During my freshman year in college I enrolled in Humanities. At one point during my first jam-packed class the professor asked, “So what is love?” I figured I knew since I was living it. Wanting to be with the person 24/7. Loving each and every thing about them. Thinking they could do no wrong. Wanting to share every exciting moment with them. That was just a start. Along with others I raised my hand to give my definition of what I thought love is. After voicing my opinion I was immediately shot down by a 40 something year old married woman who said, “That’s not love. That’s lust. Love is when you tolerate your husband when he leaves his underwear on the floor for the millionth time, making you mad.” I couldn’t believe what she had just said. I saw her as a bitter woman and thought to myself, as I was just a few months away from marrying the guy of my dreams, “God help me if my marriage ever ends up that way.” We debated for quite awhile and I’m sure I looked like some immature young girl living in the clouds. Ultimately I ended up dropping the class. Although there were multiple reasons for dropping the class I’m not afraid to admit that this debate help seal the deal.
So here I am, married to the guy of my dreams for close to 9 years. Was she right? Or was I? Turns out we were both right…and wrong. Relationships go through many phases. At the time of my description I was in love. Although we had been together for a couple years we were in what I’d like to call “new love”. Everything was new and exciting. Why wouldn’t you want to share the excitement with someone? And just because it’s exciting doesn’t belittle it down to lust. However, “new love” isn’t necessarily lifelong nor is it forever gone. We may revisit this stage after being apart from each other. But most often, we become comfortable with each other and day-to-day life isn’t always exciting, making us want to share every moment with someone.
So how was she right and wrong at the same time? She was right in saying basically what I just stated above. Love isn’t all that exciting all the time. You become comfortable and settle into routines. We see our significant other as not only a lover, but our best friend. Where I see her description going wrong is when she used the word tolerate. Tolerate is when you endure someone or something unpleasant. Sounds pretty miserable to me. Now, there are times in a relationship when a significant other will do something we don’t care for. However, we can choose to tolerate it or accept it. That may sound like a play on words, but really look at that. For instance with my husband, I can turn and look the other way, with my wall up, and tolerate something he “does wrong”. Or I can look at him, see things I am grateful for, appreciate him, and accept him.
Love isn’t about tolerance. Love is about acceptance. This is true whether you’re talking about the actions and viewpoints of significant others or friends. Accept those around you and be grateful that they are in your life.
Be grateful and keep smiling =)