In 1967, John Lennon wrote a song called, ’All You Need is Love.’ He also beat both of his wives, abandoned one of his children, and verbally abused his Jewish manager.
Thirty-five years later, Trent Reznor from Nine Inch Nails wrote a song called ’Love is Not Enough.’ Reznor, despite being famous for his shocking stage performances and his grotesque and disturbing videos, got clean from all drugs and alcohol, married one woman, had two children with her, and then cancelled entire albums and tours so that he could stay home and be a good husband and father.
Many of us idealize love. We see it as some lofty cure-all for all of life’s problems. Our movies, stories and our history all celebrate it as life’s ultimate goal, the ultimate solution for all of our pain and struggle. And because we idealize love, we overestimate it. As a result, our relationships very often pay a price.
When we believe that ’all we need is love’ like Lennon, we’re more likely to ignore other fundamental values such as respect, humility and commitment towards the people we care about. After all, if love solves everything, then why bother with all the other stuff — all the hard stuff?
The problem with idealizing love is that it causes us to develop unrealistic expectations about what love actually is and what it can do for us. These unrealistic expectations then sabotage the very relationships we hold dear in the first place. It’s time to confront three harsh truths about love: