Updated: Apr 1, 2021
Love is a strange thing. We’ve been learning about and writing about love for years and we’ve come to realize that love, real love, is expressed in moments through our actions.
Different factors contribute to who we love and how we love, and a lot of that is tied to our story — where we’re at in our lives, and what’s important to us today, which may be very different from what was important to us yesterday. We believe love is a daily choice. Once we decide to love someone, the intensity of that love changes as if that love lives inside a kaleidoscope — spinning as we continue to love. Love becomes this thing, that grows outside of “Self ” and becomes greater than its parts. And that’s what makes love so beautiful.Yet so difficult. It’s always changing and sometimes unpredictable. Once we decide to share our heart with someone, love grows and becomes its own living breathing thing — separate from us. Assuming it’s healthy love. If it isn’t, it never becomes greater than its parts. It stays inside us, trapped and limited. Unhealthy love is love in a box. But it takes time for love to grow and mature and become greater than the individuals. In the meantime, how do you know if love is healthy love while you’re building?
We’ve learned that love comes in MOMENTS. That moment when:
-she’s chopping vegetables and you catch her eye and slight smile and the world grows silent. And there’s a knowing.
-he whispers something into your ear that you didn’t quite hear but you feel his breath and it feels like your favorite blanket.
-you watch her sleeping and she is precious.
-your eyes meet theirs without warning, and lock. You’re both completely naked. Trusting.
-after a fight when you come back to each other, feeling safe that you can have fights
-you realize you crave the smell of him.
-you see her laughing hysterically like no one’s watching and you want the best for this person.
-you realize they put you first and didn’t make it about them.
-after you orgasm and you want to be nowhere else.
-you see him playing with a child and he forgets he’s the adult.
-she chooses to support you even though she doesn’t agree with your decisions.he didn’t try to fi it but just decided to hold you.
-you see her on a swing and wish you knew her when she was younger.
-he said,“I can’t find words for it, let me get my violin and play it for you.”
-you both look at each other, knowing how much shit you guys have gone through, the jealousy, the control, the distance, the drift, the hell and back, the trauma, the couples counseling, the change, the growth, the rebirth, and still, together, deciding to love each other.
This is how we know love is still looming, catching those moments that remind us we’re on the right track – maybe not every day, but there, scattered and buried. We have to find moments by being open and maybe letting some stuff go. By forgiving. By looking inward instead of over the fence, and working on our own triggers that give us blinders. Because these moments are gems that show us we are on the right path as we continue to climb upward. Moments are easily underestimated. We love fast and we don’t see them. We are often looking at the future or the past and miss them. And when we miss them, we may make decisions we regret. And if these moments stop, either you have stopped or they have stopped, and the love that was growing is no longer growing. It is now inside a bottle.And that is no longer love.That is probably fear. Love is not a constant state of knowing. Love is a continual process of discovery and unfolding. As long as these moments keep coming, unpredicted and naturally you will know that it’s there. We cannot force them. We can only create the space for them to happen.
Yael Bat-Shimon, MA, LMHC, and Paula M. Smith, M.Div., MFT are Certified Imago Relationship therapists in private practice in RI. They offer weekend workshops for couples, relationship training for single individuals, and couples therapy. Write to Yael and Paula with your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.