It all starts the same way. The flowers and chocolates, the pounding heart at the phone calls, the text message you read three times before you press ‘send’ to respond. You want it to be perfect but in your mind you know there is really no such thing as ‘perfect’ in this imperfect world. But you have faith and hope and your heart was sold on the ‘fairytale’ when you were young. The fairytale that somewhere out there is someone who will love you for who you are and you in return will love them.
As a natural therapist and stress management specialist I spend a lot of my time assisting people to look at how they interact in relationships. I am not just talking here about couples. I am talking about relationship love – the love between a mother and child, the love between two friends and of course the love between two people in an intimate, passionate, physical union. There are many different kinds of love but ultimately they are all – love.
So what does it mean to say…”I love you” and how does your partner understand what you mean? Since we come from varying backgrounds with different family values and different types of education, how do you know that what you say is being interpreted the way you mean it by the other person? You don’t. There is no way that we can know that when someone says they love you that they actually mean love defined in the terms of what you think love means, and that is where the miscommunication can begin.
Friendship is a kind of love, which does not have the same kind of passion as lovers. It can be used to describe a loyalty of friends, between family members and community and often has a basis of equality where people know each other really well, get on quite well and have a number of things in common. It can also exist between people who don’t really have a lot in common but a mutual respect for each other’s values and of course lovers can also be good friends.
Then there is the love of parents for children and children for their parents. One is protective and nurturing and transmutes as the child grows to a family bond and friendship. However these relationships, although beautiful, are different to that of partners in a bond of mutual desire and passion.
In Greek the word ‘Eros’ is a word used for passionate love which has with it a sense of sensuality and longing. This is often applied to someone we seek as a partner. Unfortunately this kind of love can often dissipate over the years when we face pressures of long hours at work, lack of money to pay bills, others interfering in our relationship with varying opinions, exposure of our intimacy to gossip, pulling in different directions with our goals and many more distractions which turn what was once treasured into a relationship where two people don’t even want to be in the same space.
There is a basic difference between love and loving. Loving someone can often be tinged with a mixture of our expectations, desires and dreams so we come to expect to see the other person fulfilling the love we want to receive and that it will ‘look’ a certain way. When it does not fit the image in our head anymore, due to our personal definitions, we no longer define it as love. So what began as perhaps a wonderful loving relationship becomes a harness to keep us imprisoned, in an atmosphere we do not want to be in, with a person we become more and more antagonistic towards. Of course like attracts like and they usually start to feel the same way about us and then the relationship disintegrates.
There is a love however that transcends this. It comes from the depth of the heart, beyond the mortgage payments and the fighting kids, beyond the long office hours and the fact that there are no groceries in the fridge and you are too tired to go and buy them. This is a love that comes from the depths of our maturity of being, from that connection of one heart straight to the other and when it is felt it is as real as the breath that permeates your lungs.
Think. Have you ever loved anyone like that? Have you ever allowed yourself to look past the idiosyncrasies of your partner and allowed yourself to feel with complete trust and faith that kind of love regardless of whether they love you in return or not?
What if you could love like that? What would it mean for your relationship with your partner and what if they loved you like that in return? What if it didn’t really matter in the long term about all the hardships of the day but what really mattered was that at the end of each day you were both together – if not always physically possible at least in that connection with each other? What difference would love like this make to your life – right now? What a huge risk to take with your heart.
We look at each other and see divisions, we turn on the TV and hear the hardships of others, a child loses its toy and cries from the heart at its loss. What does it take to love freely with passion, to connect, to dare to dream and be empowered enough to follow your heart?
Is your relationship working out for you? If not let us help it reach its maximum potential.