This morning I spilled my can of already ground coffee – twice! – not because I’m clumsy (maybe I am) but because I was thinking about someone I know who got married yesterday. I was distracted wondering about her reasons for marriage.
Love is a tricky business. And my reasons for getting married when I was younger are different from my reasons for getting married in my “advancing” age. And, we all define love a bit differently.
This person I know wanted to get married. The person she wanted to marry didn’t want to engage in such a formality. So, she went out in search of someone who did. She found him and yesterday, she got married.
I was talking with a friend about that marriage and we agreed that she didn’t get married for the deep passionate love we all think we’re looking for. Instead, she searched and found a partner who could move with her through the rest of her life. Someone to take care of her (and her for him). Someone who had some of the same interests, but not all. Someone who was gentle and listened to her. Someone who let her live her life and was there for her when she came home at the end of the day. That sounds like love to me.
I read an article recently that suggested that love is about connection and kindness. For example, when your kids ask you to look at some “cool car” passing by you, they are connecting with you. Your response is love. When your partner tells you that he/she had a bad day for the fifth time that week, they’re not just complaining — they’re looking for a connection and support. Love, right?
What do we know about what doesn’t work in the world of love? Contempt and criticism and being disconnected from your partner — it’s the number one killer. Or using “love” as a weapon, responding minimally or ignoring or shutting your partner out.
Kindness is what keeps us together with our partners, our friends, our children. It’s like glue. It makes us feel validated, understood, and, yes, loved.
I know people who don’t have much kindness in them. At least not on a consistent basis. And, even for those of you who do (which is all of you!), kindness still needs to be stretched and used. Just like a muscle it can atrophy. Plus, it’s easy in a long-term relationship to just forget about it. To get distracted or frustrated. And, it’s the most difficult to use during a fight. But, kindness must be the focus of any relationship. It must be used early in a relationship and often – throughout it. This, my friends, is not rocket science.
So, I think her marriage is for love. For lots of reasons, but not the least of which, he’s kind to her and she’s kind to him. What could be more beautiful than that? That is love.
Have a wonderful day!