These days it seems like love has given up on mankind. The divorce rate is soaring up over 50%, marriage’s average life-span shortens each day, and our world is full of jaded people with closed off hearts, but there is still that little sparkle in the eye of the person you love and you are going to go for it anyway.
Good for you!
But, you need to know a few things about love. Whether you are 35 and recently divorced or 19 and in love for the first time, love is and will be an incredibly challenging event. Most of the people you talk to who were married for 60 years will tell you the secret is hard work, love, or a combination of the two.
So what lessons do you need to learn before you hop onto the roller coaster that we call love?
- Love takes courage
Love might be one of the scariest things that you can possibly embark upon. I know that I have competed in MMA, fought all over the country in martial arts competitions, quit my job to move across the country for a new possibility, started several blogs, and lots of other crazy things, but by far, the craziest and most vulnerable I have ever felt has been in love.
Loving someone takes a level of vulnerability that many of us just don’t feel capable of, and while it can be scary, if you want to bask in the glory of love, you are going to have to risk getting burned. If you can’t open up to the possibility of harm, then you simply can’t love.
- Love is the easy part, but relationships take work
Once you get past the fear of opening yourself up to someone, love is the easy part. We don’t control or decide who we love, it just happens naturally, organically, spontaneously outside of our control, but keeping that love together, well that takes WORK.
Keeping love together and burning strong takes a life long commitment to each other, to growing together, to accepting each other, and to respecting each other each and every single day. As soon as your commitment to make things work starts to die down, your love is going to die down as well.
- Moving into together changes things
Ah, young love, and then…cohabitation turns spring into winter, the world upside down, and makes fire turn ice cold, but don’t fret, it doesn’t have to be the end. You must know that moving in together is going to change the dynamic of your love. As you move in with your love, red hot flames of passions will slowly turn into a different type of much deeper love.
You become more familiar with each other, you see each other’s weaknesses and shortcomings more, you realize what about them drives you crazy, but just remember lesson #2: love is easy, keeping it together takes work.
- If you don’t work to prevent it, you will take your partner for granted
One of the surest things to happen in anything that lasts for a long period of time is that you will start to take it for granted. It is human nature to provide only the minimum amount of effort to keep something going.
When you first started driving you were attentive, both hands on the wheel, and you felt every single bump in the road, but as time went on you stopped paying attention, and now you can practically drive somewhere while reading a book and texting at the same time (Please I do not recommend this at all!).
The point is, as things get familiar, you are going to pay less attention to them, you are going to focus your attention elsewhere naturally, just keep an eye on the road and remember that you love this person, and try your best to not go into autopilot.
- True love is not conditional
True love is not conditional on your partner’s behaviors, beliefs, actions, or words to you. When you truly love someone, you love them as is, no matter what. That doesn’t mean that you have to spend eternity with a person you love, sometimes it might be best to move on, but if you truly love someone, you always want the best for them no matter what.
Try not to make your love and affection conditional upon the way your lover acts, treats you, or behaves, but instead focusing on appreciating them as they are and loving them for who they are.
- The person you love is going to change
If you love someone long enough, you will eventually love someone else, and no, I don’t mean you will fall in love elsewhere. People change over time, it is inevitable that you will change, I will change, the world will change. The only thing truly certain in life is change.
It is important to realize that people will change over time, and if you truly want your love to last, then you will need to make a commitment to love your lover no matter who they become.
- You have to love yourself before you can love someone else.
Before you can ever truly love someone else, you will have to learn to love yourself first. Loving yourself isn’t always easy, we spend so much time comparing ourselves to the people we see on T.V, to what others have and possess, and by measuring how we stack up against the world, but before you can love another, you must be able to love yourself.
If you don’t love yourself, you don’t love others, you just love how they make you feel, what they offer you, what they do for you each day. By becoming self reliant and learning to love and find enjoyment from yourself, you can then be set free to love another as they truly deserve.
- Life is going to try and tear your love apart
Things come up that make it hard to love someone else sometimes. It may be family life, kids, work, money, or any other number of issues that can cause a divide between you and your lover, but if you truly love someone, then love can conquer anything. If you don’t believe in the power of love to conquer all, then there is no point in loving someone at all, because we all know that someday death is coming for everyone.
Life often gets in the way of love, it cuts our time short, adds stress to our relationships, and prevent us from spending the time together that we would like to spend together. Romeo and Juliet had to contend with murderous inter-family warfare, but at least you probably don’t have that to deal with, so it will be ok.
- Respect is vital for love to last.
Respect is a vital component of a successful love formula. We arent always going to agree with the people we love, but if we want things to last, we have to learn to respect their opinions and beliefs regardless.
Respect goes beyond tolerance and into a realm of adoration. When you respect someone, you don’t tolerate their beliefs and secretly chuckle inside at the absurdity of how they feel, you actually commit to understanding their viewpoint and you try your best to acknowledge their belief as valid and important.
- Love doesn’t have to be logical
As I mentioned before, we don’t get to decide or control who we love. Love is a condition of the heart and as an emotional entity, it doesn’t have to make sense. Love trumps all, and it will motivate people to do things that they could never logically explain or imagine themselves doing.
What do you think about love? Any lessons you have learned that helped you keep your love together? Leave a comment and let me know what you think!