Editor's Note | What's Forever For?
Lasting love is built on much more than a feeling.
Consider love. Valentines Day. Romance. Sugar. Shakespeare.
It's an interesting time of year when love is expressed through chocolate and pre-fabbed sentiment. Read through the 'mush' section of the card racks and you begin to see that most of the 'stuff ' of Valentines Day is based on the 'feelings' of love. In fact, love is largely considered a feeling that you want, have, lose or fall into accidentally. While twitterpation is a fun part of the initial stages of a relationship, it mellows—hopefully matures.
The differences between new love and true love are vast, though new love is all the rage. The trick to lasting happiness is to make love last. To make it grow. To keep the music playing. With all the emphasis on newness, is failure in love inevitable? Are lasting love stories the exception? If not, then why do so many relationships whither, and even die? Lack of love? Lack of service? And, how does the end of love begin? Certainly not overnight. These questions stem from the four divorces and a funeral I've recently witnessed.
Lasting love is built on much more than a feeling. Lost love, on the other hand, is the accumulation of smaller thoughts, acts and interactions with disregard for the consequences. Relationships die one step at a time. Just as it takes years to build deep and abiding love, ruining a relationship is a step-by-step process. The problem is, the consequences of those steps are seldom instant.
Follow me on this. If you haven't been disciplined enough to read a book in the last 60 days, does that immediately impact your life? Probably not dramatically, so you assume it doesn't really matter in your life. And that's the danger. Worse than not reading for 60-days is not realizing it matters. Similarly, we all know junk food creates future health problems, but the moment of non-consequential joy outweighs the future downside. Smokers justify one cigarette because it doesn't 'matter' now. Similarly, daily departures without a hug or a goodbye kiss or not ever making the bed, or picking up the socks, or whatever the little irksome domestic issue, will tend to accumulate into the fatality of love.
"Failure's most dangerous attribute is its subtlety." Brilliant quote. "It's not the mountain that lies ahead, but the grain of sand in your sock that will wear you down." Today, little errors don't seem to make a difference. In fact, we often experience little persistent errors amidst times of great joy and prosperity. But if it doesn't feel like failure today, we repeat the issues. Too bad love doesn't have a hot stove. Immediate pain would quickly fix relationships through a thousand little things like enthusiastic hellos and goodbyes, and thoughtful Friday night dates or spontaneous foot-rubs. But it doesn't, and unless we take measures to assess ourselves and pursue open communications, we run the risk of walking around with sand in our house slippers.
Fortunately, the formula for success is simple. Vision. Daily discipline. If you want to change your formula for failure into seeds of success, start by making the future a key consideration in today's little decisions. Since the future is the accumulation of tiny successes and tiny failures, starting each day and making each decision with an eye on the future is critical. In love, it starts with a daily hug and a sincere 'I love you.'
The good news of success is this: Whether we are talking about education, health, or love, implementing a few simple changes every day yields immediate results. Converting minor missteps into daily disciplines is a magic key to future success. Changing our diet today will produce improved health noticeably in a matter of days. Beginning a reading program creates awareness and interest and confidence right away. Exercise creates vitality immediately. And honest affection and a listening ear repairs relationships instantaneously.
So, as we go through February, let's realize that the future is out there. In fact, it's upon us. And it's the little daily decisions today that will determine the polish or tarnish on our relationships when we get there. Happy February.