Wednesday, February 13, 2013

What I know of Love

Here is what I know of love:

Real love is unconditional. It doesn't come and go. You don't love someone and then stop loving them. Romantic infatuation--that's another story. That can come and go a whole bunch. Unfortunately, too many people think that is real love. It's not. Real love is the fine, tested metal left after the impurities have been melted away, after the infatuation is gone.

Real love doesn't use the vocabulary "you," "me," "I." It's "WE." This is not to say that you lose your individuality. Real love allows that what's best for each individual is also best for the partner, and best for the couple. Real love knows that in a partnership, sometimes one partner's dream, needs, desires are temporarily the priority. Real love knows that at another time, it will be the other partner's turn. Real love doesn't keep score or count minutes, numbers, who does how many household chores or changes how many diapers. Real love knows it's all for the benefit of the couple.

Real love isn't sacrificial, though. It isn't hard. When you truly love another, you want the best for that person in every way. Having that person's best interests at heart doesn't negate your own best interests at all. It just means that this other person is important, so thinking of him, cheering him on, being there for him is not a sacrifice. It is a joyous piece of your life. It's easy to want to do those things. I'm not saying everything is easy when you love someone. Humans are messy, annoying, troublesome creatures. If you are married or in a long term relationship with the one you love, tending that relationship/marriage can have its difficulties, but the love is not the hard part. The hard part might be contending the human flaws of another person, but the love--that's easy.

Love gets better with age, maturity, shared memories, a life of partnering. Sure, the excitement of new love, young love, is fun, special, magical. But if real love is to be reached, that new love phase has to end. Not saying that real love isn't fun or special. It's a deeper fun and a deeper special. You hear people say things like they love their spouse more and more every day. When real love is present, this is so true. Love grows and expands. If it doesn't, that's not real love. Real love cannot contract.

Pure love does not need to make time for romance. There can be such romance sitting together in the same room in utter silence. That love doesn't need words, or gifts, or diamonds, or other people to see how in love you are. That love is pure and real and simple. Real love's romance can be as simple as a "thank you" or as grand a gesture as shouting from a mountaintop. It can be an inside joke. Or a bowl of soup when you're sick.

Real love is dependable. It won't be gone tomorrow if you mess things up today. It has a deep connection to forgiveness, compassion, friendship. It doesn't have to show off for others. It just is.

I am fortunate to have this kind of love in my life. My family, especially my husband, show love in many ways to me. I hope I return it in kind as often as possible. To the love of my life, might I just add that your good humor and patience demonstrate your love every single day. Your love is a safe, warm, delightful place where I am my best. Je t'aime.

1 comment: