Love: In All Its Many Shapes and Forms
Our February theme at Wit & Delight this month is all about Love: in all its many shapes and forms. At first, when I dreamt up this February theme I imagined one of our witty contributors recapping a positive love experience that gave us all nostalgic butterflies and left us feeling tingly from the inside out, or maybe a non-fiction, modern-day rom-com scenario that warmed our hearts and made us laugh a little while at work. But when I awoke unusually early before the sun this morning to make coffee and prepare an unexpected breakfast—before the day even unfolded—as Muhamed and I snuggled and woke up slow and sleepily, I imagined him and I cooking together in the kitchen while sharing happy thoughts about life and the exciting weekend ahead. You know, just like one of those cheesy scenes from one of your favorite lovey-dovey movies. But instead, about seven minutes later we got into an unforeseen argument that went much deeper than this morning’s feelings, and I was harshly brought back to reality.
Things aren’t always the way you want them to be I realized, nor do they usually play out the way you expected them to in your head. But that’s because life isn’t always like a scene from The Notebook. It is not always light, bright and euphoric. Life is imperfect and messy and sometimes when you need your partner the most they simultaneously need you more.
After nearly seven years together I found myself suddenly blurt out to my fiancé this morning, “The main thing women want in a relationship is to be seen. They want to feel listened to, they want to feel heard, they want to feel special and desired. They need to feel seen for who they really are and what they are truly going through, or else they will not be happy or fulfilled in a relationship. What I’m saying is that I need to know in my heart of hearts that what I’m saying or feeling matters to you.”
When we think of love our mind often wanders to positive aspects in a relationship, but how about when love is not so easy, exciting or perfect? What if your current love life feels nothing like the first year of your relationship? How do you manage love when the going gets tough financially or emotionally with your partner? Sometimes love isn’t the preconceived textbook definition, it’s about being there for your significant other when they need you and setting your own needs aside for a bit. Sometimes love is not so glamorous and you can’t remember the last time you enjoyed a candlelit night under the covers together. Sometimes love is cleaning the bathroom or making dinner for each other after a long day. And sometimes love has nothing to do with your significant other and it’s all about the way you love yourself, friend, mom, or sister. Love is taking care of a family member when they are sick, mending a fight with a parent, or it’s as simple as going out of your way to do something nice for someone when you know they’re feeling down. I even call “love” buying Muhamed his favorite Honeycrisp apples from the grocery store, just so he knows I was thinking of him.
Love comes in many shapes and sizes and can often be found in the day-to-day. It’s the little things, I told him, like starting my Jeep in the morning when it’s cold outside or brewing me a surprise pot of coffee before work. “If you paid more attention to the little things in life, that would make all the difference.” Then I realized, it’s important to tell people what you need and how you are feeling (they are not mind readers!). After pondering my statement for a while, he then replied, “Now that I come to think about it, love and life is all about the little things that we do for others.” And then he said, “I can work on that.”
This month at Wit & Delight we want to talk about Love. What did we learn this past year about love? What do we hope to change or focus on in the upcoming year? Are there any specific relationships in our life that really affected us? Maybe we experienced a shift in the relationship with our parents or in-laws, perhaps we experienced immense hardship in our life that was extremely painful, but ultimately made us realize what true love really means. Maybe we welcomed a new baby into the world and we find ourselves insatiably tired while still learning how to love our new life and unfamiliar body all over again.
Love has SO many shapes, sizes, and colors to it.
Growth and change in love and life can be uncomfortable and hurtful, but the growth that usually comes out on the other side is almost always worth the pain. And then you discover a deeper type of love that you never knew existed. When something is causing me pain, my first thought is what is life is trying to teach me? If times are tough, I tell myself, it’s all in the balance and love or life will be good again soon, you’ll see.
During my yoga class last night the instructor said something that really stuck with me until this morning, it kind of reminded me to trust the rhythm of my own heart as I find my personal path in the world, in more or less words, she said something like this:
“Your power lies in your powerlessness, your defense lies in your defenselessness, the more you listen to your own energy and let the energy of the universe flow through you, the more you will become aware of how it is working with and for you.”
This month we are taking submissions for your stories about love. If you feel compelled, I would love for you to write in and tell us a love story, it can be any type of love story, but tell us what this experience has taught you and how it has made you grow. At the end of the month, I will choose a submission to publish on Wit & Delight. Please send submissions to: firstname.lastname@example.org by February 15 for consideration.
Thank you all for reading and happy month of love!
Stefani Ellenbecker is the Editorial Director at Wit & Delight. When she’s not feverishly editing or writing about style and interiors, she runs her bohemian shop Arden Trading Co. where she sells artisan-made home goods. She lives in Minneapolis with her fiancé Muhamed.