Saturday, January 2, 2016

Are we still in love?

I have heard various friends considering whether or not they are still in love, after 5, 10 or more years of marriage.  I bet there are very helpful books, articles and videos on the subject but I think the situation could be simpler than what needs a whole book.  If you like a person very much, you can decide you love them.  If they like you and your awareness of that fact really lifts, delights and fascinates you, you love them.

But what if they have gotten to be the same old thing?  What if baking them brownies or getting them a sparkling piece of jewelry gives you no thrill, even though it used to?  Should you pack your bags and move out?  We hear all the time that marriages in the US dissolve 50% of the time.  Don't you want that old thrill?  Shouldn't you make an effort to split your belongings between you and have the courage and energy to find someone new?

Maybe.  I am writing this because I hear intelligent, mature, smart people ask questions of their relation that seem to be misleading.  My parents divorced and from the standpoint of a child, it was probably a good idea.  I am certainly not totally against splitting up but I am against the notion that two people are either in love or aren't.  It seems much more helpful and accurate to me to say that love is built and love is maintained.  

I have heard that a fast way to be grateful for the presence of someone you love, a parent or a sister or a lover, is to reflect a second on the ways you two might never have been together.  Different parents, different health profiles, accidents, hot-blooded arguments, political or religious differences, who knows what - and you might have never existed or met or noticed each other.  If you talk to me nicely and I get to experience your wit, your fears, your delights, I may well find myself drawn to you.  It doesn't take much.  We are animals that pair up, after all.

So, paraphrasing JFK (a former US president, boys and girls), ask not what your relation has done for you lately.  Ask what you have done for your others lately.  A real smile, genuinely feeling the other's frustration, sorrow, disappointment - small moves and actions can often make the difference in another's life that only you can deliver.

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