Love – it is a concept that eludes me most of the time. I can’t explain it and I don’t understand it but that doesn’t mean that I don’t feel it. I just have a hard time understanding all that encompasses it and figuring out who gets it and why.
My wife and I were discussing our relationship and how we are working to improve it and this topic came up. She told me that she knew that I loved her and that she expected it to always be there. If she made a mistake, my love for her would not change. I may be hurt from her actions, but she is right, I would still love her. While I have this concept for her, I do not have the same view for myself. I think that I need to constantly earn her love. I need to work at it for her to give me love. But that is not exactly correct, she gives it freely just as I do. However, I cannot accept it unless I feel I earned it. This view does make sense in why I always try and make holidays and events overly special for her.
This did worry her though. She thinks that I need to understand that I can accept her love without having to do anything. I don’t think I can. I don’t believe that I deserve love. It isn’t a concept that I was gifted with from an early age, so to me if I don’t earn it, then I don’t deserve it. She believes that everyone deserves love. While I kind of agree, I cannot put myself in that category. She tried to use the example of our kids. If they did something bad, I would still love them. I may be disappointed or hurt but I would still love them.
I think they do deserve my unconditional love and I think my wife deserves it as well, but I have too many ghosts and too many demons to just get love freely. People don’t go around and just give love to everyone they meet. I am sure there are a few people who can (Mother Theresa, Dalai Lama,…), but most of us cannot be like that. People have to earn our trust and then our love in order for us to get it. If I earn this love once, is it that far fetched to think that I need to continue to earn it. If I then betray your trust, is it difficult to think that you may not love me anymore. How many times do you hear someone say that they have “fallen out of love” with someone? Isn’t that just another way of saying that they no longer deserve love because they stopped earning it? I am sure the process is not instantaneous, but it obviously occurred.
Maybe I am seriously messed up from a rough childhood, but in my head what I am saying sounds logical. Love, romantic love, is not something that is guaranteed. It is not something that I expect. It is something that must be earned through everything I do and say. I know I am a walking contradiction because I give it freely to my wife without any expectations. I want her to feel it everyday without worrying, like I do, about how she is going to earn it today. It is also difficult for me to understand why she is still with me. I have done numerous things that have shown that I do not deserve her love, yet here she is. She stays even though I really don’t deserve her or her love. This makes it more difficult to accept because I don’t understand the motivation behind her staying with me. Is she here waiting for me to get comfortable and then she will leave? That way it will hurt more, just like I hurt her. Maybe she is staying because she can’t leave right now. She has to get her ducks in a row and then she can pull away. I write these things but I really don’t believe either of them are possible with her. She is not that type of person and she does not seek out retribution on those who have wronged her. Instead, she figures that she needs to learn from it and move on. It is just who she is. I am not that person.
While she may give her love freely I cannot accept it freely. I don’t accept anyone’s love freely. Then again it is not like I have people throwing love at me. I think I could count them on one hand. It is just hard to have lots of people love you when you don’t deserve it from the beginning. For me anyways, I cannot understand why someone would give me something I have not earned. Especially not something as valuable as their love.