The feeling of love is like an ocean wave. It comes, then it goes, then it comes again. This goes for love in general, not just romantic love. We sometimes love our partners, sometimes we’re too preoccupied, sometimes we love our friends, sometimes they disappoint us, sometimes we love our children, sometimes we get too exhausted to see them as perfect humans, sometimes we love ourselves and sometimes we don’t.
A story from Stephen R. Covey got to me the other day. It’s about a man who felt he no longer loved his wife nor was loved in return.
“Love her,” he told the man.
“I told you, the feeling just isn’t there anymore,” the man replied.
“Love her,” Covey replied.
“You don’t understand. The feeling of love just ins’t there,” repeated the man.
“Then love her. If the feeling isn’t there, that’s a good reason to love her.”
“But how do you love when you do not love?” asked the man.
Covey replied: “My friend, love is a verb. Love—the feeling—is a fruit of love, the verb. So love her. Sacrifice. Listen to her. Empathize. Appreciate. Affirm her. Are you willing to do that?”
Love is a conscious commitment. A daily, even an hourly commitment.
Now, what if we grew up not knowing what love looks like. A love without judgement, conditions, emotional rollercoasters. Anodea Judith, a clinical psychologist uses fantasy as a way to discovering what real love would feel like.
“Soak your cells in this feeling. Reprogram the body with this nourishment.”
…”begin this fantasy imagining ourselves at a young age and gradually growing up with this feeling present. How would it have felt at three years old to have had this kind of support and love? How would it have felt to go to school if you had had this kind of love? How would it have felt going through puberty? Would you walk, talk, or reach out differently? What would college have been like? How would your marriage or your relationship to your children be different?”
Fantasize with me today. Hold her hand. Love her.