Love is always about giving without regard to your own lossesWhat is love? The entire idea of love is an ever-expanding gray area of life. Love is constant, persistent, ambitious, and pro-active. A ring on a finger doesn't mean that you love someone. The size or shape doesn't mean anything. The grandeur of the proposal or a storybook romance means nothing. What ultimately matters, at the end of the day, more than anything else, is that you make each other happy, you want to be together, you trust one another, and you want to share your life's little details with the person you love. You want to do that so much that you are prepared to sacrifice everything to do it. Everything means everything and you are willing to give up everything completely if needed. Everything includes but is not limited to family, friends, fears, daydreams, hopes, fairytale weddings, pets, cars, careers, and freedom.
There is a common misconception that if you truly love someone, then you should never ask them to sacrifice any of that. I now know is that it isn't that you never ask, it is that you shouldn't have to ask. The other person should be so devoted that those things get sacrificed as needed, naturally, to make you happy, and from that everything else flows. If you can trust someone to sacrifice when needed and then tell them you need them, they will find a way to do fulfill your needs, even to suit the most irrational feelings. It should not become an argument, and you should not need to use spiteful tactics or temper tantrums to be heard.
There should never be a give and take. As a friend of mine once said, it is about the give and give, and giving without regard to your own losses. There should not be a scoreboard brought up in every argument of what I did for you and you did for me. Love is not a competition to see who can do more for the other person, nor is it a way of using guilt to make the other person do what you need them to do. A real, loving relationship does not have competition but encouragement, and guilt is not a word synonymous with love, but something that actively works against love as insecurity. Love has no demands, no expectations, no obligations, and no set itemized calendar of when it occurs, with whom, at what point in your life.
There should not be high drama. There should be a quiet stoicism, constant underlying peace even in an argument, and even in the more intense moments, an inherent trust. You should know that the next morning you will wake up, unpunished, with a new day ahead and no conceivable notion that the argument will extend past the end of the day even though the hurt might.
You should never fear talking to your significant other about an issue that is bothering you for the fear that it will cause an argument. You should never have to hold back, but sometimes do so to comfort the other person. Mistakes should be looked over graciously, maybe even laughed at, but not at your own expense. Mistakes should never be brought back up as weapons. Forgiveness is not given gratuitously but generously.
You should wake up in the morning and be the exact same person you were the day before, but feel better about it because you are loved for who you are. It doesn't mean you don't encourage the other person to be better, but it means you are you and they love you for you, not for who you could have been or who they want you to be. There should be no pressure. No pressure for a title in the relationship, no pressure for anything except to let that relationship grow on its own. You should not feel the urgency to be with someone, but miss the joy of being with them when they are away. That being said you should not mourn them for too long. Mourning is selfish and needed but should not be done forever because then you are disregarding the love that person had for you by not getting out and celebrating the life they have left with you. Someone you love should bring out the best in you, not the worst.
Holly D'Andrea, attorney
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