After Cupid Shoots You: A Reflection on Love

I LOVE love & celebrating love. I had a huge work event today & enjoyed watching the social media posts of all of the couples. As I typed up my message, I started really thinking about love & what it means to love.

1. Love is not always neat & easy. There is this myth that once you fall in love you live “happily ever after.” Loving someone (and yourself) through the darkness can be difficult. We humans do not always yield to our highest good. Sometimes things get out of order in relationships & it takes hard, collaborative work to put things back in order

2. Love & relationships are a slice of our identity pie. We are so much more than girlfriends, boyfriends & spouses. The best relationships try to honor the fullness of our humanity & allow us to explore the many facets of our identity beyond the insecurity, guilt & shame of living & expressing our whole selves.

3. No two relationships are the same. I enjoy learning from people who have been married longer than Che & I, but I don’t seek to duplicate or imitate them. Relationships are as diverse as the paint on the walls in our houses. You have to come to an understanding with the person(s) you’ve committed to & move on from there.

4. Needs & tastes change over time. As you & your partner grow & change, so will your relationship. Your partner may need certain things now that they didn’t need even a year ago. Communication is key to navigate this successfully. When couples can’t navigate this it often leads to break up or divorce.

5. Assume nothing. Don’t assume that your partner knows that you love them. Don’t assume that your partner doesn’t care about something. When in doubt ask. If you can’t prove it confirm it to be true, then release & move on.

6. Your partner may not express love the way you want, that does not mean they don’t love you! I love fresh flowers so much I started buying them for myself. I don’t expect my husband to give me flowers. He enjoys giving other types of amazing gifts. If you want something, instead of twisting your partners arms, just purchase or gift it to yourself.

7. Keep people out of your business. Don’t complain to other people about your spouse. It leaves the door open for them to eventually complain about your spouse. People are not neutral & they have their own baggage. If you & your spouse can’t handle it, consider going to a minister or therapist. The therapist is great because he/she is usually neutral & can be trusted by both parties. Others will usually have a bias.

8. Try new things together. The brain craves novelty! Work with it by “pre- arranging” the novelty. Don’t wait for life to create it for you! Jump in front of it!

Remember that love is beautiful after Cupid shoots you, but it’s still a shot!

Don’t Squeeze The Life Out Of Your Partner or Relationship…

I’ve been having a lot of conversations with my husband, with my friends and with family members about dating and marriage. One of the things that I said was don’t confuse possessiveness OR clinginess with love and attention. In my first marriage that ended in divorce after 5 years, my ex husband didn’t have any friends or interests outside of our relationship. That was a recipe for disaster, because anything that “competed” with him for my attention was dismissed or frowned upon, even if it was healthy.

When my current husband and I started dating, we talked about how sometimes a person can squeeze something so tight that it squeezes the life out of it.

Love-does-not-consist-in-gazing

Don’t get me wrong… quality one-on-one time is very important in a relationship. My husband and I go on a date alone at least once a week and we try to take a vacation outside of Chicago for a week every year.

A healthy relationship and marriage should be one where you are allowed to evolve and grow. Speak to your partner regularly about his/her goals, and try to support him/her in those goals. Of course, you don’t want to support him/her in their goals if it is something that will harm them (e.g. my husband is diabetic, so I’m not going to support him going to an all you can eat dessert bar or event). Our identities are multilayered. We can be lovers or spouses, and parents… but we can also be entrepreneurs, ministers and volunteers. I don’t think there is anything wrong with a person who wants to stay at home to take care of the kids, but I do think there is something wrong if someone feels forced to stay at home and take care of the kids. It’s also normal at the beginning of a relationship to be “addicted” to each other. It’s so exciting to feel a deep connection with someone that you’re attracted to, especially if one of your life goals is to get married, or find a monogamous relationship, but don’t lose sight of your dreams, your goals and your path, for the sake of a relationship. Speaking from experience that usually ends in something negative… the end of a relationship. The end of your happiness. or worse, the end of who you truly are…