L is for: A to Z of Emotional Health & Wellbeing
We continue with our A to Z and today, as start a new year, we want to talk about Love.
What is Love?
Watch a romantic movie and love will be represented as the moment a couple meet and decide they are right for each other, whether this is for now or forever.
But is this actually love or is it chemistry? And how do we know? Well there are plenty of books out there that will give you a myriad of opinions on whether love is nature, nurture neither or both, however I am going to steer away from that and go with what I have learned about what I know are the foundations of building a loving relationship.
Love or “in love”
Love, to me, is that unconditional bond between two people whether that be partners, parents and children or any other relationship that fills that definition.
Of course there can be those who impose conditions on a relationship and still believe that they love that other person and they probably do, however if the other person isn’t feeling it then the relationship is not a reciprocal one and has the potential to fail (depending of course on the dynamics of the relationship and both peoples experience of relationships previously)
With that previous paragraph in mind, I believe love is not what you say but what you do – In a relationship it is easier to say you love someone but harder to demonstrate it. This is possibly truer for more long term relationships – once the polishedness has evaporated and we’ve established that all humans, male or female need to sniff, fart, burp and have a number two.
So how do we ensure that our relationship is a balanced one and we’re not reverting to ‘roles’ or stereotyping and that one is giving much more than the other?
Firstly keep communicating with each other – You will experience that you dislike things about each other. There will be elements of having to accept that there are things you dislike about each other which is part of the relationship growing. It is practically impossible to like everything about another person without the relationship becoming unhealthy.
Look out for ‘Co-dependency’ in your relationships – Are you able to live an independent life, guilt and anxiety free whilst still maintaining your relationship. Can you make decisions independent of each other without fear or guilt factoring as a part of that decision?
Respect each other’s views – Even if you disagree – It is OK to have a different opinion and it doesn’t mean you are wrong.
Take time to make a decision – It is OK to take time and respond to each other rather than reacting.
If you have children – appreciate the differences you may have with parenting styles and if these are creating conflict with you both then it’s time to start communicating with each other again.
Remember you are both adults in an adult relationship – It is the responsibility of both of you to make the relationship work – If you want it too.
And remember you are not responsible for each other’s happiness – with this I mean doing things that feel uncomfortable to keep the other party happy. It might keep the relationship going but the cost will be each other’s happiness as resentment and anger will begin to feature and creep in to the relationship.
If you are struggling with strong feelings that are impacting the relationship it might be an idea to seek professional support – Feeling such as jealousy, possessiveness, anger, or depressed mood are times when seeking outside support might be beneficial to you both.
If you have had a life changing event then how you feel about what happened may be life changing too and if you are experiencing difficulty accepting this it might be time to seek support and to challenge your own views – It won’t be too late if you do it now!
Remember that love is different for different people but doesn’t meant that you put up with being treated badly. For me love is about how you demonstrate your feelings to another person – this could be anything, it could be a smile, a thank you, making an effort with the housework, offering words of comfort and support or just holding someone’s hand – Love is the small gestures.
Debs is one of the co-founders and Directors of Bringing Us Together. She is mum to three child with a variety of SEND and has a great husband.