“Love isn’t a state of perfect caring. It is an active noun like “struggle.” To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now.” (Mister Rogers)
My children grew up watching Mr. Rogers, so I ended up watching a lot of it, too. I like this piece of advice from Fred Rogers because it correctly states a fact about love that is oft overlooked. Society has too often accepted the idealized notion that we “fall in love”. I have learned over time that love is not a passive thing that one falls into. Love must be worked at to be successful. A big part of that effort is the acceptance of the things that one might wish were different about the person that they love. Work at it.
Couples whom you might know who appear to have loving successful relationships do not live in some dream world of perfection; instead, they have worked at understanding and accepting each other. They have found ways, not to overlook their partner’s faults (if that is even the right way to express differences) but to accept them and go on with life. Work at it.
The young often mistake physical attraction and sexual pleasures for love, but both change over time and if there is not more to the relationship the result is most often divorce. I often hear from loving couples that their partner is also their best friend – the person that they most enjoy being around and the one person that they can count on. Those are people who have worked at love. Work at it.
Trust, openness, sharing, and acceptance are all parts of what makes up a successful relationship – a loving relationship. Those things are only possible once both partners start accepting the other as they are. Work at it.
There is a quote attributed to the late Queen Elizabeth II – “Grief is the price we pay for love.” Grief is a past-tense way of looking at love. I would submit that a present-tense way of looking at love is – “Acceptance is the price we pay for love.” Love is an active, living thing that must be worked at to be successful. Work at it.
I cannot complete my thoughts on this topic without touching upon abusive relationships. In those cases, it is a big mistake to accept that abusive behavior or to believe that you can somehow change that partner. An even bigger mistake is believing that it somehow your fault that you are being abused. The only thing that is your fault is staying in that relationship. Get out and get on with life. The love that you are seeking to share will not be found in that type of relationship. Life will never be perfect, but it does not have to be abusive. Work on it.