A letter to my children about love:
I want all three of you to know what love is. I hope that you never have the opportunity to learn from experience what it isn’t. My wish for you is that you find a life partner who understands you right through to your soul. Below is a list of things you should look for in a life mate.
- Understanding. Sometimes even without speaking. Do not marry anyone until you have experienced this feeling with them.
- Support. This does not mean that your partner does not help you to critically assess your decisions. You should help each other to make decisions. However, you should have some power to make decisions on your own. You should not make decisions because your partner has guilted you into them. Your partner should be strong enough to push you into making decisions that get you out of the box, and make you feel like you can do anything. Some of these decisions might push your partner out of their comfort zone – they must be willing to make sacrifices for your success as you should be willing to do for them. And when your life path takes you somewhere you didn’t expect to go, your partner should help you to figure out why. You are never a failure as long as you learn from your experiences
- Mutual physical satisfaction and attraction. I know….MOM…YUCK – don’t talk about that. Truly though – I want you to know that you and your mate should be equally satisfied by each other. This means both giving and receiving. A glance both when they’re at their best and when they first get out of bed in the morning should take your breath away. And you should feel like they feel exactly that way about you.
- Love. Your mate should make you feel loved. Sometimes this means the verbal or written affirmation, saying “I love you”. It shouldn’t be because they “must” tell you once a day. Forcing the sentiment does not make it exist. And if it is spoken, there should be an unspoken understanding if you don’t happen to parrot it back that you still mean it.
- Partnership. It means that you both have equal footing and equal say. About everything. It means that you listen to one another. You should never feel small and never be belittled. You should be confident in both yourselves and each other.
- Equal parts of dependence and independence. These two are very important. You must be able to depend on your partner for all of the things that I’ve listed above, and your partner on you. And equally important – your partner must give you the space you need to develop into the person that you are meant to be.
A few more:
- Never marry anyone who is not able to relate to both animals and children. On their level. Equally, if animals and children do not like them you need to be wary.
- Your family is important. Your partner should be able to handle that. This means that you should continue to both talk to and visit with your family without your partner feeling threatened. Your partner should feel comfortable with us. And equally, you should feel at home with your partner’s family.
- If your family or friends are wary of your partner or express some concern, you need to listen. Sometimes they are wrong, but not often. Sometimes they hear your own concerns before you’re able to acknowledge them.
- If your partner is not able to hold your hair back when you’re vomiting, if they can’t visit you in the hospital or take you to the doctor, if they’re embarrassed by the way you walk after you’ve sprained your ankle, or you would not feel comfortable having them with you when you are at your worst, they are not your partner.
I’ve learned a lot of these things through trial and error and I continue to learn day after day. I hope that I have taught you to be resilient and independent, and most of all, I hope that I have taught you to be comfortable by and with yourself. Until you know who you are, you will not be able to figure out who is for you.
I love you.
This post originally appeared on Live By Surprise. It has been reprinted with permission.