Courage comes from the French word, "Coeur" meaning "heart."
So what does courage have to do with the heart, or in fact, with love?
To fully love another person takes great courage. When we love another, it must be given without the need or expectation for reciprocation. Otherwise, it's not love - it's a barter situation; a joint venture partnership at best.
It's true that people usually reciprocate love. Healthy individuals deeply appreciate love, affection, appreciation, and respect. But sometimes in close relationships, resentments can build. Apathy, anger, and other negative emotions override a person's desire to love their spouse or partner. That's precisely when we really need to express courageous love, not only for that other person, but also for our own self. Love courageously, and even the most apathetic relationship can be revived.
We can only truly love another person when we are loving with ourselves. The love that we seek can never be found elsewhere, but within ourselves. In the last newsletter, I mentioned an "ism" - that immature love is when a person says, "I love you because I need you." And mature love says, "I need you because I love you."
You've also heard another "ism" - "Feel the fear and do it anyway." When you are afraid, the fear can become overwhelming. Yet, we can call on your courage to go through the experience, anyway. And you most likely succeeded. And even if you did not, you still felt a sense of accomplishment - you tried your best.
In this modern world of instant communication, disposable cutlery, overnight service, etc. people have become accustomed to instant gratification. But just because we can flip a light switch on, doesn't mean we're wiser the King Solomon. Technology and science may have taken us to new frontiers. But as human beings, we remain social creatures. We need connection, loyalty, a sense of belonging.
Relationships take time, commitment, loyalty, and love. It takes great courage to go through the different phases of marriage, the struggles from within and outside the relationship. Courage keeps us steadfast in our commitment and loyalty to our spouse. Courage helps us love our spouse, partner, family, and friends fearlessly. At times we may be afraid. At times, we fear rejection. At times we feel hopeless and helpless. But if we do not love courageously, we take away from our own experience and our own humanity.