Is Love supposed to be like Work?

     Hello, my friends.  I am between busy times (school out last week, CADA camp starting in two weeks), so I have time to ramble about the weirdness of life and the intricacies of human interaction.  So, a friend and I were talking yesterday about love.  Aren't we always?  Where do you find love? Is love physical or emotional? Does that really hot guy or girl love me? Why doesn't that really hot guy or girl love me?

     Anyway, the crux of our conversation was about the idea that love must involve work - working out your differences, working to make communication better, working to make sure that the hotness stays in your relationship.  Cosmopolitan  magazine has made a fortune trying to answer these questions through thought-provoking articles like "10 Secrets to Making Your Man Fall in Love Again" and those so accurate quizes like "What is your Love Style" (which is more about fashion than love.) So, really, what DOES make love last?

     I started thinking about this last night, as I lay in bed pondering the questions of the universe while trying to fall asleep. What is this idea that love should be work? I don't like work, and I try my best to keep from doing it. (My job, I do not consider work - playing with teenagers all day?  Nope...that is fun.) Are we really supposed to have to work just to keep the love of someone who said that they loved us unconditionally?  What does this work entail? Screwing up the courage to make them breakfast in bed? Trying to contain our distaste at getting naked with the person we love? Closing our eyes and disregarding that the person we love has gained 15 pounds? After considering this for a while, I realize that if love has to be work, then I don't want to do it. I want to find the person who fits perfectly with me - the person who wants to do all of those things because they LOVE me, not because they have to work in order to stay with me. Okay, so I understand those of you who say that the work comes in when you don't kill them for forgetting to take out the garbage ONE MORE TIME.  I can see that having to pick up wet towels off the floor of the bathroom can become tedious.  It is even understandable to be a little peeved when your beloved tries to fix the toilet only to leave puddles and a very nasty surprise on the bathroom floor. BUT? Let's look at the concept of work.

     Work is something that we must do to make the money to buy our Skeedoos and RVs.  Or, it is what we must do to maintain upkeep on those things.  Work is taking the hour out of our month to pay the people who allow us to buy the Skeedoos and RVs without paying for them when we get them. When two people join together, and they are truly connected to one another, is it then work to be with them? Maybe it is when we have a false idea of love that our expectations lead us to believe that we must work to make those expectations a reality.  For example, what of those people who will do anything to keep that "perfect" person?  Our idea of love is that we will have the model - a beautiful specimen of humanity with a great job and good teeth. So, when we "find" that person, through luck or design, we will do anything to make that relationship work.  We change our hair, our clothes, our entire belief system, thinking that we should "work" to make this person love us. We give and give, and we change and change, and then...in the end...the relationship doesn't work. We are left wondering why it didn't last, because after all, we put in the work.

     Let's look at this in another way.  What if we find a person who matches us - a person who has the same interests, the same outlook, the same belief system - and we take the time to GROW a relationship, instead of WORKING at it? I look at the couples I know who are the happiest; the couples who have been together for many years.  The one thing that I notice about these couples is that they like to HAVE FUN with one another.  Whether it be white water rafting, or sitting on the couch playing with the dogs and watching Doctor Who, these couples spend time laughing and playing together.  Regardless of their outside employment, the number of kids they have, or the size of their wallets - they enjoy being together and make that time a priority. I was visiting with a friend a while ago, while she was doing the laundry.  As she was picking up the kid's clothes from the floor (apparently a pre-requisite for parenthood), she noticed her husband's socks lying next to his favorite chair.  She SMILED (no, seriously, it wasn't gas.) and just picked them up and put them in her basket. I know that when a woman smiles over something that should irritate, then it is worth a story.  I asked her why she was smiling, and she said, "He has left his socks by that chair every morning since we moved into this house.  It is just something that he does, and it makes me smile because my Dad used to do the same thing." Folks, that is love...when you pick up the socks without a complaint, because it reminds you of love. That couple, I must add, takes at least one vacation alone together every year - usually to Comic-Con in San Diego. They dress up in funny costumes and their inner children play together.

This is what love should be...not doing something because you have to, but doing it because you want to...you should never lose that thing, whatever it is, that brought you together in the first place. You should be together because there is no one else in the world you would rather be with - in good or bad.  In order to have this, there seems to be a connection between the heart and the brain.  The heart has to feel, but for that to occur, the brain must say, "Um...I think that this might be your person."  How does that happen?  it is in a moment, a look, just a chance moment, when you realize that this person "gets" you.  It can take a short time, or a long time, but until it happens, you can try and try to MAKE it happen, and it won't.  But when it does, you will see picking up those socks as a reason to smile...or you will see Comic-Con as the greatest week EVER...every year.

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