Love. The Beatles said it’s all we need. But how do we know it’s real? This is my second of seven questions to ask on your road to change, and the next blog in the series “Seven Questions on the Road to Change,” (The first question is “Is the Message Real?”) I had to learn what love is not, before I could understand what love is.
My first marriage ended in divorce, but my second marriage is still going strong after 17 years and two kids. Why is it possible to have a completely different outcome when in a similar kind of relationship? Of course it has to do with the two individuals trying to make the marriage work, but I believe it’s much deeper than that. It has to do with why we’re in the relationship and whether we are doing things for the right reason.
When I got married for the first time, I was 25. Coming from a strict family—my parents were from Sicily—I did not have the same freedoms that many of my friends did. We were expected to live with our parents until we married, and to be a virgin on our wedding night. Looking back, I understand I got married to get out of the house, which is not a good reason to marry.
At the time it was also all about me. What could the marriage do for me; what could I expect to get from marriage and my relationship. It wasn’t until I was in the Greek Orthodox Church hearing the Priest bless us in Greek, enveloped by the ancient Greek traditions, inhaling incense, and feeling queasy that I realized everything was all wrong. I would be a wife, and someone would have expectations of me. Was this really the life I wanted? Was this really love?
Later when I remarried and had my children, it became all about them. From bathing to feeding to playing with them, I was consumed with being a mom, as many mothers are, and that was fine at the time. As time passed, my relationships with my children became more of a give and take, and my relationship with my husband grew into a deep friendship and partnership.
What does love mean to you? To me, love is:
- Something that is given and received in balance.
- A warm fuzzy feeling
- A meaningful conversation with a friend
- Giving my dog a hug
- Calling someone to ask how they are
- Caring for my mother
- Being close to my children and husband
- Sharing intimacy with my husband
Many of us feel sad if we don’t have a special someone to celebrate Valentine’s Day and other holidays with. Instead of pining, find the love and beauty in something that has meaning. Spend time with a child or close friend or special pet.
Here’s the Rewire Me moment: There are many kinds of love, and all are special. We know love is real by how we act. We know it’s real when we love for all the right reasons.