Rowan Williams suggests that, in order for love to be set free in our lives, we need either the “shock of joy” or the “shock of pain.”
We are such bad creatures at loving that we need the shock of joy, just as we need the shock of pain, to set our love free. And that is why we need to come again and again to this sacrament to have our shells broken open, our selfish habits and our self-obsession broken open, in the remembrance of the horror of Jesus` betrayal and the glory of Jesus` resurrection. Our love needs to be set free to be pierced and shocked into action. OJ., 31
He also suggests that love requires truthfulness.
there can be no love without truth. Without clear vision, love is a business of projection and fantasy. And there can be no truth without love. Without trust and tenderness and courtesy, truth will vanish behind the walls of fear and pain. OJ., 230
Truth makes love possible; love makes truth bearable. OJ., 230
Strangely, Williams also writes that love requires the willingness to confront the darkness that is an inevitable part of the human experience.
Give up the futile struggle to dominate and organise the chaos of the world in systems and mythologies, and realise that the empty destitution of confronting darkness is the only way in which love can begin: because only if we are honest about the world can we see the choices that confront us. Either there is only destruction and death, or there is destruction and death that we take into ourselves, so as to let it burn away our self-obsession and so make room for active love, compassion, mutual giving, life in communion. OJ., 218
Love is born where there is a willingness to allow the inevitable pain of life to break open our hearts to our true nature as beings created in the image of the God whose nature is love.