We think of love as founded on admiration for our partner. Instead, a lot of time, we should see love as an act of generosity towards our partners less appealing side. Although we may look like adults, in many ways we remain children. Like children, we are not always able to determine and express what is really bothering us. This doesn’t means our partners should be treated like children, but that their complaints might need to be treated for their deeper meaning.
When we can manage it, we should focus on soothing and reassuring rather than hitting back with equal force. The will to be generous isn’t weakness. it is charity towards the partner’s frailties based on a sound recognition, that we too will soon enough need them to be benevolent to us. Although it is satisfying to be admired, we will finally have tasted love when it is our weaknesses that inspire a kind response. Anyone we get together with will, over time, require a considerable degree of generosity.
With enough patience and encouragement we could love almost anyone. Even the most outwardly gnarled and damaged person. That is why we call love, with good reason, hard work. It isn’t a sign that love as gone wrong, but that it’s grown into something mature, substantial and worth valuing.