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A NEW LEASE—on Life!
By Judit Rajhathy, B.A., RNCP, D.Ac.
What is Love?
I remember being so excited when an elderly friend was celebrating his 60th wedding anniversary. I handed him a bouquet of red carnations and baby’s breath and enthusiastically blurted, “Congratulations! You must be so happy!” To which he turned and said, “It’s been hell!”
Divorce rates are at an all time high:
45%-55% first marriages end in divorce
60%-67% second marriages end in divorce
70%-73% third marriages end in divorce
So what is the point? We are all looking for love, but what is it?
We were all in love before we were out of love, separated and divorced. We all relish the idea of ‘falling in love’ and many of us like falling in love with love or living in the state of ‘being in love’ - in that dumbfounded state when we are all consumed with that other person whom we perceive as perfect.
We are intoxicated. We feel we can never ever live without that person - then, over time, it becomes like all the other relationships . . . routine, a bit dull, sexual attraction diminishes . . . maybe other people seem more desirable . . . is this a familiar pattern?
The ‘drug’ starts wearing off - slowly but surely . . . what is left? You wonder why that initial feeling is trickling away and you can’t grasp onto it. Many people at this point move into new relationships only to experience that initial high over and over - like a drug, an addiction to newness.
Seeing goodness in the other is a key factor - when a relationship is new - that is all we choose to see - we can’t do enough for that other person - we load up with fantasies and expectations -then slowly reality sets in and we see parts of that other person that we chose not to see in the beginning stages - the disenchantment begins as does the criticism and blame. The relationship becomes ho-hum and mundane and we wonder “what happened?”
Love is a Choice
A couple of years ago a lady in her late 70s said to me “Dear, I want to tell you something. I had an affair.” My interest was peaked immediately and she continued, “And the affair I had was with my husband. I simply changed the way I behaved toward him. Instead of focusing on the things he didn’t do and continually criticizing him I decided that every time I passed by him I would hug him - tell him I loved him. From that moment on I never denied sex, since it was an expression of love for him. We had the best years of our lives!”
Similarly in an online article by Gila Manolson, there is a story about a woman who was happily married for 25 years and she says, “A relationship has its ups and downs. The downs can be really low - and when you’re in one, you have three choices: Leave, stay in a loveless marriage or choose to love your spouse.” No one can disappoint you unless you have built up a fantasy world filled with expectations of the other.
After many relationships and many life experiences, I now see that Love is a choice. I can choose to take - what can you do for me or choose to give - what can I do for you? What choice will you make today?
(Ed. Note: Judit, author of the best-selling Canadian book Free to Fly: a journey toward wellness can be contacted at 765-4551 and continues to do her therapies from home.)