Sunday, October 18, 2009

Love and Sacrifice 101

Just like a song in my heart
Just like oil in my hands
Oh, I do love you

Still I wonder why it is
I don't argue like this
with anyone but you
We do it all the time
Blowing out my mind

~Like a Star by Corinne Bailey Rae

There's just simply nothing easy or effortless about love. Once the euphoria of infatuation fades, understanding how to love your partner is the only thing that will sustain a long term union. We have these ideas of how love should look, talk and feel and often these ideas prevent us from experiencing the authenticity of true love. We all know that putting love first is the key to making a relationship work. But how many of us truly know how to love without conditions, without pride, and without judgment?

I would argue that most people don't even know how to love themselves that way, let alone another person.

Love is one thing and expressing it is another. Where many of us fall short is that we are not able to put aside our expectations so that we can actively express love in a way that feeds the relationship.

For example, what makes me feel loved is not necessarily what makes my partner feel loved. Taking the time to learn each other's needs -- whether we understand them or not -- is crucial.   This creates an atmosphere of safety and trust where communication keeps the chemistry alive.

Speaking of safety and trust, when disagreements do arise, our egos are on the defense - telling us that we cannot let someone get the best of us, outshine us, or have the last word. But humility tells us that we are secure enough in our character to step aside and let someone else be heard. What would happen if we didn't feed the fire and we just stopped and listened? What if we could be quiet long enough to consider another perspective and honor it, even if we don't agree with it? Imagine that. You have to decide what's more important to you - strengthening the relationship or strengthening your ego?

Much like my relationship with myself, I've also come to understand that love is not dependent on how much growth we see, whether it's spiritual, intellectual, financial or otherwise. We are all in a constant state of growth, and the real opportunity to show love is to accept the person for all of their circumstances - favorable or not. You can support and encourage change, but if your love is dependent on that change, your partner will feel that and reciprocate that doubt back to you.

None of this will make sense or resonate for you if you don't already have a healthy relationship with yourself. Self-love is a prerequisite for any healthy relationship. For years, I felt cursed that I would never be happy in a relationship until I realized that my unhappiness came from within. My self-loathing manifested in a build up of resentment, misperception and dishonesty. Ultimately, honesty saves relationships. Constructive honesty creates the space for intimacy and friendship to grow.

What do you think? Consider the idea that love is not about expectations and demands but finding a middle ground on which two people feel respected and treasured as individuals.


Anonymous said...

What a great article and so true! I will have to read this several times just to be able to take in and prayerfully apply all the wisdom that was shared. Thank you!

GG said...

You're welcome! Love is everything :) Stop by and visit us again soon!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this!

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