A Love Letter: The Nature of Love

Dave and Marcie on their wedding day in 1979

A Guest Post by Dave Driver

November 2, 2017

A young friend posited the following: “I know the ones we love are never things we own. And I know that love is something to be given freely, not to be expected. Finally, I know that all things change in time, especially human beings. It is for all these reasons I wonder why long-term relationships are to be pursued.”

I sent this in reply:

The Nature of Love

You asked me about the nature of love, specifically why long-term relationships are something to be pursued. Wow! Great question.

I humbly offer the following illustration.

I love my wife, Marcie, for many reasons, very few of which I can actually articulate. Not won’t, but can’t. I don’t have adequate words. That in itself should tell us something about the amazing nature of love–indescribable.

But when I boil it down I come up with this: I love Marcie because she invites me to see the goodness within myself. When I see my own goodness I love myself more and I attribute that (rightly) to Marcie. So I love her as an extension of myself. If she caused me to see only aspects of myself that I could not love, I would not love her because she would be inviting things out of me I could not love about myself.

There is no guarantee that by loving someone else they will see their own goodness. It may simply be we are not the right person to love them. Something about us, to them, doesn’t represent that invitation for them to see their own goodness, to love themselves. And if they don’t find in us a way to love themselves they are not likely to love us back.

Dave Driver and wife Marcie in Greece in 2017
Dave and Marcie, Greece 2017

Or it may be a lack of trust. If Marcie makes a suggestion of a corrective nature I can choose to see it as an attack on my character or as an opportunity to learn and grow. If I trust her (which I do) I choose growth over attack and love myself more and love Marcie more because she invited me to greater goodness. If I am hiding or defending, I love myself less and attribute that to Marcie as well. Same two people, same exact words, different outcome based on trust or mistrust.

Trust is often given but deep trust is built.

Short-term relationships don’t allow for deep trust to be built. In the short term the initial granted trust may be broken and the relationship discarded. If it ends there, no deep trust can be built. As a result we don’t get to see our full goodness that would emerge from a love held deeply over a long span of time.

After thirty-seven years Marcie and I are still discovering and rediscovering things about ourselves. We see things in each other that only years of loving could have uncovered: habits, inherited traits, cultural beliefs, and persistent likes that show up decades apart. Without the thread of history we would miss out on the deeper aspects of our own goodness only long-term relationships can uncover.

We asked for advice from my grandparents when we were just getting married and they simply said, “Spoil each other.” Because “each other” presumes a two-way street, there is little chance for either to become selfish. By heaping love on each other we invite continued goodness to our marriage.

I can’t describe in words how much I loved Marcie thirty-seven years ago. But what I couldn’t say then is nothing compared to the words I don’t have for it now.

Dave Driver is a​ husband first, father to two grown children (5 grandkids, thank you for asking), a​ science teacher, ​and, finally, a yog​a teacher​. Dave has recently authored and published his first book, The Bottom Turtle, which through humor, humility, and insight, invites its readers to love more and judge less.

Visit Dave’s website to read about or purchase his book.

Your turn: What does long-term love mean to you?

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18 thoughts on “A Love Letter: The Nature of Love”

  1. Dave, thank you for sharing your enduring love story. Each love story teaches readers a little something about the make-up of love. It’s fun to read about what makes each story unique and successful. Congratulations on 37 years. May you and Marcie have 37 more.

  2. Well this a rather lovely & heart warming post. I too believe in long-term love, but also believe it’s not always easy to find. I have been with my husband for 18yrs and easily love him more now than when we first met & fell in love. We have that kind of unspoken love. We don’t need to bestow each other with gifts & platitudes to know we love each. It’s there when we laugh at each others’ jokes (jokes that barely need any words to form), it’s there when we can rely on each without each other having to ask in the first place, it’s there when we listen & support each other, it’s there when he’ll distract me and stealthily remove a large spider that’s sitting near me as he knows my morbid fear of them only too well, it’s there when I know he needs peace & quiet and it’s always there when we hold each other. It’s implicit. Great post.

    1. thebeasley, Thank you for adding to this rich conversation about love. Be it spiders, or quietness, or hugs, unspoken love can speak volumes.

    1. Hi, Lisa,
      That’s such a great point! “Both and” not “either or”. Both romantic love AND friendships benefit from long term goodness.

  3. This post made want to tell my husband the goodness I see in him. He is away working right now and probably will not be home until Christmas.
    I just wanted to add a statement that a older friend said to me years ago that made really see my relationship with my hubby. She said when her husband asked her to marry him, she thought, yeah I think I could hang out with him for the rest of my life. It made see that I felt the same way. 🙂

    1. Oh, Diana, that such a beautiful memory, someone you could hang out with. Thank you for adding to the different ways we can find depth to our relationships.

    1. Bombtune, that’s such a beautiful perspective. Always growing. Always learning. Hopefully moving towards deeper love.

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