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Sunday, February 11, 2007


Sunday Post ~ "The hardest of all is learning to be a well of affection, and not a fountain; to show them we love them not when we feel like it, but when they do." -- Nan Fairbrother

A Sermonette for Valentine's Day

I found the quote here, and it made me think of all sorts of things about how we love, and how badly we love sometimes. I saw a cartoon with a man yelling out the door to his departing love, as she carried her suitcases to the car. He was saying, "You'll never find anyone who loves you more than I do!" And her response was, "I don't want someone who loves me MORE! I want someone who loves me BETTER!" Most of us, until we learn differently, try to give love in the way that we would want to receive it. If we would like lots of physical affection, that's what we try to give. If we want someone to send us cards and gifts, we do that to our beloved, both to show our love and to show them how it's done. If we want our loved one to love us by doing practical things for us, we do things for them; and we might keep score and pout if they don't respond in kind. It should all make sense; we're just following the Golden Rule, doing unto others as we would have them do unto us. It's a really good rule. An excellent rule. But it's not the best for a love relationship.

Someone (I couldn't confirm the originator) has coined the term, "The Platinum Rule," which is a little different: Do unto others as they would have you do unto them. It's more difficult to love someone by the platinum rule. It requires that we learn something about them, and it often requires that we extend ourselves in ways that don't come easily to us. But they are the ways in which our loved ones receive love best, even if they're not the ways in which we give love most easily or naturally. There's a really good book about these concepts, called "The Five Love Languages." I know it's a good book because I've read it and it's helped me, and because of that other criteria by which I can always tell a good book -- it's the one my marriage counseling clients have most often kept when I've "loaned" it to them :)

Today's scripture is "The Love Chapter," which you've heard if you've ever been to any flavor of a Christian wedding:

I Corinthians 13

Although it's often read at weddings, it was not written to couples, but to everyone seeking to follow Christ. A challenge to you: to see what a good lover you are, of your partner, your family, your friends and neighbors, put your name in place of the words "love," and "it" in verses 4-7 of that chapter, and see how true it is. (Oy, do I have a ways to go!)

NOTE: I was late today because my home internet is dead. Jif brought me in to his office to post this, so y'all wouldn't worry. The cable guy is coming out on Tuesday night, hopefully I'll be back online then. I may have internet access here and there at work early in the week, but mostly I'll be in communicado until my home access is fixed. Yikes! See you soon! :)

18 heads are better than one . . .

Blogger eclectic said...

That's a great book, and a very difficult rule by which to live. The officiant at our wedding asked each of us, "How do you need to be loved?" I think we muttered platitudes of some sort, not fully understanding the question then. It would be different if asked now.

I hope "words of affection" are one of your languages, because under the circumstances they're all I have to offer: I love you, Susie.

Blogger Nina said...

I try very hard not to keep score. Just show my love . . . but then again I not shy about saying "what about me?" And it is my turn . . .
Happy Sunday Susie!

Blogger Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

Thank you for this wonderful post, Susie.

I learned some time ago that the “Platinum Rule” is more effective than the “Golden Rule.” Basically, I believe that love is a verb and when we see it primarily as a noun we miss God's love acting in our lives.

Blogger Squirl said...

I was hoping it was just something like an internet problem. Otherwise, I might've been worried. :)

The Platinum Rule is so much more difficult than the Golden. But it does work so much better. I can't say I follow it anywhere near as well as I'd like. I sure hope you're gettin' your love the way you like.

Anonymous Dr. Tony Alessandra said...

"The Platinum Rule® is a registered trademark of Dr. Tony Alessandra."
See www.PlatinumRule.com

Blogger Bucky Four-Eyes said...

I try to live by the aluminum rule: Do unto others, then recycle.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who'd'a'thunk I'd be glad to get to church finally! As usual, I'm going away with some thinking to do. I've never read the book but perhaps I should. {{{{{Susie}}}}}

Blogger Amy said...

Bucky's a weiner.

This was a good sermonette, Susie. We forget that Love is what so many other relationships are about, not just the main one. And we forget to treat people so.

Blogger Mr. Bloggerific Himself said...

*decides not to suggest that people throw things into the "well of affection" and taint so many relationships*

*thinks this Platinum Rule has a Hallmark price tag on it somewhere*

*runs out the door realizing he's picked on another quote*

Blogger Lynn said...

Being unable to get someone to return a book is usually a pretty good sign that they like it :-)

Anonymous sheryl said...


I love this post. And I love taht I was thinking of this just before I came here, from Shari's post on super heroes.

Both remind me that empathy is the heart of citizenship. Even citizenship of the one on one kind.

Last year I posted about how the platinum rule figured into my personal guidelines, and I was just thinking maybe I should ressurrect that old post. This seals it!

The thing about the platinum rule is that it's something we need to nurture and it changes as we change, and as others change. So it's always going to be a learning experience.

If it was possible for me to love and admire you any more than I already do, well I do, because you posted this.

Blogger WILLIAM said...

zhqmjWhat a cool topic. I don't like the platinunm rule. I always thought you need to love yourself, first before you can truly love anyone else. I see the platinum rule as a great concept for those who already know and love themselves to be able to apply it to their mates. But I also could see a lot of people trying to follow that rule without really understanding it, and getting hurt.

Or maybe I am an idiot and I just don't get it.

Blogger Susie said...

eclectic, you're right, the answer to that question certainly does change over time. Words of affection are probably my primary love language. You love me well :)

nina, I'm sure you're not a score-keeper. Sometimes I say, "my turn," too :)

ssnick, yes, it is a verb. It's more an act of will than an emotion, IMO. I think Gibran said, "Work is love made visible."

squirl, some days are better than others, with both the giving and the getting :)

dr.TA, I can tell by the speed at which you landed here that others have used your term without giving due credit. That's partly why it was so difficult for me to identify an original source, as I said. Thanks for the clarification.

bucky, I thought you lived by the $2 rule?

traci, I do think it's a very practical book. Hugs back to you.

amy, that's something my pastor reminded us of yesterday, about the love chapter being intended to guide all of our relationships. Tough to do.

mrB, oh, ye of little sentimentality. If not for Hallmark sentiments, some people would never have ANY cards, sentimentality, etc. So I'm pro-Hallmark. So there.

lynn over the years, that really has been how I've judged how helpful books are to clients. I must have bought 6 or 8 of this particular one. I don't even mind that people keep them.

she, it does sound like a resurrection is in order. I'm always in favor of a good resurrection :) You are absolutely right that the platinum rule requires change, development, through different life stages. I love you.

william, yea, it's what you said. The second part. :P
No, seriously, you lead me to want to say lots of things. The whole "love yourself first" has, IMO been overdone in some circles. I agree we must value, respect, take good care of ourselves. Some of us never get past the self-love. Christianity teaches that we are to esteem others as greater than ourselves. Some "first, love yourself" people would take issue with that. I think it is only when we come from a very secure, solid loving relationship with ourselves that we feel safe and grounded enought to risk esteeming someone else more highly; to risk being self-sacrificial for someone else's good. I could go on and on, and probably will, some time.

You should read the book, I think you'd like it. Or maybe you and Lauren have figured these things out without a book. Some people do. I didn't; but I think some do.

Anonymous platypus said...

Church was wonderful as always, Susie. Loved the ducks and love you too. :)

Blogger Von Krankipantzen said...

I drove by a local church this morning and on their little billboard was written, "Love at first sight is wonderful but love with insight is the best of all." and I immediately thought of you and your post. You have inspired folks all the way over here. Cool!

Blogger Circus Kelli said...

Oh man... Susie gave us HOMEWORK!

Blogger Susie said...

platy, are you a duck-billed platy? They may be your cousins. I love you, too :)

kranki, aw; I guess it's the collective unconscious, thinking lovey thoughts this week.

ck, just wait 'til tomorrow; there's going to be a TEST!

Blogger eclectic said...

Does this mean your internet connection is healed? If so, YAY! One healing down, one to go. Now, I have to run and study for the test tomorrow. I'm bad at Valentine's Day, so I better cram. ;)


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