LOVE takes many forms. There’s the comfortable and deep sense of connection formed within a happy long-term relationship, and the tender/undying affection we feel for our children. The yearning for sexual intimacy or a romantic affair can be powerful, as can the charitable love of other human beings and the desire to help them, which is the healing force in our world. There are the things we really like to own and do. And, of course, there is the First Love, God’s divine love for His/Her creation, and our best efforts to love God back, through practices such as worship, prayer and spreading seeds of kindness.
But the love songs on the radio are about one kind of love, the passion, the sex, the longing, and the intense pain of loss and betrayal. This is a young person’s love—it’s like riding a spinning, high speed teeter-totter—one second you’re way up, even flung into other realities, and the next second you hit a wall hard and slide way, way down. This young love/passion can stir up feelings of jealousy, which the possessive person blames on his partner, but actually stems from his own insecurities and lack of trust. I’m not good enough for her. I know she’s cheating on me. It’s a time of flirting and fun, of falling in love, yet not wanting to be tied down. It’s a confusing time of life and our best hope lies in developing a deeper understanding of love: It’s not about what I want—it’s about what I give.
It is? Yup, because love is irresistible. Shower your partner with sincere loving thoughts and actions and watch what happens; loving thoughts and actions are soon returned to you. I once heard a therapist say on TV: Men, if you want great sex, help your girlfriend/wife with the household chores. Show an interest in where she needs help and take over those jobs. To women she said: Men need sex to bond. If you aren’t there for them, they may look elsewhere, so be there and make that connection.
Nothing is that simple, of course. I can only tell you what I’ve gleaned from my own learning experiences: Communication channels must remain open–don’t turn away from your partner or friend. For a healthy relationship, both parties need to stop thinking about only themselves, and listen to the other, like we do for our best friends. Hearing with our ears and our hearts is a great love-grower.
People, especially the men, from my parent’s generation would rather have lost a limb than open up, but this is a different time. Today’s young people are tuned into each other and you can learn how to listen with your hearts. When you understand your partner and what he or she was/is really feeling, miracles happen.
Some people don’t need a personal love-relationship to be happy, but if you do, look to those who have succeeded. Ask their advice and apply it to see if it works for you. I imagine the most important counsel is to practice kindness, for tenderness follows kindness and love deepens.
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