Love is often seen as something we acquire on a whim – that our romantic desires are out there pre-made, just waiting for us to grab them off the metaphorical shelf. It’s nice, if not a slightly idealised notion. True love isn’t that simple. Of course, it can be spontaneous and fun. It certainly is in the initial stages. But what about when the rose-tinted glasses have come off? How do you react when the quirks you once found endearing become insufferable annoyances?
Love is a creative process; an act we should always be engaging in. It doesn’t just keep happening to us. To ‘find it,’ we have to be to be defining and redefining what it means within the context of our current relationship. Love is an objective feeling. But the way we express and communicate that emotion is entirely subjective and dependent on our partner’s needs. So comes a time in all relationships when we must ask, ‘is the way I’m relating relevant, anymore?’ Not to be overly clinical, but to inquire, ‘could I improve?’
A parallel can be drawn between the development of a relationship and moving into a new home. In the beginning, you settle in, and you’re taken with the novelty of the experience. Everything is decorated just the way you like with all the mod cons and fittings. It’s your ideal. However, over time, you start taking your new home for granted. You neglect its upkeep. After a few years, the fittings become dirty, the furniture looks outdated, and the appliances breakdown. The lack of care sees it fall into disrepair and become not such a nice place to live.
Relationships follow this same logic. You can find the person who is a match, and it’s great on the outset – otherwise why bother? But, the dynamic changes. Relationships are very rarely static experiences. And if they are, that raises its own set of questions about the potential for growth. It’s inevitable you’ll mature, and what used to be important will fall by the wayside to be replaced by different needs you and your partner must each support one another in pursuing. Priorities change.
That is where the real challenge of relationships lie – becoming aware. And it comes from having the mindfulness to realise you haven’t necessarily outgrown your partner, but you’re on a journey together, which will encompass many different chapters. Each one you write and contribute to – together. This story you write requires the same level of attention to detail as your house does to make it a pleasant environment, discarding the old ways of communicating to replace them with newer forms of expression that feel more in line with where you are in that particular phase.
True love can never be ‘found’ in the way you assume. It’s born of a mindset that says, ‘I’m willing to work with you to create something more than we are now.’ It is an acceptance that neither you or your partner are perfect, but you see enough value in each other’s companionship to share your journey with one another. You do so through the creating and recreating of your love for one another in ways that you never imagined previously. If you find love anywhere, you find it within.