I don’t have to like you to love you – but it sure helps. I don’t have to believe what you believe to love you. I don’t even have to be on the same walk you’re on to love you.
Love is a choice grown out of a heart connected to the Pure Source of Love.
My husband and I have started going dancing once a week. I taught ballroom when I was in college and dragged him into when we were first married, but life and family and LOTS of other excuses have kept us away.
But that’s not the issue I want to discuss.
Like You To Love You Moments
I want to discuss my husband’s propensity to suck at his teeth – especially after he’s eaten fruit or popcorn. The sound irritates me even right now as I’m writing this.
And trust me, I’ve told him time and time and time again.
But it’s a habit of his. Normally, a quick glance his way or even a soft sigh will be enough to remind him that he’s lighting off every nerve in my being when he does it.
Most of the time.
The last couple of weeks, he’s had fruit either just before we’ve left or while we were driving, followed by four hundred hours of amplifier enhance tooth sucking.
Maybe it’s not that bad, but when you’re trying not to be annoyed, it only amplifies whatever it is you’re trying so hard to ignore.
I made it the first week without a word. I wanted our dance date to go well. I didn’t want to knock over the applecart. Besides, he had already eaten his apple so what good would have knocking over the cart done anyway? I went to my happy place in my mind and settled in there for the rest of the trip.
The next week, I was not as successful.
First, I tried to glance at him. But he was driving and looking at the road and not looking at me, which I guess I should have been thankful for.
Next, I tried a sigh . . . or two! Again, his attention was on the road and the traffic and on getting us to class on time because we had won a free private lesson that was going to happen before the regular class session and he didn’t want to be late.
I gave up and went to my happy place once again.
The next week was way worse. I didn’t even bother to hint. “STOP!” All the previous weeks had closed in on me and I snapped.
We came home early from dancing that night.
In the moment of my snapping, I can guarantee you my husband didn’t like me all that much. And I can promise you that I didn’t like him all that much either. After all, it was his incessant teeth sucking that kicked me over the edge.
Despite it all, I still love my husband. He still loves me. Love is not a feeling, or a moment, or an experience – it is an intentional choice to see the heart. Loving the unlovely (or the annoying) is always a choice.
When people are acting unlovable or annoying, or when we are thinking unloveable or annoying, then love becomes a choice. It’s about making the intentional choice to see how they see, to feel how they feel, or to at least consider it all from their perspective.
Right after we were married, we moved into a house that was partially furnished. I didn’t have what I needed to clean and do laundry and other basic household stuff. For that first Valentine’s Day, my husband made me a card, gave me a chocolate flower, and provided me with a laundry basic full of all the items I needed.
He did it all from a place of love and that’s how I chose to see his gift. It was have been just as easy to go the other route and see the gift as an insult or a slight.
But love is not about me in that it’s not my feelings, my thoughts, or my wishes that make it so. Love IS.
Learning to Love Beyond Like
I talk about my first encounter with the whole like you to love you situation in The Husband Whisperer. To sum up the story, my husband said something and instead of reacting to his words, I ingested them. I thought on those words. I used those words that could have been detrimental to our relationships and I chose to make those words pavers for a smoother path in our journey.
1. Take a Breath
Instead of responding immediately, love stops and breathes through the emotions stirred up by the moment.
2. Take It In
Examine all aspects of the moment – what led up to it, what was happing immediately around it, and how the other person behaved. Sometimes it helps to hold up your hands and look through them like a screen like Monk always did. *Okay, that doesn’t really help, but it would be cool if it did and it may slow you enough to give you time to take it in.
3. Mull It Over
Meditate on the moment until Wisdom and Peace prevail in your heart.
When I look back at that time with my husband many years ago, I now think that I may have read a lot more into it than he intended for it to hold. He’s never been a harsh person, and his words were unfairly harsh. In the light of many years passing (and the story being told more times than I can count), I think it may have been my hearing more than his saying – but don’t tell him that.
Shift from where you are to where they are coming from. A shift in perspective may not end the annoyance, but it can allow you to get through the annoyance without falling off the cliff (or pushing anyone else).
5. Speak From A Peace Point
After you’ve worked through the other steps, you may still need to set some boundaries. “Don’t act like a baby” is not from a peace point. I’ve used that phrase. It did not end well. And that’s the milder of the phrases I’ve used even when I knew better. So before you speak, wait for peace, and only then let peace be your guide.
I don’t always like my husband. My husband doesn’t always like me. Despite the unlikeable moments, we choose Love.
If you know someone for any amount of time then you’ll encounter the like you to love you moments. Choose love anyway.
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