Love is: holding hands when things are cloudy

(Love Is, series 22/25)

One of the toughest challenges in any relationship (as partner, parent, sibling, friend or lover) is to endure the rough and ugly moments. Life is not the movies where the only moments we will ever share are those well-parcelled little moments of perfection. There is a whole heap of less than delightful stuff that goes on too, and ultimately they are what make those other moments so wonderful.

It is a lesson I am learning as a parent, and one that is so much more powerful than I ever imagined. The opportunity to sit beside my daughter when I’m less than happy with something she has done; to hold her hand and remind her I love her, even if I’m not very happy with something. It doesn’t lessen the fact that she has to face the issue, but it removes all the anger and ‘personal disappointment’ from the situation which is so often what causes the an enduring hurt and possibly even loss of trust. She is quickly becoming a young woman and already asking of me the tricky questions that come along with that (help!); but already I feel confident that there will be no problems she will face she can’t bring to me, confident in my reaction.

With our children and siblings, that is relatively easy. But it is equally as powerful and important in love; being able to confront issues with each other knowing that ‘love’ and ‘respect’ are not fragile things that are threatened by our troubles. When something goes wrong, it comes so quickly; this feeling of wanting to lash out and express rage and disappointment. But if we take a breath and assess what we’re really feeling (and more importantly why we’re feeling it) we find that it’s the shock of the unexpected that causes reaction. The rest often isn’t even rational.

They say ‘a burden shared is a burden lifted’. Well, I certainly don’t think problems in love and life are necessarily that easy, but I do think that if we hold onto the simple truths – that we love and care for each other deeply, and these are not things we take away, not even in a moment of anger or disappointment – then the burden seems a hell of a lot more manageable.

Love passionately, love unconditionally; and let those in your heart know you love them consistently and constantly.

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