Love Aint For Sissies

Jim - Charlestown, Massachusetts
Entered on January 8, 2009
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: love
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Love Ain’t For Sissies

I know the title isn’t pretty, but it is appropriate. Surely you can feel the truth in that.

People have been talking about “Big L” Love since the beginning of time. Described it. Defined it. Dissected it. And we’re all still struggling to get it right.

Well, there’s just one thing I know: Love ain’t for sissies.

In the movies, where pretty people drink good wine and laugh out loud as they make love to Baroque music under warm Tuscan skies; we get to see some of the theoretical peaks love can reach. But love’s like a mountain; there is a whole lot beneath that peak, supporting it all, and to get to the top you’ve got to be strong and you’ve got to be brave and you’ve got to be patient, and you’d better not do anything stupid. A little luck doesn’t hurt, either. And the less fear in you, the better. Fear in the heart displaces love.

It’s a whole lot harder and grittier than it oughta be, but it’s deceptively simple, too.

But simple doesn’t mean easy. Putting astronauts on the moon probably sounded simple enough until someone actually got down to the business of making it happen. Getting love right is one of the hardest things there is to do. That’s why so few among us ever do.

Both people have an equal share in the life that results from the merging of two single lives. They share equally in the work, the profits, and the losses. Do it well, and you will get far more out of it than you put in. Do it poorly, and you and everyone around you will suffer. That’s just a fact.

No one’s gonna draw us a road map to the finish line, but here’s what I think’ll get you there:

You have to be old enough, humble enough, and smart enough to know yourself and know what you want. You also have to be patient enough to get to know your partner, -that’s a big word: partner. You’re partners now in the biggest thing that ever was: a family. Know yourself and your partner well enough that you trust them always and in all things.

You’ve got to be comfortable enough with yourselves that you can discuss everything. Nothing should be out-of-bounds for discussion. Nothing.

It can be damned hard work. It’s hard to control yourself when you’re hurt or angry. It’s hard to go to work every day. It’s hard to raise kids, to pay bills. It’s hard to get along with all of your in-laws. But so what? It’s like I said: Love ain’t for sissies.

Be very aware. Plenty of people live long, long lives together in exceptional misery. Never mistake longevity for happiness. Be aware and thoughtful in all you do.

A lifelong and fulfilling marriage takes strength. And strength requires conditioning. That means daily practice. Practice having fun, practice working hard, practice loving each other. I’m serious. Never lose sight of the fact that there is a real, if silent, nobility in getting up early to make the coffee, scraping the windshield for the other person, or looking for her favorite yogurt.

Do all that. And then, come what may:

You stick by each other.

Stick when you’re angry.

Stick when you’re bone-tired.

Stick when you’re not altogether sure the other person is sticking.

Stick past the point you thought anyone could. You just both just dig real deep and stick.