I’m at the age where friends have reached every relationship stage — from being single, getting married and divorced, or becoming widows. Some have been in faithful relationships for more than half their lives.
No matter what stage, the friends that impress me the most are those who continue to live a life that brings them joy.
Love is an amazing thing. It makes you feel emotions that you never knew were possible. It minimizes all obstacles and has you believe that nothing can go wrong as long as you have that special someone by your side.
When a couple demonstrates unselfish love, they inspire others around them (including their children). They work tirelessly to support one another and build each other up. How does the old saying go?
A whole is only as strong as the sum of its parts.
I have friends who have been with their significant others for two decades. That’s more time than they were ever alone.
Something that often gets overshadowed when discussing successful couples is that they refuse to lose sight of who they are as individuals.
I would venture to say that the happiest moms also take time for themselves.
It is against a mother’s nature to pawn off her kids on someone else in order to concentrate on herself.
It is against a wife’s nature to leave her husband whom she loves dearly at home and opt for a girls’ night out.
But the family dynamic will suffer if individuals aren’t allowed to do what makes them happy.
Does reading to my kids every night and talking to them about their days while tickling their backs make me happy? Yes.
Does attending countless sporting events to watch my husband coach our children make me beam with pride? Absolutely.
Does sitting in Panera once a week with nothing but my computer and my thoughts to occupy my time restore my energy? OMG. I can’t even describe it to you.
I follow a blogger who recently made it a goal to take herself out on a date once a month. She is in a committed relationship, but has no children, so her self-dates include things like yoga, nature walks, dance class, movies, and museums — which are all a bit unreasonable to achieve in my world.
However, I appreciate the idea behind these self-dates: You must take the time to remember what it is that makes you happy, that brings you personal fulfillment, that inspires you.
What is your Panera escape?
My husband knows what makes me tick. We may annoy each other at times, but we allow each other space to just BE HAPPY. After all, he fell in love with me and I him. What’s the point of trying to mold each other into something we are not?
We are not perfect by any stretch of the imagination (just ask our friends), but neither is love.
To love someone is to let them continue to be the dreamer they were as a child… before they even met you.
Love is knowing someone else has your back in this adventure we call life. Love is something that makes you whole.
And, sometimes, feeling whole can be achieved by you and you alone.
Heidi Woodard is married with three children. Read her Thursdays on momaha.com.
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