Love has been a topic of discussion for as long as man has roamed the earth. It is a topic that is so consuming that there are adages, “how to” books, articles, novels, potions, and old wives tales that dealwith falling in love, staying in love, and falling out of love. I’m not sure how you would qualify this post…but you can decide for yourself when you finish reading it.
If you have read any of my other posts, then you know that I believe love is cyclical. I now add to that my belief that love occurs in two phases: falling in love and staying in love.
Falling in love is a beautiful thing. It is not, however, something that happens without a conscious choice on our part. Any man or woman reading this post would be hard pressed to name a person he or she fell in love that was not in his or her social circle. While no man or woman can force him or herself to fall in love with another individual, he or she can certainly influence the choice by being selective about the persons he or she chooses to spend time with. While some people fall in love through an active attempt to get to know/dateanother person, some people fall in love with their friends, and in both cases, the object of affection is a person whose company they chose to share. Though we cannot directly influence the development of those feelings for another, falling in love is the easiest part of love. The harder part by far is staying in love.
You only have to be part of one failed relationship to know that some of the very things that make you fall in love with another person become the things that can make you fall out of love. Through the veil of new love, some of us have difficulty truly seeing the object of our affection, seeing him or her flaws and all. Staying in love requires
not only being able to see those flaws, but being able to accept them. Staying in love also means being able to love a person they way they need to be loved.
When love is new, we can’t get enough of the other person. We love the touch of them, the smell of them. We love having conversations with them about everything and nothing. We share our fears, our triumphs, our hopes and our dreams. We welcome them into our lives, allowing them to meet our families and friends, and make them part of
our lives, often planning our day-to-day and future activities around their schedules or with them in mind. They occupy a space in our hearts, in our conversations, and in our thoughts. We find little difficulty expressing our love to this other person, because that expression of love is filling and fulfilling. As love grows, our expressions of love can become a lot more tenuous.
It sometimes happens that when we become secure in love, we shift our attention to other things. We might shift it to our children, we might shift it to our job, we might even shift it back to the friends who took a bit of a backseat as we were exploring a new love. The little gestures we made during courtship might all but fade away. Gone might
be the flowers, the dates, the dinners, the lingerie, and the random “I was thinking about you” texts. We might not think to ask a partner how there day was, and those conversations we used to have about nothing, the time we used to fall asleep on the phone, and the times we could sit on the phone for hours become fond memories. No more does the sight of the other person give us butterflies, nor do we long to hold their hand or kiss their face. We might not go out of our way to do little things to make them smile, whether that is to take out the trash, wash the car, or tell them how much we appreciate the things they do.
There is no blueprint, but every man and woman capable of love isalso capable of telling his or her lover what he or she needs to feel loved. We ask for it through our complaints. We might complain about how we don’t spend time together, how we don’t get help around the house, how we don’t feel like we are appreciated, how we miss our
lovers touch, kiss, sweet words or thoughtful gifts. Complaints fall on deaf ears…because you attract more flies with honey than with vinegar. Just like you might want your lover to know how to love you, you need to be able to tell him or her how you need to be loved. Ask for it, and make sure you can give as good as (or better than) as
you get. Sometimes you have to.
Communication is key. Part of the difficulty we have is when we don’t know how to tell people what we need. That is the thing that makes the difference in our ability to stay in love. When we talk about how the “little things become the big things”, that is exactly what we mean.