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Working It

Love is hard work. I sometimes find it amazing that certain people yearn for it. I think that they honestly don’t understand what’s involved.

Love is not having things given to you, it’s doing the giving. Love isn’t getting your way; it’s letting the other person have theirs. Love is giving in and compromising; it’s putting the other person ahead of you every time, not just once in awhile. It’s learning a completely new mindset, one that most people aren’t used to. For the most part, we tend to lean towards our own self-interest above the needs of others. There are some exceptions, of course.

Love doesn’t come easily, and it’s damn near impossible to find. People who go searching for it generally find its first cousin, lust. If you’re basing your relationship on mutual physical attraction, your relationship is doomed. Just start filling out your eHarmony.com form out right now because you are going to need it right away. The physical charms fade first every time.

If you want a relationship to work, it has to be based on friendship. Wrinkles may come, boobs may sag and sooner or later even Viagra won’t get your equipment to stand at attention. What remains is each other. If you can’t stand spending time together, once the need for sex with your shining star begins to become less urgent you won’t have a whole lot of things to talk about. Soon, the eye begins to wander. Sometimes, this even happens before the grey hairs start to appear.

If you want to know if you’re really in love with someone, ask yourself if you’d want to spend every minute of every day with them even if you weren’t copulating like rabbits. It is the first question you should be asking, but it is often the last question to get asked. We get far too hung up on the physical to really understand how important the emotional support is. A nice set of abs, in the long run, becomes far less critical than a nice sense of humor.

Very often, we have a very distinct idea of what our ideal mate looks like. Eyes, hair color, body type – we can picture them in our minds from the time we’re old enough to care about such things. Strangely, we are far less demanding when it comes to the most important aspects of a relationship; who the other person is for one. What their likes and dislikes are, what their interests are, what kind of music they like and so on. Oh, we have the vaguest kinds of terms for the personality of our potential dream mate – respectful, sexual, and loyal among other commonly requested traits. Still, we have a much more complete inventory of their looks than their soul, and yet we insist on calling them our “soul mates.” That should be your first clue.

As difficult as it is to find love, it is usually twice as hard to make it work. Putting someone ahead of yourself means ignoring their idiosyncrasies, even when they drive you crazy. It means adopting the things they are passionate about as your own passions, at least to a degree. It means accepting the things you can’t change about them, and understanding that most things that drive you crazy about them will likely never change. That’s not always an easy pill to swallow, but just keep this in mind; if you fell in love with them as is, why would you want to change them?

Loving someone means putting someone else’s needs ahead of your own. That means upon occasion, mowing the lawn instead of watching the football game. It means choosing not to argue even though you know you’re right. It even means giving your best shot even when you’re not feeling your best. Sometimes, the effort is the important thing.

It’s not so much a physical effort as it is a mental and emotional one. Of course, you may occasionally be called upon to do physical labor – be it serve breakfast in bed, or build a cabinet – but in general your labor is going to be in the support department. You are head cheerleader and chief comforter. You’re the sounding board and the venting release valve. The trick of it is you don’t always know which role you’re going to be called upon to perform on any given day. One of the main job requirements is flexibility.

If it sounds overwhelming, keep this in mind – generally, in a good relationship everything you put into it returns back to you sooner or later. It’s not always at a balanced rate; sometimes one person is putting more in, sometimes the other – but it usually evens out in the end and quite frankly, in a truly good relationship nobody bothers keeping score.

Anything worth having is worth working for, and it stands to reason that if love is the thing most worth having, it is the thing most worth working for. The most fantastic thing about it is that if you have the right partner, it’s not really work – it’s truly easy.


3 Responses

  1. I really loved this blog and wanted to say hello. You write so well and I fully resonate with what you say about love.

    It would be lovely to chat with you someday just to get to know you better.

    Tomoe Cooper
    Tokyo, Japan

  2. You know love better than I do

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