Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Thoughts

Valentine's Day has me pondering love.  Such as the couple in the news the other day for being the longest married couple, married 80 years. 

In an era where we seem to be bombarded with statistics such as sixty percent of marriages eventually result in divorce, it can be hard for many to even fathom.  Worse yet people seem to accept that percentage instead of trying to address it or better yet do something to change it.

We watch these Hollywood movies about love where the couple meet and then ride off into the sunset thinking that's what love should be like. We just don't see what comes after the sunset.  As finding love and keeping love are two different things.

Great relationships just don't happen, there's a lot that goes into making them successful, strong, sustaining, loving and most of all enduring.  It may not sound romantic but relationships require a certain amount of work.  The amount of energy, attention, time, work, love one devotes to something is directly proportional to it's success. Love and relationships are no different!

Love that works is the result of both partners putting energy and intention into building a mutually satisfying relationship. This includes being around when things are not so great, not so comfortable, not so happy and being willing to stay the course towards finding a path that leads back to positive love, fulfillment, passion, joy, and all the other things we truly want in a relationship. 

No relationship will ever be perfect because humans are not perfect, life is not perfect and love wasn't meant to be perfect.  It's the very imperfections that teach us the most about love and how to love.

Words such as compassion, kindness, giving, honesty, affection, loyalty, communication, trust, understanding, fun, humor, play, appreciation, gratitude, respect, caring, unselfishness, friendship, acceptance, patience, unconditional are a few words that come to mind when thinking of love.  As love cannot exist nor sustain itself without these things.

Yet amongst all those words mentioned above there is one missing as well....balance.  It might not be something that first comes to mind when one thinks about love, but as relationships progress through the years balance becomes crucial.  There is no question that if a relationship is one-sided, it will not stand. Love needs to be an equal give and take of all those beautiful qualities listed above.  

If one person is constantly doing things big or small, catering to the needs of another but not receiving the same back it becomes a very one sided situation.  In any relationship both individuals need to have their needs met and negotiate for them being met.  A balanced give and take is extremely important for creating a sustaining, strong, loving relationship.  

We live in a society that over time has become more selfish.  We want things now, we want things our way, on our terms, when we desire them, we want the least path of resistance or work etc, and we run from, avoid or do anything possible to avoid anything that makes us feel a little uncomfortable. We seem to care more about what someone has, does or even looks like than who they truly are. But those things have become the very things that lead to the demise and imbalance of love.

Love and relationships require both individuals to commit to devoting time, work  and whatever else needed to create not only balance but sustained love.  It means both people not only need to be willing to compromise but willing to make positive changes sometimes as well.  And change isn't necessarily a bad thing if people can do it together, as change helps us grow, it enlightens our souls and allows us to become more loving and who we are meant to me.  Sometimes the greatest challenges in relationships and love can be the very things that bring couples closer together, but they have to be willing to stay the course, do a little work and make love a priority. 

Maybe the secrets to lasting love will always be a mystery, or maybe they are already within each of us. This I know is not just about finding the right person, but creating the right relationship. It’s not about how much love you have in the beginning, but how much love you build over time. It should make your smile a little wider and your life a little brighter.  

And maybe this is the best wisdom yet....

We come to love not by finding the perfect person but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly.

May your Valentine's Day be filled with love.

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