*Editor’s Note: This piece is part of a series—lucky you. Head here to read Part I.
“There is no remedy for love but to love more.” ~ Henry David Thoreau
Before I share Part II of my 50 years of love wisdom with you, do you relate to any of these situations?
>> Her heart is broken, and she doesn’t want anything to do with love. She needs a long break to feel her own breath again, and she needs a long break to regain a sense of who she is without this person.
>> He is despondent and heartbroken because the love of his life recently died. He feels completely lost without his beloved by his side. He wonders, “How am I going to live without the love of my life? How am I going to make it?”
>> She has finally found inner peace by not having a love interest. Learning to love and heal herself is the only major project that interests her energy and focus. She is proud to be her own best friend and wouldn’t want it any other way.
>> He isn’t sure about love. What are the signs, cues, and clues? Is love supposed to be constant work, or is it supposed to be easy? Is there even a “supposed to” when having a relationship? He is guarding his heart and finds himself thinking and analyzing this relationship obsessively. Should he throw caution to the wind? Take a leap of faith? This is such scary stuff.
>> Her partner suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Does she love this person enough to continue to be patient, compassionate, and empathic? For how long?
>> It’s time to end this craziness. What about the kids? Shouldn’t we wait until they grow up before we get divorced? Wait, maybe we should have another baby together. Maybe the baby will be just the right distraction to keep our relationship going.
>> She’s abused physically and verbally, and every movement is controlled by her partner. She feels scared and trapped.
(If you are dealing with abuse and extreme control, please contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233.)
>> She was lonely and wanted someone in her life—anyone. Now it’s time to clean up this mess, and she feels guilty. She knows it wasn’t right to string the relationship along. She isn’t taking the hurt that she caused lightly, and she realizes that it’s important to respect this person enough to tell he/she/they her truth.
>> When it comes to relationships, her choices haven’t always been healthy, and she’s scared to get involved with the wrong person again. She thinks it would show personal growth to take a break, regroup, and find new interests that don’t involve falling in love.
>> Secretly, she wonders if her need to fall in love again is another addiction.
>> Their relationship is drowning in arguments, communication breakdowns, frustrations, and disappointments. Is it time to do relationship counseling? Individual therapy? Attend “Learning to Love” Workshops? Read relationship books together? Find a lawyer? Submit fervent prayers to the universe? What?
>> Now, what? Rebound relationships? Taking abundant “me” time to sift through all the feelings? Finding new interests that don’t include falling in love again?
>> He’s been divorced for a while and he’s starting to wonder if it’s time to take a leap of faith again. Is it? How will he know for sure? Is there ever a “for sure?”
Love Wisdom: Sacred moments.
There will always be beautiful moments, horrible moments, and times when you just don’t know why you are in a relationship with this person. If your relationship has potential, hang in there. If you are miserable, then reflect on what is best for both of you.
Inner peace, happiness, respect, and true love are priceless currencies. Do what you can, and then let go.
Your inner voice, third eye wisdom, and highest intuition will guide you.
Unless you’ve completely had it with the relationship, don’t let your impatience, frustration, and anger end your love story too soon.
Show up, ride the waves, don’t force feelings or outcomes, trust the universe, give each other space, and just let it all be. At the right time, the answers will become clear for both of you.
Love Wisdom: Ignore somebody else’s rules on how to have a perfect relationship.
There are no “shoulds.” Long-distant relationships can work. Living in separate homes while you’re in a committed relationship can work. Sleeping in separate beds can work. It all depends.
The sky is the limit. Break rules that don’t fit you. There is no cookie-cutter way to have a meaningful relationship.
When I was first married, I didn’t understand why I had to give up my last name, why I suddenly had to share a closet, and why I was only getting half a bed. Even in my 20s, I found this one-sided philosophy stifling to my independent feminist nature.
Free yourself to be yourself.
Love Wisdom: Taking a vacation together won’t fix everything. Here’s what does.
When you pass each other in a room, say something to your beloved—flirt, stop, and chat, even if it’s only two minutes.
It says, “No matter how busy I am, I see you. You matter to me. I love you.”
Love isn’t reserved for weekend getaways or vacations. It happens in quick moments, and if you don’t honor these moments, that’s when anger festers and you begin to wonder why you’re even in a relationship.
Love Wisdom: Cell phones.
Love is putting the cell phone away.
Focus on your partner. Be fully present. It will make her/him/they feel heard and seen. It will feel like love because it is an act of love to make your beloved feel more important than anything else.
Love Wisdom: What if my partner is messed up and I knew that going into the relationship?
Aren’t we all “messed up?”
I don’t know many people who aren’t messed up for one reason or another. Childhood wounds, PTSD, abuse, family dysfunctions, you name it—it’s all out there. No one is immune.
This spiritual suggestion may sound unrealistic and difficult, but it can work miracles.
Try to clear away all the noise in your relationship, and instead of focusing on your partner’s negative qualities, allow yourself to see your beloved’s pure inner child. See your partner’s soul in its raw innocence when he/she/they were first born into this world.
If you can get beyond the complicated muck and imagine your partner when he/she/they were born fully innocent and open to giving and receiving love, then you might be able to see the light within their soul of souls and find a place within you that offers them unconditional love—despite all the outer chaos.
I know. You are probably rolling your eyes and shaking your head. “Is she kidding? He’s driving me crazy. She wants me to let it all go and picture his innocence as an infant?”
Yes. That’s what I’m suggesting.
This form of spiritual action takes faith, imagination, and a loving spirit, but that’s what you had when you were first attracted to this person, right?
Love Wisdom: Let go of the outcome.
Just like everything else in life, there is an ebb and flow to love, too. What kept me here for 50 years? The healing and hope of love, commitment, willpower, forgiveness, trust, empathy, persistence, faith, and compassion.
I love this man. My feelings are pure, simple, complicated, and uncomplicated.
Be patient. There is an ebb and flow to our minutes, feelings, and thoughts, and love may somersault its way back to your heart again when you least expect it. Just when you’ve lost all hope, love can rise to the surface magically and mysteriously.
Love’s energy fields can be challenging, exhilarating, scary, emotionally expansive, mysterious, confusing, ecstatic, and filled with a mix of pain, humility, self-discovery, and passion.
There are aspects of my relationship that I have the ability to control: my actions, words, thoughts, judgments, feelings, levels of consciousness, and reactions.
There are other aspects that I cannot control: my partner’s choices, reactions, words, actions, feelings, judgments, and levels of conscious awareness.
I can’t fix everything.
It takes two people who want to work on the relationship, two people who enjoy lifting the other person up instead of putting that person down, and two people who feel solidly committed to loving, respecting, and cherishing the other person.
When I remember that I can’t control the other person or fix the relationship all by myself, and when I surrender and let go of the outcome, there it is again. Love. Mutual love—not always, but more often than not.
I don’t know much about love, but I do know that it is sacred, spiritual, and transformational. Nothing has helped me know myself and extend myself more than learning how to give and receive love.
I hope these love seeds help you maneuver your way through the complexities and joys of learning how to love yourself and learning how to love your partner—even more than you do now.
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