13.2.13

Love Bomb


If you've had more than one relationship, you know it seems sometimes that love means something different to everyone. But despite all the frantic last minute flower purchases and restaurant bookings today, most people realize money can't buy it.  Psychology has suggested that we may be mimicking our parents patterns of affection witnessed growing up, but I don't think that's entirely true either. For my part, I'd say I've always been a realistic romantic, but a romantic nonetheless, so I usually prefer to not to deconstruct the mystery.

My parents come from the oldest school of courtship, they have been married over 60 years. I have often wondered how close they came at any point to calling the whole thing off. I only witnessed them part ways once following a disagreement, when my father angrily packed a suitcase in ten minutes flat and stormed off into the night to a hotel. He returned solemnly the next morning, joined Mom at breakfast and I don't recall much more than an awkward silence after that.Now, as they're replacing hips and starting to require a drug cocktail to stave off heart failure, I feel a pang of sadness whenever I realise I can't imagine how one of them would get along without the other for very long.

There is one thing about my parents I definitely have never witnessed. At no point did I ever hear them call each other names or be cruel or condescending during their arguments - and they did have their share. I heard plenty of sharp complaints, frustrated or exhausted debate, and saw a few stony silences between them. Even now, (also typical of their generation) my mother has almost never offered relationship advice, or opened up to me about their married life except when I was about to get married.

She told me; people think marriage is a 50/50 proposition, and it isn't. There will be times that you will be giving 110% when your partner only shows up with 25%, and other times that situation will reverse. Most importantly both of you truly need to be 100% committed to your decision to be together. You must be willing to admit you are wrong and you must remember all the things that brought you to this point with them in the first place. Love is a verb. Love in action is not just caring for someone because of all the things they do for you, or how they make you feel, but to appreciate and discover every day more of who they are and how lucky you are to share and experience life through their eyes.   

 I've seen quite a few solid examples of the depth of devotion and compassion that can exist between two people. Far beyond that shallow pining we so often waste anguish on, real love is manifested in a pure unshakeable belief in the spirit of another human being, when they themselves are not capable. 



Your newsfeeds  may be filled with quotes on love tomorrow (or maybe just more memes about atheism and science - I shouldn't be presumptuous) but I can't resist adding one that feels like it clearly captures the crux of the whole thing:

We really have to understand the person we want to love.  If our love is only a will to possess, it is not love.  If we only think of ourselves, if we know only our own needs and ignore the needs of the other person, we cannot love. We must look deeply in order to see and understand the needs, aspirations, and suffering of the person we love. This is the ground of real love. You cannot resist loving another person when you really understand him or her.   

If you are suffering all the time, if you cry all the time, and if you make the person you love cry, this is not really love - it is even the opposite.  If there is no joy in your love, you can be sure it is not true love.

From time to time, sit close to the one you love, hold his or her hand, and ask, 'Darling, do I understand you enough? Or am I making you suffer? Please tell me so that I can learn to love you properly. I don't want to make you suffer, and if I do so because of my ignorance, please tell me so that I can love you better, so that you can be happy.  Dear one, I am here for you. "  We need courage to ask these questions, but if we don't ask, the more we love, the more we may destroy the people we are trying to love.  Do you have enough time to love? Can you make sure that in your everyday life you have a little time to love?

True love needs understanding.  With understanding, the one we love will certainly flower.  


When I think of my parents and the stories highlighted above, I just don't believe that love advice coaches, cynics or science, will ever tell the whole storyThere are miraculous exceptions and effects beyond biology that will never be accounted for, and that's why we take the risk.





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