I wasn’t going to post today. I reserve Fridays for my mash-up of “fan”tabulous blogs posts I’ve come across during the preceding week, but I don’t have a list. My schedule continues to run hot and heavy, leaving me time only to skim posts, and not much time for even that.
So, I wasn’t going to post.
Then I watched Prince William kiss his new bride, Princess Catherine, on the balcony of Buckingham Palace.
The kiss was demure and appropriately lacking in PDA, as befits a royal couple. But (and maybe it’s just me) that sweet little peck conveyed love and hope. I teared up.
I DVR’d the ceremony to watch tonight. I suspect I’ll shed more tears while comfortably ensconced in the corner of my couch.
Weddings make me think of mine.
I’ve had two.
Neither worked out.
That’s not an easy thing for me to admit, but it’s truth. I try to embrace truth these days, which takes courage I don’t always think I have. They didn’t work out because I didn’t understand love. I’m not sure either ex understood the emotion either.
What I do know is that I was more focused on being the center of attention on my wedding days than I was on the magnitude of the commitment. I wanted to focus only on my “prince”, all the trappings and people dropping away to exist only on the fringes of those magical moments. But my ego didn’t allow that. I was more concerned with appearances than vows. I only wanted to say I was married! I’d arrived! I’d succeeded!
Instead, I failed. My exes failed. The marriages failed.
There was pain in the loss of my marriages. A part of me will always mourn the losses; however, if pain is the root of all knowledge, then the pain has merit because I see things differently today. I’ve finally grown up.
As the week rolled by, gearing up for Will to wed his Cate, my thoughts turned to weddings and marriages and love.
Definitions began to spin through my head. Was it possible that I was finally coming to understand, situated as I am in my single status, what these things really mean?
Weddings are the public sharing of a promise. The pomp and circumstance isn’t necessary. Spending impractical amounts of money isn’t the point. The point is for two people to focus intently, solely, completely on each other while they promise to share their lives. Narcissism has no place. In fact, narcissism defeats the purpose of a ceremony where one person pledges herself to another.
Marriages are work. The best roads don’t always run smooth. Anything worth having, worth keeping, is worth working for.
And then I had a revelation. Writing romance appears to be teaching me about love. That may be messed up but it’s another one of my truths.
Falling in love, then staying in love is a dance. Courtship provides the opportunity to see if potential and compatibility exist. Is there common ground? Do the two people have the same core values — family, finance, spirituality, background, moral beliefs?
Two people can be different — tidy vs. cluttered, vegetarian vs. carnivore. If respect exists on both sides, no one pushing the other to change, differences don’t have to be obstacles.
Love is made up of compassion and empathy, courage and strength, respect and admiration, friendship and support, lust and affection. I picture love as a cord that encircles the couple, able to bend and stretch, but not break. The cord may fray at times of disappointment but hold firm. Each partner has to be willing to mend the cord because the value of the bond is greater than anything else.
Humans want to connect to another. That, and oppose-able thumbs, separates us from the beasts. We have to know we have a soft place to land so we can permit ourselves to be vulnerable. We have to know things change and be willing to support the changes either chooses to make.
There’s magic in the romance, in the recognition that another person is the one to mirror back the best parts of ourselves. Love is a promise to give the best of yourself to another. It’s a vow to respect and appreciate. It’s a choice to be vulnerable, authentic, connected.
Love isn’t what you get, but what you give.
Love is grace, joy, and gratitude.
It is whole-hearted.
How do you define love? What helped you to find a definition that works for you?