Suzie Daggett: Defining love | TheUnion.com

Suzie Daggett: Defining love

Suzie Daggett
Columnist

Love is a complex, mysterious and loaded word.

It means many things including: the highs and intensity during a new relationship; a sexual attraction not to be denied; the unbelievable emotional response to a newborn; the benefits of sweet on-going affection and passion not burned out; cheering on your adult kids' accomplishments; easy cuddly moments; true concern and care for another; respect for our quirky personalities; the desire to grow together long term; and honoring the changes life presents to each other.

At every turn couples in love are searching for common wants and needs to be fulfilled by each other. During the life of the couple together, they may start testing the relationship and the character of the other.

Who is going to win or be right in this decision? I want to go this way and you another, why? My way is better can't you see that? Can you blend in with my friends or do we need to get couple friends? Can we keep this romance lively when the real world kicks in? The kids are grown now, who are we? Do we still enjoy life together?

Love is not like a Hallmark card. Rather it is uneven, full of continuous, life changing moments including challenges due to emotional distance or spiritual drifting, job changes, breakups, new relationships, physical ailments or mental breakdowns. Hopefully a strong enough tie exists to bring a couple closer together during and after the storms.

When a couple does not evolve and grow together love can be used as a guise to control their partner. The need to exert power over the other may come into play. In reality, we only have power over our own actions and reactions and cannot control another.

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True love has no need to control, yet the line can get pretty fuzzy when discord starts.

For anyone in a long-term relationship, there is much give and take. When you love each other you will give space for love to blossom rather than forcing your values on them. But when time and circumstances change, a wide variety of actions and reactions happen. Fighting can occur at this juncture and it takes compassion, love and understanding for the give and take needed to make a relationship work.

We want love to be sustainable and to do so takes work. Ask anyone who has been married for some years and you will generally find these attributes in motion: compassion, listening, trust, a shared purpose, being friends as well as lovers, patience, true caring and more.

If the love rhythm wears thin, a sense of fear may enter a relationship. Love is open, clear communication with a supportive kind environment; fear is closed and clouded with resentment, stubborn and uncomfortable interactions.

A supportive couple will weather the bumps, recognize when they are out of kilter and come out stronger in love.

If you are in a relationship, may you be united as you fill your moments with delight and perhaps even Valentine's bliss. In this way, you are creating your own version of a Hallmark card and taking the path of love to heart.

Suzie Daggett is a writer and speaker. Her newest book is "The Pink Door: Moms' Journey to the Other Side" where she shares her thoughts about the passage from life to death. She can be reached at Suzie.daggett@gmail.com or http://www.suziedaggett.com.