It's no wonder that overcoming loneliness is on our minds today: the desire to love and be loved, to be valued for who you are as a person is a fundamental aspect that makes us human. As human beings we seek a companion for love, support and help. Yet, most marriages and relationships today end in divorce and separation.
According to a study from the CDC, marriages had a dismal 52% probability of success from 2006 - 2010.In a recent survey by Cigna concerning loneliness in our culture, around half of all Americans admitted being lonely most of the time. Two in five Americans stated that they always feel isolated from others and one in four Americans said that they don't believe that there is someone out there who can understand them.
Most Americans in this survey on loneliness considered their friends and relationships to be too superficial. This prevalence of isolation, loneliness, and failed relationships reflects a sad state of affairs, where men and women, who by nature desire love and companionship become disillusioned when what they long for seems unattainable.
The Nature of Love
Love must be given unconditionally, an almost impossible tasks for human beings. When we love someone, we expect a certain response (time, attention and affection) and it is a hardship when we don’t get it. But perfect love requires us to shed these expectations.
This kind of love is transcendental, and therefore must come from a transcendental being who gave us this desire - which we call God. (For a more in-depth discussion check out this article.) Our longing for love and companionship can only be perfectly fulfilled when we encounter the living God and ask Him to ease the challenges of our human existence - loneliness, isolation and failed relationships. With the sincere effort to ask God about the nature of our existence, we discover that He is a real person who can engage with us.
Love fosters a dynamic relationship between God and the human person, built on a strong foundation of God’s being and our natural inclination toward Him. This relationship is essential to discover the answers of life and to quench our thirst for meaningful relationships.
The desire for love and companionship can only come about when we attain the knowledge, virtues and graces to understand the entire dynamic of human existence and the depth of our own humanity. The vocation of marriage, requires the person to understand himself first. Through God we come to know the fullness of our existence.
Love is a free, immaterial gift that comes from God and is fulfilled by engaging with God. We as human beings discover that we are much more than just flesh and bones; and more importantly, that the desires that we long for can be fulfilled for they were given to us by God.
For more information, check out Fr. Spitzer’s series, “Happiness, Suffering, and the Love of God.”