people did not speak of easily or lightly like they often do today.  Instead, thoughtful people tended to speak of their notions, speculations, conjectures, contemplations, sentiments, etc.  When they did speak of what they believed, it tended to have a connotation of passionately held, life affecting conviction.  In short, at those times and places in history people deeply believed in deeply believing.

The above has been said to set the stage for comprehending what Paul may have meant when he, in Greek, put forth “ panta pisteuei” as one of love’s major characteristics.  This most commonly is translated as “love believes all things”.

Can You Believe All Things?

Many modern, thinking people read that love believes all things and wonder what in the world could that actually mean.  Is it a prescription for being gullible, naïve, innocent, easily manipulated, unrealistic or what?  Could it be a sort of fill-in-the-blank test question?  Was it understood or meant to imply all things good, spiritual, holy, etc.?  Is it a projective technique meant to elicit your own personal understanding?  As it reads, it just is not cognitively clear.

Intellectually, to actually mentally believe in all things means to believe in things that are obviously not true, contradictory, toxic, dangerous, destructive and disastrous, not to mention perverse and evil.  Well, that is true if what you mean by belief is our modern world’s cognitive functional concept of belief.  For a great host of people a belief can be anything accepted or judged as more likely to be so than not or, for many others it can be anything desired to be so or not.  For some, believing in something requires data, proof, reason, evidence, or at least authoritative consensus.  But all that refers to conscious, intellectual belief.  It is my suspicion this is not the kind of belief Paul was talking about.  So, let us look at some additional ways to see belief and believing.

Heart, Gut and Mind Believing

It is thought that originally believing meant to hold something dear, something like a thing to be passionate about, cherished and precious.  It was dear to your heart.  That leads me to introduce you to three forms of believing here called the heart, gut and head approaches to believing.

Belief of the Heart If we hold something or someone to be dear in our heart, we can be said to believe in it or to believe in that someone.  To believe in them, or it, implies a conviction that, they are, or it is, perceived to be of positive value and possesses essential quality and significance.  It is heart judged and believed to be intrinsically worthwhile.  Whoever or whatever you believe in, heart wise, means you are genuinely for them or it, respect their or its existence and are more likely to support and strongly act in favor of them or it.  You might even fight for, defend, promote and honor or them or it because, in your heart, you profoundly believe in them or it.  That is the meaning of heart belief!

Belief of the Gut  If we believe something at the gut level, we do so because it is our hunch, instinct, intuition, subconscious reaction, unconscious proclivity, etc..  All of which probably is influenced by our upbringing, emotional history, cultural conditioning, habits and tendencies, current mood and bio-neuro-chemical state at the time (see “Limbic Love & Why You Will Do Well to Know about It”).
Depending on how competent your non-conscious processes perform, this gut belief approach can work for you extremely well, or extremely poorly or somewhere in between.

Belief of the Mind  Mind belief nowadays may be seen as requiring logical reasons, general consensus, expert opinion or perhaps empirical proof, support from a preponderance of objective evidence, replicated research, valid and reliable studies showing high statistical significance and having a lack of significant counter indicating data (see “The Three 3's of Love”). Mind Belief, in that case, is a thing of conscious cognition backed by tangible evidence.  Or at least something coming from a tolerably well-informed, cleverly thought out and well-prepared presentation.

In the past, belief from the mind largely seems to have been influenced by the wisdom masters of old, sundry schools of philosophy and theology, social movements and political ideologies, subtle slow evolution and sometimes sudden breakthroughs of discovery, existential crises or traumatic upheavals and revolutions.  All of those still have impact and influence today but more and more, these days, the guiding light for believing comes from science and technology.

How Did Paul Think?

We cannot know for sure.  From a psychological vantage point, it seems probable that when Paul spoke of “believing all things” he was most likely thinking from a framework of heart-type belief or a combination of heart and gut belief much more than from a head-type belief approach.  Evidence suggests he was intelligent and rather well educated.  However, the cultural ethos he lived and taught in was substantially different from the one we live in.  It is likely that the concept believe had a much more emotionally passionate connotation then than it commonly does today.  Also, Paul lacked the influences of the evidence-based exactitude and empiricism of our day because those had not been invented yet (see “Contemplating Love”).

From my point of view, much of the New Testament presents its truths in a more novel-like form than that of an accountant.  Its expression is more Impressionist like than Realist.  It teaches much in the metaphorical parables manner rather than in factual delineations.  Its great lessons are often global and seldom picayune.  It  reaches more deeply into the heart and gut of matters than into the conscious, rational mind.  I think that is also true of Paul’s way of conveying knowledge about love.

What about the “All Things” Part?

The languages of the New Testament are not understood to be technical languages.  It is said that Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek are all much more like passionate, loose and free Italian than precise, structured and technical German.  Using an Italian mindset, “believes all things” can be seen as an impassioned abstract pronouncement of metaphysical and inspiring grandness.  Using concrete factual German, “believes all things” might be seen as the thinking of a none-too-bright child or the illogical mutterings of a madman.

All things from a heart belief perspective (i.e. Italian like) can be seen as a way to refer to the great, the grand, the miraculous and the mystical.  Of course, that is only one of many possibilities.

Various translations of Paul’s tenants on love may shed light on the “all things” question.  Other translations and interpretations of this, Paul’s 13th precept on love, include “love trusts God always”, “love’s faith never fails”, “love never stops believing”, “love trusts in all things” (spiritual, holy?), “love never loses faith” and love (she, in the feminine) is full of trust”.  Of the 30+ translations reviewed, 18 indicated “love believes all things” to be the most used and agreed-upon interpretation.

Is Believing a Good Thing for You and Yours? 

One way of looking at it suggests believing can be a lot like gambling.  Especially is that so for believing in things which cannot be proved.  In science, one learns you can not prove tomorrow.  You only can acquire evidence of its likelihood.  Nevertheless, every day we act like we believe with certainty (i.e. gamble) that tomorrow will come, and it probably will, but intellectually that is not at all certain.

Belief comes in many formations and amounts. Some people believe (i.e. gamble) on things that turn out to be false and they become severely hurt and/or harmed in the process.  Bad divorces are examples of that.  Lots of people are sustained, strengthened and assisted through difficulties by their belief systems.  Other people believe in as few things as possible seeing life as unpredictable and irregularly dangerous.  Still others are true believers about all sorts of things that seem strange, peculiar, unproven and unlikely to others.  Then there are those that do not believe in believing.  They prefer to be skeptical, dubious and questioning while relying on their suspecting, hoping and speculating processes.  They often see going all the way to believing to be a set up for disappointment, self-deception and for creating blind spots of vulnerability.

Beliefs can empower hope and ongoing endeavor.  It is true many people have been severely harmed when who, or what, they believed failed them.  So for you and yours, will it be better to not believe but instead suspect, hypothesize, doubt, re-check, cross check, double check and question most things?  Or is it and will it be best for you to have strong, passionate, deep beliefs about many things for which you can not find proof but for which you can have heart and gut belief in?  Or will it be a dynamic confluence of both, ever tumbling and twining in your head, heart and gut? (see “Quality Love, Quality Life?”).

One more little thing: how about telling somebody about your thoughts concerning this mini-love-lesson and, while you’re at it, please mention this site and thereby help spread love relating knowledge.

As always – Go and Grow in Love

Dr. J. Richard Cookerly

Quotable Question: About love, are you more of a true believer, a doubter, or a “hopey” and, most of all, are you a love activist?