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9 Responses

  1. ron says:

    Stendal developed the concept of crystallization and used it in his novels. Stated simply this is a process of imputing to one you think you are in love with the ideals and values that are rooted in your own idea of the “perfect” other. Those ideals and values are often rooted in the mystical notions and fairy tales of childhood and then extended in adolescent day dreams about “living happily ever after.” The danger is three fold. First, they can blind you to issues that would normally terminate a relationship. Two, and perhaps most regrettable, they can blind you to the real character and quality of the other and close off opportunities for those qualities to become normative for you and the other as well. That means failing to understand the character of the image of God in the other (my words) or the essence of who they really are. That in turns means failing to apprehend the single most important asset that a couple has in one another. Third, as Stendhal says, crystallization works in reverse when a relationship ends with less than good terms. It results then in forming an idea of the other that places emphasis on everything negative and the polar opposite of those images of “happily ever after.” Doing that can result in transferring those negative ideas to “every man” or “every woman” destroying part of all of one’s own ability to relate to the other in a wholesome manner from that point on. If expectations are focused on one’s own interest rather than the task of working with the other in developing a unique “love language” that can only be shared by them as a unique couple then what can be expected is less than what is desired and certainly less than love’s real potential.

    • Jill says:

      In 1822, French writer Marie-Henri Beyle, better-known by his pseudonym Stendhal, penned On Love (public library) — a timeless treatise attempting to rationally analyze the highest human emotion, rediscovered through a passing mention in the diaries of Susan Sontag (who famously and perhaps ironically wrote, “Nothing is mysterious, no human relation. Except love.”) http://Www.brainpickings.org

      Thanks, Ron, you always add something to think about!

  2. Mom says:

    You continue to astound me! Write on!

  3. ron says:

    part of the crystallization process for those of us in churches is the assumption that if he or she is a Christian then it is okay. The divorce rate among Christians and especially conservative Christians suggests a real problem here. Being unequally yoked is about more than just saved and not saved. It is also about the character of His creative purpose for each individual and whether there is resonance with His creative purpose for both together. It is my consideration that we have failed in ever moving effectively from a time when marriages were arranged to our contemporary context. I see an essential absence in effective teaching that is perhaps 200 years behind times. Love is a choice but how it functions is related to its specific historical context. A movie that illustrates some of the tensions in this idea is Fiddler on the Roof where the lead asks his wife a simple question based on what the young people are saying, “Do you love me?” The question and the answer meant they understood something they had not quite seen before.

    • Jill says:

      I don’t have a single rational thought on marriage at this point, I’ll have to watch that movie/play again.

  4. Mercedes says:

    I’m standing in your fan line, it’s the correct one, because your dear Mom is holding up a sign, on a stick, and it reads, “She got it from me”! #jillforpresident ❤️

    Very subject of expectation, came up earlier today. Eureka! […There are no guarantees…but…how will I walk this road?]

    Ballet, to dance or not to dance? A different road, yet for one of my daughters, it’s her choice, but once she decided, to walk the road with ballet, as a “love”, that choice, in and of itself, brings expectations with it, on her. Same as choosing to love another, think if we put the expectations on the participant, instead of the object of the affection, we would see more grace, more understanding, more looking at the perspective of the other person. Maybe, as Ron mentioned, more comprehension, patience, etc., and marriages staying intact.

    Taking the time to give this more thought, I would probably, as a Believer, look to the scriptures, ask firstly, “What is expected of me?” If I park myself there, for a while, it might all circle back to what Jill wrote, […you can like them for who they are] [soul underneath…]. If we are expected to love one another, as He loved us, could this looking into the eyes to get to the soul bring us to like? Sounds backwards, yet maybe, love is divine, let it in, let in park and stay, so that like, which is human can and blossom in and around the soul.

  5. I like how you write, “A little bit like looking beyond the curtain of actions to the soul underneath.” I can’t help but believe this is the way Jesus loves and how He wants us to love. Thank you for your insights!