The Business of Love (NO! Get Your Mind Out of the Gutter!)
All this talk about love (here and here) on The Rock Pool has started me thinking. About love. Or should I say “Wuv, twu wuv.” Anyway, I think people each experience love in different ways, and therefore express it how they see it. The trouble comes when you show your love in one way to your boo and they don’t know you are showing them your love because that is not the way they perceive love. It’s this kind of thing that makes people smack their heads against a nice solid doorjamb before raising their eyes to heaven and imploring, “Why!? Why is this so hard! I give up!” Clearly, due to the amount of literature devoted to the subject of love over the millennia, people have been having these problems for a long time. And I’m not just talking about man/woman love, man/man love, or woman/woman love; I’m talking about parent/adult child love, parent/child love, sibling love, friend love – all kinds of love. It can all be mind numbingly complicated.
At this point in my life I have at least grasped some truths, even if I can’t always implement them. I think it’s absolutely necessary to work out how you love and the expectations of love of the people around you. It’s the only way to survive this love fest. Furthermore, once you understand how the people closest to you receive love, I think you better do your best to give it, at least part of the time, in the way they understand. And, lest there be outrage and confusion, I’ll be more specific. I’m not talking about some creepy wimp who thinks that his wife is there to do everything for him including tying his shoes, rubbing his back every night, and bringing his entire world to him while he “rests” on the couch alternately whining and criticizing. Uh, no. The only thing you can do with someone like that is to drag them to the nearest cliff and heave them over. Okay, not really, but it’s satisfying to say it.
No, I’m talking about being affectionate when it’s not in your nature. Bringing someone tea when you don’t feel like it, but you know it would mean a lot to them. Snuggling when you are completely “touched out” for the day, but everyone in the house needs a little more. Or leaving someone alone when you sense they need the space. Not talking if they require your presence but not your voice. There is an infinite number of variables matched only by the uniqueness of humankind. In my view, it’s doing for the people you love what Allah does for us. He can fill whatever shape crater you are harboring inside and his love is endless; we can only attempt a feeble imitation.
So, I’m not a lovey person. When I had my second child someone mentioned to my husband that they were surprised I would want another kid. That kind of hurt. I suppose “motherly” is not the first adjective that springs to mind when people think of me. A lot of older men in my community jokingly salute me when they see me coming and call me “soldier.” Yeah. I’m not physically, verbally, or emotionally very affectionate. I’m basically a reptile. And, according to this brain sex ID test, I’m a man. I’m not sure that should have any relevance other than to laugh at the absurdity, but I thought I’d mention it (don’t get mad, Maryam!). I’m a doer and a solver, not a feeler or a comforter. I think I’m showing love when I cook from scratch, clean, educate my kids, fix things around the house etc. But I’m not an idiot. My kids and the Captain don’t think that is real love – unless I’m making a pie. They need hugs and kisses and cooing and pretty clothes and LISTENING and COMPROMISES and a lot of other things. They need support. They need to know that even though I’m not a natural nurturer, that I’m trying for their sake and that’s just as good because that means I love them enough to make an effort. And that, my dear peeps, is all anyone really needs in love, because you’ll never get it 100% right. People just need for someone to make an effort.