Love Is….Hard Work

Everybody wants to fall in love right? We all crave that ‘high as a kite’ feeling where our heart performs somersaults every time we see the object of our desire and they occupy our every waking thought. For many it is the single most important objective in their lives and they devote an inordinate amount of time, energy (and invariably money) towards achieving their goal.

But why do we fall in love? Why don’t we soar in love or, at the very least, hover? Falling suggests a loss of control. Which is correct because when a person falls in love they do, to an extent, lose a degree of objectivity. Often nobody or nothing else matters outside of the object of their affection. When it’s good it’s very good. But it can lead to harm, hurt and potential heartbreak. When we stampede blindly down the road to romance others can get trampled in the process.

Falling in love is both a selfless and a selfish act. Selfless in that you put the needs of the other person before yours and will often park your own ambitions, values and ethics to one side in order to conform to theirs and thus be accepted. Selfish in that, as they are now the centre of your universe, others previously in that position, are now shunted out into the outer cosmos. Somewhere between Neptune and Uranus I suspect.

Yes falling in love is a fantastic experience. Your stomach does somersaults and your head is at 49,000 feet. A fantastic experience but a temporary one. Every fall must come to an end. Often with a shuddering halt. And it is what you do then that truly matters. Falling in love is the easy part. It is a fickle, transient state of being. It requires little effort. It is a feeling, an emotion, an altered reality. But remaining in love? Well that’s an entirely different ball game.

Loving someone on a 24/7/365 basis is hard work. It is a wilful act as opposed to a fleeting fancy. It requires bottomless amounts of forgiveness and patience. Especially when it involves someone who doesn’t display particularly lovable traits; someone who doesn’t appear to reciprocate the love; or someone who you want to scream at and punch in the face rather than buy chocolates and roses. I know. For I have been loved at my most unlovable.

Loving someone likes this often involves telling them what they don’t want to hear. Delivering hard and unpleasant information otherwise known as ‘the truth’. Some of you may have heard of this term. To others it remains an alien concept. Falling in love is like standing under a tropical waterfall. Remaining in love often involves throwing ice cold buckets of water over your sleep walking, day dreaming partner. In order to smell the coffee you must first be woke up. That can be an unpleasant, but necessary, experience.

Loving someone like this is entirely selfless. You have to be entirely selfless in order to destroy the selfishness in the other person. In order to prick their conscience you have to first burst their bubble. And that can be a messy process. True love involves bursting that bubble but also remaining around afterwards to mop up the mess. Sacrifice is a dirty, disgusting business. In order to be truly purged we often have to be submerged in blood, sweat and tears.

Fall in love, yes. Enjoy the rush, the thrill, allow yourself to be swept off your feet. But when you return to terra firma be prepared to roll up your sleeves and knuckle down for a hard slog. Love is a war where many enemies, both internal and external, will attempt to grind you into the ground. True love will prevail but it will be a war of attrition. One day at a time. With its casualties but also with its heroes who are often unsung. For they understand the true meaning of love.

This post is dedicated to my wife, Fionnuala. โค๏ธ

How do you define love?< strong>What are your experiences of falling, and remaining, in love?

33 thoughts on “Love Is….Hard Work

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  1. I have only ever been truly in love twice in my life. Both times i messed up. I would love to find a partner and fall in love and share life and experiences maybe even have another child. A family of my own would be fantastic. I know that some reading this will say its not all a bed of roses. I get that, but who does have the perfect family life? Anyone who says they do is clearly in my eyes living in a dream world………… You are a true testament and as you say work in progress which is what it will always be.

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  2. Lovely post with great insight. It is the selfless part of falling in love and the sacrifice and hard work that matters. Without sacrifice and true love, the notion of falling in love becomes a mirage far away from true love existing only to indulge our quest for excitement.

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  3. It is the sacrifice that scares me the most. A lot of mistakes have happen in my relationship and although we are taking steps to work on us. It has been so much better now than before. But I find myself struggling to forgive. I want to get marriage right the first time with no regrets.

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  4. Marriage certainly is not easy and I get what you say about forgiving for me I had to forgive otherwise I would have been tormenting myself and the only way we could move forward was by Stephen making sacrifices and me not throwing everything up in his face all time. The hardest thing is forgetting but with time it gets better hang in there and donโ€™t give up ๐Ÿ˜Š

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  5. I often say that love is an emotion, an action, and a commitment. In our society, we often think about it only as this emotion that we are powerless to, but that’s just not the case. Love requires action and sacrifice and those hard things that you talked about in your post, but those make things even richer!

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  6. Love is something that I have been struggling with a lot lately (in the romantic sense) because love involves trust. My parents did not survive a very similar situation to what you have somewhat described, instead, they were divorced when I was 10 years old and have shown nothing but hatred for each other ever since. With the couple of guys I went out with towards the end of high school I discovered that this had made a very real impact in the way I saw myself and in what I was wanting from a romantic partner (as an emotional teenager this was just someone to love me at all). Love was a sickness then for me, a kind of desperation. But I was also determined not to end up like my parents: getting pregnant in college, marrying because of it, and living miserably with a spouse that was not God’s pick for me. Now nearing my early twenties I’ve decided that 1. my husband need to love God before he can love me 2. my husband must be willing to fight through those rough patches without taking the ‘easy’ way out and 3. I must be ready to do both of these things too. It’s a real faith issue between my heart and God whether I’m going to keep trusting that He will bring me the husband and family He desires for me at the right time for us ๐Ÿ™‚ but hey I’m young and right now I’m a little too busy to be married anyway! Thank You as always for your insightful post and Happy Early Anniversary ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

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    1. You’re welcome. Fionnuala would probably be able to offer you better advice than me on these matters. I’ll ask her to comment but I’m praying your wisdom continues to grow. I read Proverbs a lot and constantly ask God for wisdom, knowledge and understanding.

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  7. Thank you for this! I often wonder if I have the strength to stay in love. I have fallen in love (a few time ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) but the true work comes after as you described. It’s an art and a science and everyday I’m learning. But I know it starts with me, from within. Thank you, lovely post!

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  8. Loving without fear, that was my struggle. Trust was another, maybe it’s the same thing. I do know that without God it would have never happened for me and hubby. There were to many Divine nudges for it not to be Him. But during a patch of fear, and non-trust, I asked God to make hubby the husband He wanted me to have, or take him out of my life. Hubby was deployed at the time. But it was like night and day. I mean we never were ones to quarrel, but something just wasn’t right. After that prayer, it couldn’t have been more right. I asked hubby what had changed. He said he didn’t know. He woke up new years morning, guilt ridden. All he said he could think of was being a better husband, making everything right. I had prayed on new years eve. Coincidence, I think not.

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