This very interesting question came up on one of my message boards:
What's more important to you: to be loved or to be understood?
I really had to think about it.
I think that you can love a person deeply and genuinely but not totally understand him/her. I think this this because it's difficult to even understand yourself. As you get older, if you work on it, you do really get a better understanding of yourself, i.e. who/what you are becomes clearer to you. But it may take many lifetimes, in my opinion to really totally understand yourself.
Yet, I know that my sister, my best friend and my hubby, the folks who are closest to me, all really love me despite the fact that they don't understand every aspect of me. I know for sure that I'm an anomaly to my parents, yet I believe they love me.
Here's the thing though: they all know me very well even if they don't completely understand.
But is knowing the same things as understanding? Not necessarily. Like learning your times tables or how to find the area of a triangle in grade school. You can know these by heart, know them very well but it is not until you get into advanced mathematics and science, much later on, when you really manipulate and work with these formulas and theorems that you can claim to really understand what's going on. It's one of the main reasons I want to homeschool: I did very well in school because I knew a lot of stuff; I could retain huge amounts of information and could often apply it But I didn't always fully understand it. That became obvious when I started college.
So I do think there can be deep, genuine and abiding love without complete understanding if there is a high level of knowledge. As healthy relationships mature, though, you get to really know the other person better and I think understanding begins and then deepens.
But I also think it's wonderful when the understanding does begin to happen. I think that is what makes for longevity in a marriage or any other intimate relationship that we maintain by choice. No one wants to be in situation where whatever he/she does elicits a raised eyebrow from his/her partner. That's just exhausting. It's equally exhilarating--thrilling even--when you meet someone who really seems to "get you". But if a relationship like this progresses to romantic love though (as I've experienced before), the person can sometimes start to act like they've got a handle on you better than you've got a handle on yourself. Which is annoying, to say the least.
Anyway, the question got me thinking about soul mates again--how if two people were truly soul mates, if such a thing exists, that there would be this profound understanding between the two of them precisely because they are matched in such a mystical way.
So is love that is not based on understanding superficial? Is it not real? Personally, I don't think so. if the love is based on genuinely knowing the person. I am totally and completely convinced that those closest to me love me because they know me. The show love in the most wonderful of ways. And I cannot conceive of the devastation that they would feel if they lost me or if I lost them.
And here's the kicker for me: unequivocally I love my children. There are times that it really hits me that I don't really understand why they are a certain way; why they are behaving a certain way. But I love them anyway because of who they are to me. What they mean to me.
So I guess I conclude that being loved is more important to me than being understood. But I will add a disclaimer and say that the latter is also important as we need to be understood by at least someone so we don't feel (or go) crazy. And I think it's a noble effort to continually work to understand those you love. I think that demonstrates love in deeply profound way.
Anyway, I thought of this song while I was writing this. It's called Perfect Love and Understanding by one of my favorite roots reggae groups, Israel Vibration.