The merchants ardently promoting Valentine’s Day would have you believe that true love is delivered in a box of chocolates or bouquet of flowers. If only it were that easy.
Lasting love is built on a foundation of trust and intimacy. And that cannot be ordered on-line from FDT or Fannie May. It takes two people allowing their powerful feelings to surface knowing the tender emotions they share make them vulnerable to the risk of potential heartbreak.
Intimacy, sharing on a level of mutual understanding without elaborate didactic explanation, is intensely gratifying… and extremely frightening. Whether you are confessor or confident, trust is implicit before it becomes unequivocal and that takes a leap of faith, and time to grow.
When mutual trust becomes established, the connection evolves into ‘we’ in lieu of ‘you’ and ‘me.’ The result is intimacy and space for love to bloom.
It’s wonderful to be in love, the time together when feelings are so intense you feel as if your heart is swelling in happiness; you literally feel overwhelmed. And therein lies the danger; the fear of disappearing; losing individuality to the overwhelming power of “the couple.”
Even more frightening is the fear of being hopelessly immersed in love’s coils, smitten numb and desperately afraid of being abandoned. Roses and bon bons cannot save you now!
It took me a while to learn but I finally got the message: you must love yourself at the start in order to remain whole whether the relationship flourishes… or subsides. When you look in the mirror and see compassion and loyalty and integrity in the reflection, you can feel positive about the person you are, able to sustain an intimate relationship without losing yourself in the swirl of emotion that characterizes what we call love.
With a nod to being glib, I see love as a feeling and intimacy as a commitment to love. The vow intrinsic to “I love you” is the commitment to continue sharing emotional, meaningful communication, each with the other, unwaveringly betting on a positive outcome despite knowing the deep-rooted risk.
The Sees Valentine’s Candy Box is a lovely gift. But the real gift is delivered long after the chocolates are gone; sharing the joys of a close, loving relationship while remembering that intimacy begins with an “i.’