What is more exciting and exhilarating than falling in love? Is there anything?
Sadly, though, many of us have learned that it is just as easy falling in love or out of love, and while finding love and affection is one of our greatest personal needs, why is it that so many fail to stay in love? Why? Anyone?
Falling in love can be the start of a loving relationship, but lasting relationships don’t just happen; they must be cultivated to grow. In many ways nurturing a relationship is like tending a garden. Neglect it, weeds will grow, and it dies just because of doing nothing. Constant care and cultivation, including the following ideas, are needed to keep love alive and growing.
To be in love is being there(in presence). One of the chief ingredients of love is to give another person your company. Without a reality, as it has been said, love receives an invitation to die.
Presence is not only spending physical time with another person but also giving him or her your undivided attention when you are with him/her. It includes being sensitive to his/her feelings and aware of his/her needs. It means not only hearing with your ears but, much more so, hearing with your heart.
Recently I met with a friend who spent the entire time talking about his interests and concerns. I tried to share some of my interests, too but felt like my words fell on deaf ears. There was no experiencing of mutual presence, which is the basis for all meaningful relationships, including friendships.
Love is understanding. Most behavior is caused or motivated. Once we understand this, we can be much more accepting and loving. For example, one father I know was having difficulty with one of his two children. One was the “perfect” child, the other continually rebelling.
“Is one of your children a favorite?” I asked the father. With a tinge of embarrassment, he admitted the “good” child was. “Do you think this could be the cause of your difficult son’s negative behavior?” I asked again. The answer was obvious.
We need to understand that much negative behavior in adults and children is caused by not feeling loved; it is that simple. This may have its roots in present relationships or from unmet childhood needs.
Either way, when people are acting negatively or yelling, they are hurting and, in a way, however, inadequate it may appear, they are screaming for help. If we can see this and take the time to understand the real cause behind their behavior instead of taking it personally and yelling back, we can go a long way in strengthening our love relationships. Admittedly, this isn’t easy, but we do need to work at it.
Love is also accepting responsibility. Most of us bring the excess baggage of unresolved issues from the past into our close relationships. For example, the man who didn’t get along with his mother and is still angry will inevitably take out his hostility on his wife and family. Or the woman who felt mistreated by her father or some other significant male and is distrustful of men will take out her hurt and anger on her husband, and so on.
If we desire to stay and grow in love, each of us must accept responsibility for resolving our inner conflicts that cause dissension in our present relationships. We were not responsible for our upbringing, but we are now totally responsible for what we do about resolving any adverse effects our past had on us.
Love is more than sex. Love is much more than a physical relationship. It is also an emotional relationship. The man who ignores his wife’s emotional needs and expects to receive a warm response in bed is inviting frustration. Women are not machines to be turned on at will. Sex(emotional connection) starts in the kitchen at six, not in the bedroom at nine, ten, or eleven—or even later. A lasting physical relationship is the result of an ongoing healthy emotional connection; it is that simple.
Love is just one aspect of life. We have given so much importance to it simply because, for a long time, in most people, emotion has been the most vital part. Even today, though people consider themselves intellectual, still feeling is essential for most of them, not their intellect, body, or energy. So making that pleasant is very important. Otherwise, it will find unpleasant expressions. If you are feeling very pleasant, suddenly you become like a flower.
When somebody is in love, if you look at their faces, suddenly they look like a flower because they are feeling so pleasant within themselves. Whoever you are in love with, they may not even be aware of it. You are in love; that’s all that matters. It is your emotion. It is the way you are.
Love is not something that you do. Love is something that you are. Either you can use somebody as a support to make yourself loving, or you can become loving. After all, it is not somebody else’s quality; it is your quality. You are using the other person as a key to open this up. But you can also open it up from inside without the help of the other person. It is more enduring because when you open it with the other person’s use, you must remember that nobody on this planet is 100% reliable.
If you are trying to extract joy, love, and pleasantness out of somebody, this will be disastrous for both people. I am not saying it is better to live alone. I am saying the way you are should be determined by you. If this is so and you are here to share your love with people, it will be fantastic if you feel fabulous and want to share this with somebody.
Love is also a commitment. Love that lasts is a commitment of one imperfect person to another imperfect person. It means that no matter what, I am committed to you and your growth. I will be what you need me to be and not necessarily what you want me to be. If you need me to be loving and affectionate, I will be loving and caring. Or, if for your growth you need me to be lovingly strict and firm, I will be lovingly rigid and tight. Within the bounds of my imperfections, I will always strive to do and be what is best for your growth.
This kind of commitment means that one will not try to manipulate or control the other person to get his or her way but will at all times maintain gut level, open and honest communication. It isn’t easy, but it is the way of love, given yourself 100 percent to the other person.
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I hope that you enjoy this short article on the beautiful topic of love.
To your success
Coach Lionel Sanabria