I believe that love is a verb and not a noun. We show someone we love them and we care about them through our actions, our attitude towards them, and through our interactions with them.
I was raised in a two parent household, a luxury that few people nowadays have experienced. My mother and father were both caring and passionate people who showed their emotions and affection for one another on a regular basis. It was from this example that I learned how a couple should interact, and show their feelings…not just tell them.
In early adulthood, I applied this principle to my relationships, specifically to my family. There was always an over-abundance of hugs and random gestures showing our affection. This is the primary reason why when she passed on due to a stroke 5 years ago I had absolutely no regrets about our relationship. There is no doubt in my mind that she knew how much she was cared for by the people that surrounded her.
More recently, I have had my first real romantic committed relationship end. The reason for this was because my partner felt that I was smothering her and codependent. She never really let on that she was not happy with the level of attention I provided. While in hindsight I should have recognized the warning signs, I was too concerned with loving her the way I felt it she deserved and less with how she wanted to be loved and cared for. By the time I did recognize how she was feeling it was too far gone to save the relationship.
The lesson I learned fits very neatly into my belief, as it is our responsibility to love someone how they want to be loved, and not how we want to love them. In a perfect world the two would coincide, however most of the time this is too much to hope for. Regardless of whether that relationship is romantic, brotherly, or a close friendship, we can always show how much we care about a person; whether it be through simply being there, randomly giving them flowers for no reason, or giving them their personal space.
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