The first virtue for good loving is DISCIPLINE. Discipline means doing
something hard because it is right. We are not usually very disciplined
people. We tend to avoid the difficult thing, to take the easy way out. We
often avoid doing what is right because it involves SACRIFICE. Love is
hard. It demands SACRIFICE OF THE SELF, which is the last thing we want to
Love also demands PATIENCE. It is not something that comes easily and
instantly. You have to work at it and let it grow. Loving is a slow,
tedious process that comes with time. We also have to be patient with
ourselves and each other. Willing to wait and let love grow. Love always
grows in patience.
Love must be REASONABLE. It must have an intellectual basis. Many of the
caricatures of love we see around are based on emotion and impetuosity. If
we act without thinking, we distort love. If love is unreasonable, it can
only lead to disaster, and eventually, to disillusionment.
It is also impossible to love without HUMILITY, for the biggest
love is pride. Humility demands acceptance of the truth. Humility is
easy virtue. It makes demands on us, it threatens the ego, it forces us
into excuses or self-justification. But the real lover is a truly humble
FAITH is at the bottom of all happy loving. Faith means that we believe
even if we do not have evidence for the belief. You cannot love another
person if you do not have faith in yourself. The most deadly enemy of love
is lack of trust and faith.
The final virtue that is needed for good loving is COURAGE. In many ways,
it is the most important of them all. We are good people; we need and want
to love. But what gets in the way is our insecurity, our lack of courage.
We are afraid that we cannot do it, or we are afraid of what other people
will say or think. It takes a lot of courage to love.