"You cannot command the heart!" How many times have we heard this saying uttered?
How many times are betrayals or break-ups justified in the name of the supremacy of feelings, which can change, even against our will?
Not everyone, however, agrees that every interior thrill goes on.
In his small volumeThe opposed romantic love. The killer of forever love ( L’amore romantico contrastato. Il killer dell’amore per sempre ), Ugo Borghello argues that the sentimental attraction cannot be sufficient criterion to make important and definitive decisions, which influence the fate of whole families: blindly following a passion – which often burns brighter the more it is opposed – is not, in his opinion, a guarantee of true happiness...
If passion can’t have the last word
When you begin to have a relationship with strong passion, possibly undercover, that is, between two otherwise taken people or who already have a family, we can believe that the lovers are defenseless against it: maybe they might see them almost "victims" of something that overwhelms them, of something that they cannot control.
"You cannot command the heart!" That is: we do not choose who to love and how to love, but we are hostages of our mood, an impulsive heart, which rebels from the order of reason and that can lead us to break even important ties, to make us say "yes" to a new and promising love adventure.
But is it really true that the heart is uncontrollable? Is it really up to our feelings to direct our actions or are we rather responsible to guide them, to tame them, to educate them according to a goal in life, which finds a basis and stability in the value of fidelity?
For Borghello, "Forever Love" goes through various seasons and often has to face moments of dryness. Many, then, look for stimuli and emotions elsewhere. And if they find someone outside their marriage who makes them feel "alive" as they have not been for some time, they perceive the family as an obstacle to a new happiness and "thwarted love" grows.
But this new bond has nothing to do with true love, because the latter is not born out of boredom or opposition, but rather develops between two free people, in mutual respect, and is capable of aiming for eternity, surviving crises with the potential of being reborn from the wreckage.
What to do in order to not fall into this trap of opposed love?
For Borghello, the most important social issue is the crisis of a family. To avoid destroying important ties (not only for the sake of the couple and children, but for the whole community in which the family is included), it is necessary to understand how contrived romantic love works: it is necessary to know its dynamics and be aware that it exploits frustrations and misunderstandings to snatch us from a precious thing like "forever love."
The best cure for the author is prevention. When we are tempted to look for ways to escape, we should focus on the problems that have arisen within marriage.
It is good to express our discomfort with our spouse, ask for help from third parties, and be willing to bet on patience: where there is a crisis, there is always a difficult journey to be taken towards rebirth; but where consciously an important bond such as that of marriage has been tightened, there are always good reasons to make this journey.
It is particularly important for Borghello that young people are prepared, that they are aware that marriage will entail great, but fair efforts, in terms of fullness of life and benefits, both for them, for their children, and for society.
It is necessary to invest in the "discipline of emotions:" children must grow up knowing that they are really protagonists, capable of directing their lives, able to say "yes" or "no" to temptations and to resist a momentary pleasure in order to keep something that it is worth a lot more.
Building an authentic civilization of love, recovering the value of "forever," giving back to a reasoning mind an active role in the management of feelings… all this will ensure that opposed romantic love takes less victims.
The power of forgiveness: getting up after a fall is possible
It may happen that a dissatisfied spouse falls into the deception of “off limits” romantic love: perhaps he abandons himself to a clandestine feeling, thinking that there he will find the fulfillment that he no longer finds within his family. Strengthened by the new feeling, he will perhaps even come to renounce the security of the family nucleus and bring the relationship into the light. And yet, often, when the opposition is lost, when the family ceases to be an obstacle, the alleged new love vanishes.
If those who have cheated realize at that moment that they have made a mistake, is it possible to restore the marriage? Can a wounded relationship be healed and a new feeling of trust re-established?
For Borghello the answer is yes. First of all it is necessary to treat the phenomenon of opposed romantic love as a real "pathology," which anyway can be cured.
It can help in overcoming the crises to have compassion for the weaknesses of the other, to admit each one's own faults (which in certain situations are almost never on one side), to welcome the repentance of those who have fallen and to renounce doubts (which they will never allow you to start seriously).
And a constant commitment on both sides is essential.
"It is too easy to resort to accusation and defense,” writes Borghello, “…pointing the finger is the evil of the family. It makes us similar to Satan." He continues: "In the divine plan marriage is like a business [...]. It is in the difficulties that the good entrepreneur recognizes, for example, how he faces competition or the economic crisis. So those who know how to love can also grow in recurring crises in every family."
A book to reflect on the risks of a contrasted feeling and on the value of "forever love"
"The heart is commanded," is what Ugo Borghello’s small volume seems to convey. And this does not mean that we must hurt ourselves or be content with an unhappy life, but that we can grow in understanding our feelings to find fullness in something great, beautiful and lasting, which resists the setbacks of life.
The text is an opportunity for reflection on the crisis that is hitting "forever love," in a culture where prejudices towards binding and definitive relationships lead to the building of situations that only last for a time, which can then end with a change of heart.
In particular, the author helps us to recognize the dangers associated with "contrasted emotions," that is to say, highlighting how an emotion that finds an obstacle is stubborn, and it overwhelms and obscures the mind.
With his contribution, Borghello gives the reader the opportunity to gain awareness of this phenomenon and this, in some cases, can help spouses, their friends, relatives, spiritual guides or professionals to prevent or treat damage of this insidious pathology.