‘Love is giving someone the power to break your heart, and trusting them not to’. Some wise soul said that, and I pinched it.
When we fall in love, we fall into infatuation at first. We can think of nobody else all day. Their face and voice lift us up to heights we never knew before. Every time.
When I looked up Love on the interweb as my old ma calls it, every link on the first page and beyond guided me towards young love. Now, young love is not just for the young. The ‘young’ adjective describes Love, not the people feeling it. We can fall in love at any age, and thankfully, we do or the world would be chock full of lonely old people, who have loved and lost and find they can love again. But love is not just a feeling. It’s a verb. In order to maintain a love between two people, both have to work, sometimes, very hard and over long periods of time.
So what is love, the verb?
Well, after the first overwhelment of love, hitting us right in the heart like a meteor has landed there, things slowly change. Is this, we ask ourselves, the death of love? Did I make a huge mistake? Is the ‘honeymoon’ period over? Hopefully, yes. Now we are getting real.
You may have made a mistake in your choice of lover, but you also may not, for at this point comes commitment, a cementing of a love, a choice to grow it into something long term, something that will sustain both people for the rest of their lives. Ok, so we ‘commit’ whatever shape that takes and on we go. At first we can allow things to irritate, because we are still floating on cloud nine and, as we know Love is blind. But, when those things that irritate don’t disappear, we begin to wonder, because our initial plan to make the other person into a carbon copy of ourselves, isn’t working.
This is the uncomfortable bit.
‘Vive la Difference!’ is something we can laugh about and nod our heads to, but can we actually live with it?
There is another saying, that ‘Love means never having to say you’re sorry’. Well bin that one. I believe that saying sorry and taking appropriate action thereafter is precisely what Love is. Otherwise we can just go on with our irritating habits, expecting the other person to get over themselves without considering their feelings and that is not ‘love’.
‘Don’t sweat the small stuff’ is another. However, the small stuff grows into big stuff if left unattended and, by the way, the small stuff is in the way every hour of every day is it not? Dropping socks on the floor, nagging about who does what, harping on about slamming the car door, not helping with the shopping/kids/accounts etc.
So how do we un-sweat it?
Honestly, I can’t answer any of it, for this subject is one discussed to death all over the world in many languages. What I can say is that Love is a journey, not just a feeling. Beyond the chemstry, the longing to get home to a loved one, the daily joy, is a great depth of other things, essential things that, if applied with patience, will grow into a lifetime love.
But what about all that small stuff? Does he/she get away with it all? Hmmmm. Jury is out on that. I have made all the mistakes, harping, nagging, moaning about my lot, and you already know that, if you’ve read Island Wife. But, what I have learned, thankfully, is that love is not about getting my own way in everything. It is not about a clear stage, just for me, with himself prancing about like a dancer in tights, to lift me up every time I feel like a pirouette.
No, love is about Compassion. Kindness. Loyalty. Friendship. Affection. And each one of these is a choice, NOT a feeling. In fact, feeling them is unlikely at first, given the small stuff sweats. These depths of love are something to do, to work on, to write down as reminders. It’s like going back to school.
Goodness…… that sounds old and boring, even to me who knows all this first hand. But, as nobody can explain the truest, deepest meaning of Love, its high price and its long term rewards, then we just have to believe in it, even though, as a rule, we really only believe in that which we can explain through logic.
Love is not just about those first fiery weeks/months or even years. It’s not about agreeing on everything (which is fortunate as we hardly agree on anything)……nor is it something to be taken lightly, thrown away without deep consideration and every effort made to find it again should it appear lost. It’s not real in movies or romance novels. It’s not just for Christmas or for days when I feel good about myself. You won’t find it winning the lottery, or being promoted or writing a bestseller. You find it by making daily commitment to it’s development and growth.
And my last word, learned through experience, is this.
Forgive, even if nobody says sorry.