Does Love Need a Conservation Effort?

The world is at a precarious place- most scientists and experts feel that we are at a pivotal turning point both as a species and as a planet. The actions we take in the next few decades could affect the future in ways we can barely understand. Thankfully, this stark reality has helped to push a movement that is gaining steam- that of conservation.

We work to conserve water, resources, animal species endangered by our galloping footprints. But there is something nearly as fundamental that we rarely think about when we talk about preservation, but something that we can’t live without. So I ask, does love need a conservation effort?

Our answer to this question is a resounding YES and the driving force behind Global Glue Project.  After all,  if we can’t figure out how to maintain close relationships and properly love each other, then what is the point?

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The landscape of relationship is changing and divorce is an easy, viable answer. When things get rough, there is no longer societal pressure to stay together. My own marriage ended in divorce, so I am not one to insist on sticking together at all costs, far from it. But I do believe we have lost something– the ability to work through challenge and stay together. The Merriam Webster definition of conservation is “a careful preservation and protection of something; especially planned management of a natural resource to prevent exploitation, destruction or neglect.” With fifty percent of marriages ending in divorce, the case can be made that love is sometimes neglected and that a way to preserve love is to collectively share stories, lessons, and support, and by simply admitting that relationships ARE hard.

The very fabric of our society is built on our ability to love one another and work through conflict, and much of that learning begins with intimate partnership. All types of relationships are important, and intimate relationships are only one small piece of the puzzle, but my belief is that the tools we learn from intimate partnership impact all of our other relationships. We receive our first lessons on how to relate as children witnessing our parents’ relationships, and these experiences imprint our beliefs about partnership. Then later in life these early lessons return as our own intimate partnerships hold up a mirror for us and reflect and reveal all of our weaknesses, insecurities and vulnerabilities.

Intimate partnership can act as a teacher as we bump into really uncomfortable places, but so many of us don’t know how to work through those moments productively. If we can’t learn to stick it out, and return to our partner over and over again with willingness to forgive and choose love over resentment and our ego’s desire to be right, then we are missing the point. So many of us think that the problem lies in the relationship and that a different relationship is going to ‘fix it,’ perhaps it’s our relating to each other and our ideas of long-term relationships that needs fixing. Perhaps love does need a conservation effort.

 

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