Post # 1
so i’m doing some research for a paper i have to write, and i stumbled across an insteresting quote by Henri Nouwen that is basically trying to decide whether true love is possible in todays world.
i just wanted to know your thoughts on the quote, because it kind of jumped out at me… here it is!
“All this leaves us with the suspicion that the reality which we call ‘love’ is nothing other than a blanket to cover the real fact that a man and a woman conquer each other in a long, subtle skirmish of taking movements in which one is always the winner who manipulates the other in the patterns of his or her life.” – The Challenge to Love
so is he basically saying that what we call love is just manipulation over the opposite sex? do you think there are any hints of that? or is love truely accepting the other person..
Post # 3
I think love is an emotion and isn’t and cannot be a blanket/cover.
However, I do think relationships require compromise, not manipulation. Manipulation would lead to resentment and resentment leads to a relationships downfall. Compromise is essential for a successful relationship.
Post # 4
It actually seems to be that he’s just a cynic. I don’t adhere to the fairtale version of love, but I also don’t believe “love” is just being able to mold or manage the lives of my spouse so he fits into my live the way I want him to, which is what he seems to believe love to be.
Post # 5
Oh wow interesting topic! I can definitely see it both ways and totally agree with Mrs Martin. I think on the other side that people do use love as a way to manipulate people in order to get what they want. I have had guy and girl friends that know the other person loves them but instead of owning up that they dont feel like that they use them for personal gain. Definitely not right and definitely not a relationship. However some people are truly mean to the core and will play on someone elses emotions for selfish reasons.
Post # 6
I don’t know that *he* even buys it: he’s saying that “[we]” are left with a “suspicion” of a different reality. That’s pretty weak wording.
His view sounds very Mr. and Mrs. Smith.
I don’t buy it. I know how I love my kids, and that’s certainly not a “long, subtle skirmish.” And there are many similarities between that love and what many would call “true love.”
My understanding of Nouwen is that his personal life/love was filled with struggle, so I can see how he might feel that way about love. But I disagree.
Post # 7
Oh i think that’s kinda funny. He’s a cynic, but ya know, I guess it could make sense. You CAN use love to get your way with lots of things.
There are lots of whipped people out there in the world.
And because I love Darling Husband, if he asked me to do something, yes, I would. And yes, if he was an evil dude, he could manipulate me that way.
I don’t think ALL love is liek that and if you are manipulating someone, that isn’t realy love
Post # 8
I believe love is a choice. It is a call to action & a dedication to compromise. It’s not a warm fuzzy feeling or a Disney cartoon. It’s not a contest or a conquest.
He is obviously jaded to some degree and clearly doesn’t have a firm grasp on actual love, but I can sort of see his angle on manipulation within a relationship. Manipulation is one of those words that people hear & the mind automatically goes to the worst possible scenario, but in all actuality, most of us manipulate in teeny tiny ways everyday. Before anyone throws tomatoes at me, hear me out 😛
For instance: If it’s REALLY cold outside, and the dog needs to be taken out, or the ice needs to be scraped or (insert random scenario here) and we are perfectly capable of doing it, but we don’t want to because it’s freaking FREEZING, we MIGHT on occasion bat our eyes at our SO, or make some kind of a statement that could possibly make them feel 1) guilty 2) obligated to do it simply because we clearly do not want to.
It works both ways, guys might say or do the same type of stuff to us, and honestly even if you love someone, it does tend to happen sometimes.
Post # 9
I agree with aliciareneephotography that it doesn’t even seem like the author believes what he is saying. And while I see his point, I think it’s a pretty narrow view on love, and he isn’t tackling all types of love. He is specifically going after romantic love, but it seems that he has an almost abuser’s opinion of that type of love. I def don’t agree with his view, but I do think it’s an interesting quote to dissect.
Post # 10
I can see a lot of relationships that fit his definition, but would that be “love”? It’s when you’re not truly battling, you’re comprising (hopefully somewhat evenly) that you have “love”.
Thanks for bringing up the quote! It makes me wonder what the definition of true love is today. In the past it might have been “doing something for the other person” or “the woman supporting the man” etc…
Post # 11
Wow! Quite the inference.
Love has nothing to do with manipulation. Love is an emotion which is controlled by external and internal stimulii. Loving someone is not competing against them.
However, relationships have power struggles. And that could be summed up above. I think we can agree that love doesn’t make a relationship – and a relationship does not equal love! Relationships are far too complex and encompass too many variables to be successful or a failure. It’s really a hodgepodge of experience, ego requirements, and expectations.
Post # 12
Sounds like he’s bitter, someone screwed him over, and/or he didn’t get his way all the time.
Post # 13
I totally agree with this quote! I love to manipulate my bf, but in a good way. There are manipulations that dehumanize a person and there are manipulations that are for a good cause. I’m sure some of you ladies have used sex/sexual favors to get the guy to clean up, take out the trash ect. lol That’s just my opinion.
Post # 14
i want to know what the “all this” is that he is talking about. Because Nouwen is a great writer and fully believes in God’s love and specifically, being “Beloved” by God. So as cynical as this snippet is, I think that Nouwen may be looking at the imperfect love humans have for one another and as pure as we can love our children, we all know that strings are attached.
I looked up the book that you got this from and I was wondering if this was just a quote from him placed in the book or if he himself wrote an essay? If he wrote an essay, I would be really interested in reading the whole thing!
Post # 15
the part i read is actually a chapter in a book – “Pastoral and Psychological Essays”, in the chapter on Intimacy. It’s actually one of the best reads I’ve ever done in school, and I was so curious as to do a little research on Nouwen himself.
you’re all kinda hinting at something. from what i’ve read he was a catholic priest who was actually a hiding homosexual who was increasingly lonely. he never came to grips with his homosexuality until later in his life, and all records show that he remained celibate up until the day that he died.
now as i read on the chapter does actually take a different turn. he does go away from the quote, and bringing in a spiritual aspect starts to say that true love is being completely open with eachother, vulnerable, and giving up that “if they knew the real me, they wouldn’t love me” mindframe. he, being a catholic priest, obviously relates it back to the love of God.
still – as i stopped and thought about that quote there were a number of thoughts floating in my head, which, thus, is why i opened it up for discussion!
Post # 16
thanks for sharing! i was involved in a whole bible study based on nouwen’s “life of the beloved” and it was pretty interesting to read about his personal life as well! i was looking to find something in his works to read at our wedding ceremony because he is one of the authors that has stuck with me for some time. i highly recommend reading any of his books!