I recognise Love is an essential quality of being human – a Need. It is maybe even the most powerful driver and source of life energy available to us. Some needs (food, air etc.) are necessary for mere survival. When we allow Love into our life we thrive, we grow and we can achieve so much more.
There are literally an infinite number of ways the need for Love can be brought into being – which makes life and relationships so wonderfully rich and varied. We do not have to be in a relationship or family to have Love, but for many of us it is the main source and playground for Love. We cannot take it for granted in a relationship and constant and regular nurturing is required for Love to thrive through us.
Bringing Love in through Action is important. There are other things in our relationship that are also important to allow Love to thrive. One of my friends and colleagues, Frank Gaschler has a particularly helpful way of looking at this. He sees the Need of Love comprising 4 elements that combine into this powerful force:
- I am Alive
- I am Welcome
- I have Space
- I am Held.
How might these be nurtured and grown in a relationship?
- I am alive. Love is knowing and celebrating life. We dance, sing, make love. We share what is in our hearts and souls. We celebrate life together. We suffer the challenges together. In sickness and in health.
- I am welcome. I am not simply tolerated or accepted by my partner but I am welcomed. We are happy to see each other’s faces in the morning and at the end of the day. We seek the other for counsel, advice and support. We appreciate the other.
- I have space. There is a place for me and for the things that are important to me. I am not simply squeezed into a corner of our home but I am part of the territory. I also have my own time for my own pursuits and friends – I don’t have to fight for it or justify it.
- I am held. Both physically and emotionally I feel warmly embraced. I am touched and hugged and caressed. When I am down, my partner is there to listen and be with me. When I stumble or fall, there is a helping hand to pick me up again.
Starting a family gives the chance for our home and love to expand to accept the new life. In doing this we need to take care that we not lose sight of the need of Love in us, the parents.
When days are now more full with children, we must continue to find the time to enjoy being alive. Find new ways to celebrate, play and share with each other what is important and not only what is expedient. And still find our own space for making Love.
When there is new life to welcome, we must remember to welcome each other and refine and nurture the pleasure in each other’s company. Our relationship comes first and should not be sidelined a supporting role – it is the main act. Our relationship is the foundation of our family and needs to be kept centre stage or resentment may creep in.
Space becomes more limited as the children need space too and and they consume vast amounts of out spare time. Don’t give all your time or space to the children but reserve enough for each other so that love has a place to flourish.
And holding a young child is quite a different experience than an adult – don’t lose sight of the pleasure of adult to adult physicality. Tiredness and lack of privacy makes it more challenging and can be easy to let it slide. Talk about it and get creative to find new ways to hold each other and to carve out time to share and listen.
There is much more I could say about Love. For now I leave the topic and wish you a life FULL of LOVE.