Monday, October 1, 2012

The Love Connection

Wedding Day Sunrise, Newagen Harbor, Maine

Last weekend I attended my nephew's destination wedding in Southport Maine. It was a beautiful and hopeful service, honoring young love in a picturesque place. As part of the ceremony they asked three people, one representing each generation, to speak about love. My sister's good friend Fraser Clark was the speaker for the middle generation - that would be our generation.

His words brought me to tears. I think they apply to love of all types. If we all could follow these rules in our families, our  friendships, and our work relationships, even in our dealings with strangers, the world would be a better place. They are so perfect and so enlightening that I very much want to share them with you. This will make for a much longer than usual post here at FOL, but I couldn't think of a better way to close out our month honoring "connections" than to post his hopeful and profound thoughts on the most important connection for all of us - the LOVE connection.

Thoughts on LOVE for Nick and Christina

It is a deep honor to be asked to share some thoughts about love today. It is also a formidable challenge. After all, poets, songwriters, and philosophers have tried to capture the essence and mysteries of love since the beginning of time. With that in mind, I humbly add my voice to the chorus and share 5 brief lessons of love. These are lessons about celebrating, nurturing and savoring the powerful bond that so clearly exists between you. These are lessons from my heart, borne from my own experience with love, from having the honor of observing and supporting friends on their journeys in love, and from wise souls who have gone before.

     Lesson 1 - Expect and nurture change.
They often say that love is transformative. I think "they" are right. In fact, love is about change. It is perhaps the most intense aspect of our human existence. Love invites us to grow, to stretch , to mature, both as individuals and couples. Therefore, do not expect it to be static and predictable. Give the relationship space to change and grow as each of you changes and grows. Do not hold tightly to preconceived expectations. Instead, step forth boldly, inviting love's transformative power.

    Lesson 2 - Compliment vs complete each other
In our world of greeting card philosophy, we often promote the notion of two halves becoming a whole, that somehow we are completed by another person. It is an alluring notion to be sure. However, I submit that such an expectation can create unhealthy dependance and poor self-regard. Instead, today, know that you are both wonderful, whole and beautiful individuals who chose to compliment - versus complete -each other. It is by bringing your whole self to the relationship that you create something special.

     Lesson 3 - Give more than you take. 
A wise person once told me that each relationship contains its own "emotional bank." This emotional bank holds a joint account, owned by both of you. Just as you must be careful not to overdraw your checking or savings account, you have to monitor the relationship's emotional account.Be sure to make more deposits than withdrawals. A positive emotional surplus, built up over time, provides the cushion to navigate the stresses that are part of every healthy, robust relationship.

     Lesson 4 - Be a friend to each other's excitement
As individuals, each of you will surely have some unique interests and ideas. That is good. Our personal curiosity and passions are critical to happiness. As a couple, make sure that you practice being excited about the fact that the other person is excited about something. You don't necessarily have to find each other's passions to be fascinating yourself. Instead, simply know that just being a friend to each other's excitement is all it takes.

     Lesson 5 - Create and honor rituals
As individuals, we create routines and rituals in our lives. They comfort us, delight us, and give us anchors as we navigate life. The same is true in relationships. I urge you to create joint rituals that are unique and meaningful as a couple. Keep them sacred. Perhaps it's a good night kiss, an evening glass of wine, a special get-away, a favorite pet saying - it matters not. What does matter is that you practice, honor and draw mutual support and joy from your rituals.

These five lessons of love are offered with great anticipation and encouragement for what you two are about to create together. Perhaps they can best be captured in the powerful words of the songwriter:

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn... is just to love.... and be loved in return."

If you are so inspired, post your pictures of love in our Flickr group today and tomorrow Kim will announce our new InFocus theme for October.



AFishGirl said...

Such a moving and beautiful speech. I'm so grateful you shared it with us. Good reminders, good reminders. I may print it to remind myself. And hey, that October banner is great! Thanks for such a thoughtful intro to the week.

heyjudephotography said...

Fraser Clark seems to be a very wise man. His words are so true. I love "compliment not complete" and "be a friend to each other's excitement." Each point is so important to a healthy, loving relationship, and this post is a good reminder to us all. As AFishGirl mentioned above, I just may print this out as a loving reminder each day. This is a lovely way to wrap up our Connections theme. Thank you for sharing this Carol! (And your images are stunning! Just stunning!)

Dotti said...

These guidelines should be so easy, so "common sense", but ... how hard to actually remember in the stress that seems to undermine our daily lives. This is a wonderful post with meaningful guidelines for us all to remember and try to put into practice every day of our lives. Easier said than done, huh? Well, maybe if we in our FOL Family diligently practice these steps, they'll catch on and spread! Wouldn't that be wonderful?

Well done, Carol ... thank you.


Kim Stevens said...

Standing ovation . . . just wonderful Carol. Thank you so much for sharing his very wise and beautiful words here for all of us. And I agree with Pam, such a great way to start out our week!!

And to Claudia, you rock on that banner! thanks...xo

Claudia@DipityRoad said...

What a heart warming start to the week but our new month!! Great words of wisdom! Carol your photos are stunning!

Hugs to all. (by the way the banner was so fun to create because I had such wonderful material to work with!!) Bravo to you gals!


Carol said...

I'm glad you appreciated it Pam -- I thought it was just perfect.

Carol said...

Those were my favorite two also - love that excitement for the other's passion. That's what makes a real partner!

carol said...

Thanks everyone. Spread the word - the word is LOVE!
Claudia - I love the banner!

terriporter said...

Oh, yes, great tips and ones we should read every day. So perfect to say them at a wedding, starting the young couple off on the right foot. Love your photos as well as your message. Oh, and that banner -- awesome!

Deanna said...

What a truly heartfelt, loving way to end our month of connections. Thank you so much for gathering his words and sharing them with all of us. Beautiful images adding to this lovely post.

stephmull said...

What a wonderful way to end the theme this month! Thanks for sharing these beautiful words!

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