Childish Love or Grown-Up Love?

Gerry was suicidal. His girlfriend who has been abusing him left him. He said she’s the love of his life.

Last night, he gave me an emergency call and... sobbed profusely over her loss of love. 

In this life, sometimes love fails us. Sometimes we want and we don’t get.

But here’s reality: you cannot love unless you know what love really is.

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To examine our “love experience,” psychoanalyst Dr. Erich Fromm, in his little book “The Art of Loving,” distinguishes between “childish love” and “grown-up love.”

Fromm suggests a spectrum on which we all can locate ourselves in the experience of love.

He writes:

“Infantile love follows the principle ‘I love because I am loved.’  Mature love follows the principle ‘I am loved because I love.’  Immature love says, ‘I love you because I need you.’  Mature love says, ‘I need you because I love you.’ “

Love patterns of early childhood are often repeated in adulthood. 

When they’re unresolved dysfunctional or toxic patterns, they produce “childish love” and not mature or “grown-up love.”

And for a lot of people, like Liv Uhlmann, they’re bound to say “Hey, there I go again.”

Scriptures pictures what mature or “grown-up love” is. 

It says, 

“Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, endures all things.”  (1 Corinthians 13: 4-7)

How do you love? 

Childish or grown-up?

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