Things I'm learning about love

>> Sunday, July 3, 2005

I'm 45 years old now, and I've learned a lot about life. That's not to imply that I have learned everything that there is to know, however I've gone through enough of it to know that life is a learning process and that the best way for us to learn is through our mistakes.

I was married for 18 years before I met Steph, my current partner, and love of my life. I made a lot of mistakes and assumed a lot of things regarding my relationship with my ex-husband. I was young and naive, and I didn't know most of the things that I know now.

I've learned a lot about love and about being in love. Below is a list of what I am learning and what I have learned:

  • "Unconditional" means just that – UNCONDITIONAL. If you tell your partner that you LOVE them that means you love them even when they're not very lovely. And if there are things about them that are going to hinder that unconditional love which you have committed to them, then it is best to call it off now. Don't ever believe that you can marry someone now and change things about them that you don't like later. It won't happen.

  • Love puts up with a million little quirks and irritations. Steph's changing the house around in the middle of the night while I'm asleep is not grounds for divorce. My taking my earrings off while I'm laying on the couch watching TV and leaving them on the coffee table overnight isn't a moral failing.

  • Never take the other person for granted. There is nothing that depletes the "love account" faster than taking your partner for granted.

  • Never cut your partner down or demean them in public or in front of your children. (You shouldn't do it privately either, for that matter.) There is nothing more humiliating or devastating to a person than to be cut down or demeaned in front of others.

  • Love your partner for who they are, not for what they do for you. "I love you because you make me feel good" is a selfish statement. It's all about "me." "I love you because you're a good person. And because you're a good person, you are kind to me," is about them and how that AFFECTS me and is therefore, a much better approach.

  • Don't expect your partner to act in ways that run contrary to their nature. Steph is a night owl and I am a morning person. I don't expect Steph to wake up all chipper and in a good mood in the morning. I have learned that Steph needs peace, quiet, a morning newspaper, and about thirty minutes to warm into the day. I also don't expect Steph to be in the mood to come to bed with me every night at 10:30 or 11:00. She likes to stay up and work on the computer, sometimes well into the wee hours of the morning and sleep until 9:00 or 10:00 in the morning. That's okay. I've learned to live with it, and even celebrate it. I've found that it's fun to get up in the morning and find the latest entry on her blog or the new website she sat up all night and created, or the new chapter she's edited in her book. Steph's creative juices flow in the silence and still of the wee hours when the rest of the world is asleep... and that creative fire is one of the things I love in her the most!

  • Never, NEVER, cut a person down over who and what they are. At the very core, Steph is an artist--a musician, a writer, a composer. The creative fire runs deep within her. Along with that comes the personality quirks that are common to that kind of creative genius. I knew what I was getting when I committed to Steph and I was ready to deal with all of the quirks and difficulties that come along with the talent, along with the excitement and stimulation of being partnered with someone of such creative energy.

  • Know your partner's strengths and weaknesses. Praise them for their strengths and support them and hold them up through their weaknesses.

  • Don't use your partner for sex, money, self-esteem, security, power, or position.

  • Cuddle time is essential.

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