Tested Love

December 9, 2022

Let’s take a look at two well-known expressions:  familiarity breeds contempt and no one is a prophet in his own land.

What's the common denominator between them?

We are all human; we have strengths and weaknesses. When we have a problem, we look for help in somebody we look up to, somebody as close to perfection as possible, so that we can trust their advice. Thus, I think, at least subconsciously, we look for somebody we don't know, because the moment we know them, we know their weaknesses. And knowing their weaknesses leaves us less enticed to listen to them. We look, instead, for somebody who is better than we are. And who is better than we are? Somebody we know less than we know ourselves.

A psychotherapist once told me that a wife who tries to compete with her husband’s lover is at a serious disadvantage. And that the same is true for a man competing with his wife’s lover. Why? Because the cheating spouse doesn’t see their lover every day. They don't see them when they're unshaven or their hair is not done, so they always look much more attractive than the spouse who is seen at the end of a hard day or first thing in the morning. Once you know a person, you see their weaknesses. You see their ugly parts, and now they're not as attractive as somebody that you don't know well.

Another expression on the same score is the lawn is always greener in the neighbor’s yard. Why? Because it is not ours, and we don't know its flaws as we know the flaws in our own lawn.

What is the difference between loving and liking? You like because of. You love in spite of.  Those romantic escapes are not true love. You think you love your lover because you think they are much more perfect than your spouse at home whom you know so well.  Get to know your lover much more closely. You’ll find that you have been imagining untested perfection. Experience some crisis, some problem together and see if the love survives. You truly love when you know the other party’s deficiencies and still love them. Think of your children. 

A tested love is a true one.  Otherwise, it is just a passing infatuation. 

Written by
Dr. Ichak Adizes