Is your brain marinating in a cocktail of hormones and giddiness? If so, it’s probably love . . . new love!
New love is the budding stage of something potentially profound between two people. And just as a flower bud is fragile, the same is true of love. Both must be treated with tender loving care. When a couple masters this fine art, it becomes a thing of beauty that is a pleasure to behold.
A few years back, I observed such a wonder:
My spirit smiled as I watched them glide across the dance floor. Arm in arm, they exuded a tenderness so real, it almost seemed possible to reach out and touch it.
Oh, there were plenty of other dancers to appreciate, couples with more finesse and physical appeal, but this couple had me transfixed.
Have you ever become captivated watching elderly couples dance to the music of some bygone era? Obviously I have, particularly with those whose lives appear interwoven by the threads of some shared past.
Those couples are easy to spot. Love flows between them palpably, richly different from the newly-in-love brand. It is a love that has matured to perfection.
Never mind that the external luster is gone. It’s apparent that something more enviable has replaced it—a mysterious something that shines in their eyes for each other. Such love surpasses physical attractiveness.
When I watch such couples, it makes me wonder about love. Just what is it? Is it more about allure and attraction, magnetic in its mysterious intensity? The kind that permeates popular culture in movies and TV? Or is it more like a garden you tend and cultivate? It is, of course, both.
With a gravitational grip like none other, the power of new love pulls people together. The action doesn’t stop there. It proceeds to swoop them up and swirl them around and around until they become dizzy with brainlessness. The whole event rivals anything that can be found at the amusement parks!
No question, falling in love is supremely exciting. But then, lovers eventually reach the ground; some grow restless and bored, while others till a garden. And, oh, how it blooms! That’s what I saw in that couple gliding across the dance floor. I was viewing a couple in their bloomed state.
Now then, how to tend a garden? Borrowing from the wisdom and experience of others, I came up with a few powerful tips:
- Mary Durso, married for 58 years, says: “If you have respect and consideration for one another, you’ll make it.”
- Allyson Jones, author, says: “Love teaches without lecturing, resolves mistakes without scolding, and gives without expecting things in return.”
- Thich Nhat Hanh, a Buddhist monk and author of “Teachings on Love,” asserts that love is about feeling connected to someone in their suffering, not just in their joy. When we love someone, we’re moved by their pain and desire to remove that pain.
- Wayne Dyer, author of “Your Erroneous Zones,” offers his definition of love: “[Love is] the ability and willingness to allow those that you care for to be what they choose for themselves, without any insistence that they satisfy you.”
- John Gottman, Ph.D, a leading marital researcher, tells us that a strong union is one in which two people deal with problems head on.
When couples avoid discussing hot topics because it might lead to conflict, intimacy is forfeited and huge gaps form—creating distance between them. According to Gottman, couples thrive when the two “turn towards” each other when problems crop up, rather than “turning away.”
The couple on the dance floor might say: “Get out there and dance!” In other words, factor in fun. Without happy times and positive experiences, the weeds of a relationship tend to take over.
So how does a relationship mature to a ripened state? It requires “the garden.” An individual can make any ordinary garden thrive, but love requires two gardeners who busy themselves with the planting, the watering, the fertilizing and the weeding.
And we mustn’t underestimate the valuable role that age plays. Dazzled by the couple on the dance floor, I felt privileged to bear witness to such enchantment.
Is it not true that aged wine is grander?
© Salee Reese 2007