There are so many lessons on love.
I continue to learn them as I go along my life's journey and some lessons surprise me but mostly I have duh moments because we know and have known all we need to know about love for a very long time.
The beauty of aging is that you settle more into what you know. I'm staring at 40 and feel very comfortable with what I know. I knew what I know now in my 20's and even now in my 30's but when we are younger we want to prove things wrong or set out in changing what we know or tweaking it to our liking so it can fit better into our plan.
I wrote a little about what I have learned on love for my sons here and really believe I have given them a great foundation that they may glance at in their 20's and 30's but truly get when they're older. Or maybe they'll surprise me and get the lesson much sooner than I ever did. My parents didn't give me their thoughts on love like I'm giving my sons so we shall see.
If you didn't click on the link above, here is what I said:
1. Love is a beautiful, wonderful thing. It should never make you feel bad about yourself ever! Love should bring out the best in you. When it begins to bring out the worst in you, know that it is time to walk away and be truthful with why you are walking away. I hope you find a love that never ends but if it does, appreciate it for what it was. Do not walk away with bitterness in your heart. Walk away grateful that you experienced a love many only dream about.
2. If you both like the same girl, don't make her choose one of you. Both of you need to walk away. If she knows you are brothers, she should never put you in that position. The world is full of billions of people. She is not the only girl out there. You will both find someone else.
3. Always be honest with who you are in a relationship with. Treat them with respect and don't take them for granted. The more open and honest you both are in the relationship, the better it will be. Treat her the same way you want to be treated. Respect her always. Treat her as you treat me, your Mother.
4. Be accountable for your part if things go wrong in the relationship. Don't place all blame on your partner. Know what you did that made things go wrong and if it is the end of the relationship, know how to do it better in the next relationship. Every relationship will teach you; it will teach you what you loved about it and what you never want to experience again - pay attention.
5. Never force love. If she doesn't want you, move on and see it as a blessing. You want to be with someone who can't wait to be in your presence and loves everything about you. I thought long and hard about this one and I am going to say it because I think it is assumed and never said - Don't ever rape anyone! No means no - no matter the circumstance.
The 5 points above were written to my teenage sons but they hold so true for anyone.
I have been lucky in love so far. Yes it has been sunshine and roses and many things amazing but there have been thorns and storms too. I'm a hopeless romantic and when I'm in, honey I'm in! This is who I am. The younger me would forget everything and focus 100% on the love before me in a partner and make them my everything. They became my project and I'd anticipate their every need and fill it, find every wound and heal it, find old scars and tend to them. I forgot about that beautiful word reciprocation because as long as I was giving my all to them, who cared what I was getting in return? After all, I was in love!
To say I am specific and cautious about love these days is an understatement.
Most importantly, I care about how I feel. I pay a lot of attention to what I feel and I ignore nothing. In the past I became a master of quieting the voice telling me what was not right. As long as I let him shine all the while convincing myself that my role as his background singer would sustain me and all the times I felt less than were not important, love would be enough.
I vowed to never ever do that again.
Dating allows you to run across many different kinds of people and boy do you learn a lot! I have come across grown men still looking for their Mothers, some looking for a woman to live off of, and some with no clue on what they want. All they know is that they're a man. All projects and I am not interested in projects.
What interests me now is someone who is whole.
Someone who knows what they want.
Someone who treats me kindly.
Someone who treats me with the upmost respect.
Someone who is very proud to be with me.
Someone who does not make me feel bad about who I am.
Someone who does not bring up every wrong thing I've ever done at every chance he gets.
Someone who does not get mad and bring up last week's fight every chance he gets.
Someone who trusts me.
Does this sound familiar?
The gotcha-gotcha here is that everything we need to know about love we've known all along. It's right there in 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8.
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails."
I'm a lifelong student and not claiming to know the secret formula on love but I do know that everything I need to know is in the passage above.
My focus going forward on love will always be to find in someone all these qualities and be someone who possesses all these qualities as well.
I have found great loves, but I refuse to be a slave to them.
I may have found my greatest love yet or maybe I have not.
I know what love is and what it is not.
I am whole and do not need validation.
I am not afraid to walk away from any love that is not all of this.
Love is not complex, we just make it so.
I believe in love always because after all, it never fails.
Don't love with your idea of love, love how God told us to love.
Be love and LOVE!