Priority – somebody or something that is ranked highly in terms of importance or urgency; the state of having preceded something else.
Prioritize – to order things according to their importance or urgency; to regard something as most important or urgent.
Temptation – a desire for something considered wrong; the incitement of desire or craving in somebody.
Necessity – something that is essential; a basic requirement; water, food, shelter, clothing, love and acceptance; the condition of being needed or required.
Blessing – something to be glad or relieved about; a favor or gift bestowed by God, thereby bringing happiness.
Someone recently told me that a relationship is not a priority for them. I’ve heard this a million times. I believe that anything that someone wants badly enough becomes a priority to that person. A person’s lack of desire for something doesn’t make it less important in life, just less important to that particular person. According to Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, our human needs are, in order of importance from most to least, (1) physiological, (2) safety, (3) social, (4) esteem, and (5) self-actualization. Physiological includes what we know as basic human needs; food, shelter, sex, and breathing. Safety includes security of body, employment, resources, morality, family, health and property. Social includes love, friendship, family and sexual intimacy. Esteem includes confidence, achievement/success, and respect of and by others. Self-actualization includes morality, creativity, spontaneity, problem solving, lack of prejudice and acceptance of facts.
If you understand the Maslow Hierarchy principle, then you know that social includes relationships with others both related to us by blood and by emotion. Our esteem is connected to our achievements and status in society. If this is true, then why do so many of us look at love as less of a priority than career? Why do we put our goals and desires to succeed and make money above having someone to share those achievements with? Why do we prioritize love as the least important element in our day to day life? Why do we view love as a temptation instead of a necessity?
The happiest people I’ve ever met are not the wealthiest financially. However, they are considered very wealthy because they have mates. They have taken the time to cultivate strong and resilient relationships that include emotional bonds with their mates. They have families, friendships and great sex. They have prioritized love into their lives. Then there are the single people who strive to make more money, gain more position, and obtain more respect from people whom they don’t share any emotional connection with. They already possess the physiological and safety needs, so they feel that they can overlook the social needs and continue on to the esteem and self-actualization needs. Do they ever go back and try to capture the social aspects? Yes. And sometimes they fail to do so because since it was not a priority to them, they passed on every opportunity for love that came their way. In their minds when the opportunity arose, it was not the “right” time. They had other priorities to concern themselves with that took precedence over love.
Then there are the single people like myself who want everything. We want to fulfill all five of the human needs in Maslow’s Hierarchy. We believe that we can have balance, just like many of our married predecessors. We may have even failed at love previously but we still believe it to be a necessity. Unfortunately, we often find ourselves in encounters with the single, success-seeking individuals who do not view love as a priority. They desire the money, status and respect of others, but do not desire to come home to the love and respect of a mate. One of my biggest fears is being extremely successful, but not having anyone to share my experiences and success with. Not having anyone to encourage my steps when I’m moving in the right direction. Not having anyone to catch me when I fall or wipe my tears when I fail. How lonely life could be with a huge bank account and no one to share life with. No matter how much money I make, I can’t take it with me when I die [no one’s tombstone says “He made a lot of money”]. But I believe that I can share a love that lasts an eternity.
People often throw themselves into their careers as a defense mechanism against love. They fear love and the requirements of it. Love requires commitment, focus, decisiveness, self awareness, honesty, and selflessness, among other things. These requirements are often more difficult for a man, because in society men aren’t always celebrated for the wife they have, but instead for their professional achievements. Love isn’t leisure, it is work. You can’t take a vacation from love. When love hurts, it can be debilitating. There is no cure for love when it hurts. When love is presented with problems, you can’t walk away from it, tear it down and start all over. As a result some people opt to take the easy way out and decide not to include love. Some people literally choose not to prioritize love into their lives. They’re afraid of the work more than potential failure or pain. In spite of our fears about love, under Maslow’s Hierarchy, without love, a human being is not “whole” in life. A life without love isn’t living; it is just existing.
So, the “timing” isn’t right when you meet someone. When did humans become powerful enough to control “time”? Everything happens for a reason, and it happens when it should, not necessarily when we want it to. If an opportunity presented itself unexpectedly for your career, you would view it as a “blessing”, not an obstacle or a temptation. You would do whatever was necessary to take advantage of that opportunity. You would fear losing the opportunity and never getting another. You would conquer your fears, travel long distances, empty your bank account, sale your car, change your routine or schedule, you would change your plans, and you would even disappoint others in order to accept the “blessing”. You would pray about it, increase your tithe offering, burn sage and anything else necessary for that blessing. Sometimes people are also a blessing in our lives. They are brought to us for many reasons. Some people come into our lives for a season, some for a reason and some for a lifetime. Someone who comes into your life that you feel a connection to may also be the one you are meant to love. But if you are unwilling to take advantage of the opportunity, it will pass you by. That person will then become a blessing to someone else who was unafraid of love. I heard Steve Harvey say that more love songs have been written by men about lost love because men fail to see what they have until it is gone. They don’t view love as a priority.
Time waits for no one and some opportunities only come around once in a lifetime. If you are willing to make sacrifices for achievements and material possessions, why would you not also make sacrifices for love?