What Love Is Not

I’m really not one to outwardly worry about things.

I’ll let stress, anger, fear, self-doubt, and all the other bullshit emotions build up in me over time. Then, when they reach their boiling point I unleash that raw emotion. Unfortunately, the person I happen to be with at that time is going to get an earful.

Sometimes that means getting frustrated with someone who doesn’t deserve it. Other times, it leads to me tearing up suddenly out of nowhere.

Many times over the past few weeks my wife has expressed to me her anxiety over COVID-19. She’s afraid we’re all going to get it. Her parents, my parents, our child, ourselves, our friends. This anxiety compounds more and more as the total case count rises and as more people we know become infected.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve found myself saying things like, “Well you can’t worry about it.” “There’s no reason to be anxious, we can’t worry about it.” “I’m worried about you, there’s no reason to get worked up.”

“Try to calm down.”

What I’ve come to realize is that this not honoring and respecting the love we share.

One of her qualities I admire more is her complete and total refusal to allow her family to be in danger. She’s a lion and you better believe it. I have my own form of protecting my family. But I can be much more dismissive of issues or problems until there is a need for immediate action.

The anxiety caused by the virus, the increasing amount of cases, and lack of resources are unlike anything we’ve ever seen.

She’s right to be concerned… I have been too.

The anxiety she is feeling comes from a deep and primal place. A place of wanting to protect herself and her family.

As someone she loves, I am the person she feels most open to sharing these feelings and anxieties with.

Why would I return that trust by pushing her to behave and react the way I would?

Love is not trying to force your partner into behaving the same way you would. Love is accepting and appreciating them for all their feelings at any time. Striving to help someone through the good and bad at any time.

In the end, even if your partner did change and became more like you, got into the things you love, and behaved how you behave, it’s not natural. You’ve created something totally independent of the original being you fell in love with in the first place.

Love is accepting your partner’s emotions, languages, concerns, and learning how you can operate within them. How you and your partner play your roles together.

Not how one consumes the other and changes who they love to fit their needs.

That’s not how you love someone.

Sometimes the things we love most about our partners, (the things we would miss most if they were gone) can be the things we critique the most.

Love is about unconditional acceptance and finding the path forward and growing together.

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