How do you love? Who and What do you love? Why do you love? Did you love?
Answering these questions can send us in a loop. They force us to revisit, reframe, and reconsider choices, decisions, and relationships.
Love is a powerful emotion and action. It's one thing to tell a person you love them and something else to illustrate it through your deeds.
"I love you" is not only a phrase but something you do.
How do we love? Remember your childhood.
If we are lucky, our families introduce love to us as children. Parents, siblings, and close relatives provide us with the foundational skills to form future relationships. In ideal households, families say I love you and demonstrate it through affection, protection, and provision.
I received seven healthy doses of love as a child. My parents did not say, “I love you,” every day, but they showed it in other ways. They encouraged me when I succeeded, disciplined me when I failed, and ensured I had food to eat and somewhere to sleep at night. I wasn't always the best student, but my five sisters schooled me in how to treat women.
From experiences, we learn the importance of sympathy, humility, and empathy in shaping romantic partnerships and parenting opportunities.
Who and what do we love? Maybe your answer involves a spouse, child, and the Kansas City Chiefs’ Superbowl win.
Let’s explore the wife option during this week of Valentine's Day.
Marriage taught me to love. When I said, "I do," almost thirteen years ago on a beach in Mazatlán, Mexico, I didn't understand how to make a marriage work. Three children later, several unique life choices, and I continue to improve as a life partner. But I've learned a couple of things that might help your relationship.
#1. Living abroad supports alliances.
The challenge of developing new ways to communicate and managing everyday affairs forms bonds. Without other family members and friends nearby, reliance on your partner accompanies the ex-pat lifestyle.
We have our moments like any other couple, but most days, the companionship I share with my wife is stronger than crazy glue. We stick together and handle the triumphs and challenges of life.
This week our middle child spent hours in a clinic receiving nebulizer treatments to defeat an asthma attack. Instead of rushing into the office and leaving my wife and son alone, I stayed with them to offer support. Our family formed another connection during a difficult moment.
If moving abroad seems too far outside your reach, create other unique experiences that align with interdependence, intimacy, and faith.
#2. Sometimes your presence is enough
She says, “Life, business, fill in the _______ is tough,” and you hear, “Can you fix this?” The solution is compassionate support, but miscommunication convinces you that it is something else.
Think about it. Are you in "fix it mode" when she needs you to leave it alone, sit still, and listen?
I am often guilty of assuming the repairman role when my wife needs her husband. She tells me about her problems, and I search my toolbelt for personal development tools. Frequently, the solution is empathy.
Listening with the intention to meet the other person's needs is vital to a lasting romantic partnership.
Why do you love? Loving without an intention to change your partner is important.
Love is about acceptance. People can and do evolve, but evolution grows from within. Substantial changes are self-guided.
If you're on a quest to change your spouse this weekend. Abort that mission after reading this post.
I am not Negative Nancy or Negative Nathan.
We can influence others, but self-love must inspire the necessary actions to create sustainable change. They have to want to do something different.
Your reasons for love should align with your life’s core values.
Did you love? Save this question for sleep tonight or on your deathbed. Whichever one comes first is suitable. I hope it is only sleep tonight for you and me.
When answering this last question, think about the letter M in honor of Black History Month to get you started. Examining the unions of Marcus and Amy, Malcolm and Betty, Martin and Coretta, can keep you moving toward improving your relationship. These unions had challenges, but their commitments to love and justice offered clear pathways to romantic partnerships.
Below watch the video of my talk on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., where I discuss the complexity of his love for freedom and women in the civil rights movement.