Sally came to see me and said, “I’ve been studying Real Love for a month now. I’ve read everything I could get my hands on. I’m so happy to finally understand my life. It’s such a relief to eliminate the confusion, but now I also realize why my marriage has been a nightmare for so long. I never loved him! It’s a good thing to know, because now I’ll be able to leave this loveless marriage without any doubts.”
“Why would you leave?”
“I never loved him! How could I stay with someone I don’t love?”
I laughed out loud. “My dear, of course you’ve never loved him. Loving is a CHOICE, and you didn’t know how to make that choice. You still don’t—yet. But you can LEARN how to love him.”
“What if I don’t want to?”
I laughed again. “At this point you don’t know anything. Nothing. You don’t know how to love your husband, and you don’t even know whether you WANT to. There’s no way you could make a meaningful decision about loving anybody.”
“So what are you suggesting?”
You go to your husband and say something like this: “I've never loved you. I didn’t know how. You've never loved me either. Same reason. But so what? All we know is that we’re ignorant. We know that from the beginning neither of us had what we needed. We don’t know anything about what's possible. We need to start over and LEARN how to love. I can't say whether I'm capable of learning that—I don’t know that you’re capable either—but at the very least I think we need to find out. So let's figure it out. I'll work on me, and you'll work on you. Both of us will get help from people who can love us and teach us, and then we'll discover whether each of us can be happy and whether we can create a relationship."
Love doesn’t just happen. We learn to love. We practice loving with real people in real relationships, and that’s how we create loving relationships.
Don't know where to start?
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