Strong, fierce, courageous love
Taking genuinely loving action is the path to creating a loving marriage built on authenticity. But let’s make a clear distinction between love as an emotion and love as an action: Love as an emotion is warm. Joyous. Sweet. It ALWAYS feels amazing. But love as an action doesn’t. Sometimes taking loving action feels like the exact opposite of what we want to do at the moment:
Hold back that stinging comment.
Admit we may be wrong.
Let go of those spellbinding judgments.
Drop the growing grudge.
Be the first to reach out with a gentle touch after a disagreement.
Love in action requires big strength. Bold courage. Steadfast commitment. Loving can mean saying:
I won’t tolerate that.
I won’t stay near you when you do that.
I love you, but no.
I don’t want to go out tonight.
I won’t do it your way.
I won’t stick around when you say such things.
Because, listen: Disregarding your own desires to please others IS NOT LOVING to YOU.
Doing things you truly don’t want to do just to PLEASE others is actually a way of LYING to the other person-- and a form of manipulating them. Which is not loving to them, or to yourself. Loving means being honest. In the kindest way you can. Though it often is, loving as an action is not always sweet and pleasant. It’s strong and fierce and, at times, calls on all the gritty gumption you can muster. And it will absolutely require you to be willing to feel uncomfortable emotions.
It will require you to stand in your integrity, to let your partner feel disappointed, to let him have judgments about your decisions and your likes and dislikes. It will require you to trust yourself and your own loving intentions. And to trust your partner to trust your loving intentions, too! So if it doesn't always FEEL GOOD, and in fact requires courage and honesty and trust (all of which can feel scary!), how do you discern if you are taking the LOVING ACTIONs that will lead you to the results you most want over the long haul in your marriage? Ask yourself these questions:
Is it honest (honest as in the truth filtered through a kindness lens---rather than unscreened whatever-your-primal-brain’s-screaming--at the moment)?
Does it FEEL like love towards yourself?
Does it feel like integrity?
What would genuine love do (versus what approval-seeking would do)?
What would I decide to do if I trusted deeply in our love? In myself? In my partner?
Your answers will determine the most loving action to take in any given situation. And taking that action, however scary or uncomfortable, will, over time, gift you and your partner with the most authentically loving marriage possible.
This podcast episode is really relevant: How To Feel Safe To Feel Any Feeling
AND IN CASE YOU MISSED IT. . .