When I was little, I asked my father why there were so many songs about love on the radio. He told me it was because love is the greatest thing on earth. I didn’t understand at the time, but the older I get, the more important love becomes. In fact, I feel like my capacity to give and receive love grows every year.
A few days ago, I was talking to my BFF Kat — the infamous Rock N Roll Bride — when she told me that she’d just received an email from a woman about an engagement video. It’s excerpted below.
My name is Lucy Pope and my fiancé is Daniel Marshall, our wedding was booked for 22nd October this year and we were so excited. We had grand plans including a whole bunch of flamingos, multi-coloured balloons, balloons spelling ‘Fuck Yeah Dan & Lucy’, our dog dressed as Pikachu, general craziness. Daniel described it as ‘like a rainbow has thrown up everywhere’! In short, it was going to be a day of happiness and mentalness perfectly summing us up. … Three weeks ago Daniel collapsed at home from a suspected stroke, two days later he passed away after we were told that his cancer had returned and spread to his brain and his lungs. He was 29.
I watched their engagement video with tears in my eyes.
The other day as I flew home from Miami, I read Lily Dale: The True Story Of The Town That Talks To The Dead. The author, Christine Wicker, wrote about a woman who, upon discovering her husband had been diagnosed with leukemia, turned researching the disease into her full-time obsession. Despite her endless late-night internet research sessions and moving close to the best cancer facility in the country, it wasn’t enough. He still lost his life to cancer, and she carried endless guilt that she hadn’t done enough to help. She went to Lily Dale to try and contact her husband on the other side. I couldn’t prevent my tears welling up as I learned about her deep sadness.
Maybe it’s because I’m smitten, head-over-heels, experiencing the deepest love I’ve ever felt. Or maybe I’m getting sentimental in my old age. But these two stories really rocked me, and gave me an indispensable change of perspective.
Being in love is so special and it’s so rare. Yes, it can be complicated. Sometimes our partners do things that drive us insane. We have conversations that break our hearts, shatter our illusions, decimate our ego. We get frustrated thinking about how we wish it could be. All of these things are normal, but when we stay stuck in that place of annoyance, we are snubbing the gift of love.
Nothing is promised. You could die tomorrow, or you could lose the love of your life. If you’ve been blessed with meeting a person who makes your heart flutter and brings light to your everyday existence, recognise how unbelievably special that is. Treasure it!
Take selfies and hold hands. Say you’re sorry. Stop keeping score. Make grand plans for the future. Don’t hold back about how you feel, because otherwise, you may never have the chance to tell them.
Make the decision to see your partner with fresh eyes every day, with no attachment to old stories or old hurts. Choose to see them as perfect (read Succulent Wild Love for more on this concept). Practice gratitude with the person you love. Wake up in the morning and ask yourself, ‘How can I make my partner happy and their life easier today?’
If you’re in love, try not to be afraid of it. Sometimes we get scared that if we’re too excited about it, it will be taken away. Even if it is, that doesn’t matter. It’s better to love bigger and bolder and brighter than to keep a lid on your love story.
And if your relationship ends? Don’t see it as a failure. Stop viewing relationships as something you “win” or “lose”. Every interaction with another person is an opportunity to learn and grow, and with intimate relationships, that opportunity is tenfold. You don’t have to be with someone until their final breath for that relationship to have been valuable or transformative. Give love, share love, celebrate it, and be thankful for what you’ve had.
To love, in all its forms.