Is it any wonder we have a hard time determining who to love if we have never been in a relationship that led to commitment and marriage? How are we supposed to know what we want and need in a partner when we have never had the “right” one?
If we cannot truly know what the right partner looks until we have it already…maybe this is the wrong angle to take. I have wanted every partner I have evet had to be the right one…but they we appeared to have disagrees. Was I therefore wrong about my feelings? Is it just luck when you find someone who feels the same way at the same time?
We have to believe in our partners, believe they know what it means when they say, “I love you.” Even if our love ends before forever, we have to somehow trust ourselves and our partners. How do we learn this?
Love is indescribable. Love is not teachable from textbooks and chalkboards. Learning to love is a rite of passage; one that we all must go through alone. But how do we know we have got it right? Just like climbing a mountain, there are many false peaks to love.
As we are thrown into this trial by fire, the hardest challenge is to build our ability to trust ourselves. Advice and how-tos are everywhere; all professing to know the secret. How tempting it is, though, to want to help people find the light of love once you yourself have found it! It seems that you truly cannot hurry love, but you can make the road much more confusing.
Our knowledge of love may need to be built up over time like a stalactite. Unconsciously, knowledge has been filtering in from our own families and from the media. These thoughts and beliefs influence how we maneuver through the obstacles we will all face.
In the spring of our loving lives, we begin slowly, with beautifully irrational crushes; obsessions with some boy or girl in class who we get nervous around, dream about and stare at way too often. Without knowing it, we have begun our journey. It seems natural to start loving with this innocent romanticism.
This love is about developing our emotional hearts, exercising our love muscles. Looking back at my school-age crushes, my feelings were more about me than anything the boys were or did. It was one-sided practice love.
Teenage dating is practice of a different kind. Mutual attraction and affection allow basic exploration of the acts of love. We learn to kiss, hold hands, spend time together as more than friends, and, most importantly, how to communicate our love to our partner. By trying these first two-sided partnerships we experiment with what works and what feels good.
Are we really ever compatible because of shared interests or how we like to spend our Friday nights? Or is it just that we both decide to make the relationship work and be the best partner we can be for the other? My own interests change from year to year; my partners have all introduced me to new interests as well. I can adapt to spend my Fridays in new ways. So what is the essential element to a relationship that works?
Most romantic movies end with the first kiss, at the beginning of a beautiful romance. What comes after, Hollywood? What does it take to maintain love and commit to love? What are the characteristics of a husband or a wife that we should look for? I just want more than a passionate kiss.
So many of my married acquaintances speak about the ups and downs of marriage, complaining for themselves more than offering advice. I have never expected marriage to be utter bliss, but so many people seem to want out when things get hard. Our culture and times are making it acceptable to end relationships when they are no longer fun. Are we happier when we are unwilling to persist with our partners through the hard times and seek greener pastures or deeper pockets or younger breasts?
I just wish we could stop idealizing love by selling it short- by limiting the love stories we tell to the romance of the falling into love. We need more examples of love that lasts and deepens.
As I maintain an open heart to welcome another man who I can love, and by whom I can be loved, I am looking for one thing above all: the desire to actively participate in maintaining and sustaining love. I want someone who knows that love gets better with age, that love is much more than a first kiss.
I am not done learning yet myself, but I am putting aside as much advice as I can, getting in touch with what I truly want and trying to find a really good partner for myself…not just a good person, a good friend, or even a good potential father. Those all can be aspects of the person, but I took those pieces of advice too literally, and I have forgotten to find my own “definition” of Mr. Right may be defined differently and that too is part of this process.