There is this theory out there that when we are in love the relationship that follows is going to sustain itself on the strength of those few months, or if we are lucky years, of intense, passionate and self-defining feelings. Not so, I am afraid…
There is a major difference between being in love and loving another. We fall in love with another, or at least that is the consensus and it is wonderful no question about it. However, that does not change the fact that falling in love happens to us, we may be willing participants but in many ways it is not a choice. For many conscious and above all unconscious reasons we are compelled to adore, worship, gaze relentlessly and have fabulous sex with another, among other things. And so it should be, for a while anyway because truth be told it generally does not last that long.
Intensity of feelings cannot be sustained for long periods of time, life gets in the way: careers, work, children and personalities get in the way. What was not only acceptable but considered cute or adorable can become annoying habit in the light of a constraining daily routine. And that is when love comes in. We choose to love someone in the daily acts of kindness and consideration that we provide each other, in the words too: who is not affected by loving words. Actions however, are louder than words.
To love someone is to make them feel valued in the relationship as an individual and part of a team. To love someone is to see them as they are and accept them as they are, to continually re-assess our roles and functions in the relationship dynamic without always wanting to be on top. This is not a competition for power. To love someone is to know that it is exactly as it should be and that we would not be anywhere else, regardless of the sacrifices, the inconveniences and the compromises that have to be made. And all of this is hard work, it is hard work on ourselves, not on the other.