Love was Never Meant for Two – Ulysses Cabayao, SJ


John 3:16-18, Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

For two

Love was never meant for two —

Even though lovebirds often talk about a “you” and a “me”. Even though couples understand that they can mutually expect that they will always be there for each other when it matters.

Even though she feels special when the he asks her, “how was your day?”; likewise, though he hates to admit it, he relishes it when she asks him, “are you ok?”.

Should lovers happen to talk about other things and other people, their interest is sustained to the extent that others concern them, and how others affect them, and why others make them feel like this or behave like that. Because what matters to lovers is just the two of them.

As they would say: just us — you and me against all odds. We could almost hear ourselves in them: “You and me—this is our life, this is our world, this our love. This is the story of us. This is ours.”

Ours, us — they’re pronouns that demarcate our love, drawing a protective circle around us and what is ours.

Even though, at times, the ample spaces we were once dwelling in will feel stuffy and constricting.

Even though, sometimes, claiming somebody as mine will suffocate that person, and that same person bragging to others that you are hers or his can sound annoying. At some point, the initial excitement brought about by the possessiveness of our pronouns will fall flat and stale.

Because, you know, love was never meant for two.

You will end up not being enough for someone; someone will end up not being enough for you. Though both of you once shared how you complemented and completed each other, you will come up wanting, lacking, and inadequate. You will run out of what you can give to each other. You will be scraping the bottom of your barrels. You will end up tired and fed up with each other. You will blame him or you will blame her; and you will squabble over “what’s yours” and “what’s mine.”

The line that defines you as individuals, that line that you once believed you could blur with your brand of loving will gradually rear its ugly head; what it divides will eventually dawn on you. It will force you to confront the reality that, after all this time, you are still who you are, and this other person is still who he or she is. You will end up stunned in disbelief over that which you thought was “ours” —what you have once chosen to share with each other will now be selfishly fought over by a differing and different you and me.

Because you know why? Love was never meant for two.

It ought to overflow into another. A third one borne out of two. It is the anxiety of expectant couples. It will surprise them because what they had thought would separate the two of them will end up reminding them about why they got together in the first place. The third one will enlighten the two on how the union of previously solitary lives could intersect to bring and provide life for another. The third one will evoke in the two the reason why the two, contained in those words—us and ours—will never be enough.

Because, as I’ve been telling you, love was never meant for two.

The exclusive vows that people make to each other were really meant to be inclusive and all-embracing. They were not intended to chain a person to another. They were meant to set us free—to love whatever comes out of and through this love.

The thought of loving someone and of being loved by someone ought to make both lovers courageous, generous, and magnanimous enough to include others, to be with others, to share with them their laughter and tears, their joys and fears, their hopes and frustrations.

Love is effusive. Fragile vessels as we are, our cups runneth over. It is in love’s nature to resist what confines and restricts it. It spills over. It cannot be contained; it cannot be bound, not even by solemn promises or formal contracts between two people. It radiates and seeks to encompass everything.

This is why this human love was never meant for two.

Inscribed in our hearts is the Trinitarian impulse. That to love God is to love your fellow human being. That to love another fellow human being is to love God. Love seeks and begets more loving: your child, your family, your friends, your community, our world. It is in being the most loving couple that we become the most loving people as well.

Our love is meant to be fruitful, whose fruits are to be shared with and enjoyed by others. The delight of others at our fecundity feeds into and reinvigorates our love. It will bring the two of us closer as one. When we are as close as can be, then we can be as open as we can.

Our love was never meant for two.

Love is poor at math—where two can be equal to one, and bringing one and one together can result in three. It observes a strange logic. Almost as strange as “what is mine is yours, and what is yours is mine”. And even stranger when we consider that what is ours is not really ours alone. The mystery of the Trinity mirrors this absurd logic of loving. I can’t explain it enough for now. But of this, I’m certain, the Trinity was never meant for two. God was never really meant for two…because there is me and you.

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