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I Knew It Was Something Special…

Via Postsecret

Via Postsecret

Edited: November 18th, 2012

Its More Than a Feeling: Love is a Verb

Love is a verb here in my room. – Incubus

A lot of what we’ve been led to believe about love is bullshit. Thank you movies, television, and women’s magazines. Sheryl Paul says many of us carry beliefs about love and relationships that simply aren’t true:

• Love is a feeling. If you’re not feeling love, then you don’t really love your partner.

• If you have to question whether or not you love your partner, you obviously don’t love him/her and it’s time to walk away.

• You should “just know that it’s right.” If you don’t have that feeling of rightness, then it’s clearly not right.

• You should feel head over heels “in love”, which means butterflies and fireworks.

• Your partner should make you feel alive, whole, and fulfilled.

Perhaps this may be the experience of love in the beginning, but anyone who’s been in a long term relationship knows the hearts and butterflies – i.e., infatuation – wears off in time. Love feels good of course, but its not simply an emotion – its a doing.

Paul writes, Once the honeymoon wears off, love is primarily a verb, and to love someone is an active experience. Love is action. Love is commitment. Love is making your partner a sandwich even when you don’t “feel” like it. Love is recognizing that intimate, committed relationships are crucibles inside which both partners will be asked to grow emotionally and spiritually and learn about the barriers that prevent them from loving. As Alanis Morissette said in a brilliant interview with Piers Morgan, “Love, to me, is a verb. Love kicks in for real when things get hard… Love, for me, is when I don’t feel very loving. It’s an action.

Love is when Terry is driving me nuts but I refrain from biting his head off because its not his fault I’m in a bad mood. Love is when I get up to grab him a ziploc bag from the kitchen so he doesn’t have to even though I’m tired and feeling lazy. Love is when I keep my unpleasant thoughts about him during an argument to myself, because some things can’t be un-said. Love is running to CVS in the middle of the night before we leave town for a heating pad when he’s having a gallbladder attack so bad he’s laying in bed crying. Love is when I call him on his shit because I know he’ll benefit from what I have to say, even – especially – if its what he doesn’t want to hear. And vice versa.

I don’t feel lovey-dovey when I do these things. But its in the doing of love that creates an environment where the love feeling can flourish. I enjoy the emotion of love as much as anyone, but without the doing that feeling can quickly be replaced by anger, frustration, resentment, or loneliness. Without the doing, we can jump from one relationship to another looking for the ‘right’ one where we don’t have to work at it. The Disneyland relationship, where fireworks go off at 9pm on the dot every evening.

Paul continues, When the heart-thumping, stomach-churning feeling is gone but you’re still motivated to spend time with your partner, when something deeper than thoughts or feelings draws you to your partner like a magnetic pull (sometimes strong, sometimes less strong), when you keep showing up in concrete, tangible ways for the relationship even when it’s difficult, when there’s an ease between you even when it’s not always easy, this is real love.

It’s time we change “you complete me” to “you inspire me to become the best version of myself” or “with you, I will grow and evolve in my capacity to love.”

Edited: October 24th, 2012