Love is probably the core reality of my life. Twice, I’ve been willing to give up everything external that mattered to me, for love of my family. My marriage to my college sweetheart Toni took me through the first major journey in life, gave me my daughter, taught me who I was and was not. That we were able to recognize we ultimately wanted different paths, and were able to untangle without ripping each others’ guts out—and remain family—was one of the very best things in my life.
Nothing matures you like a relationship. Learning the lessons from my first marriage, vowing to heal the wounds that led to its ending, and preparing myself to meet the perfect partner for the next phase of my life required more courage, honesty, commitment and surrender than I could have believed.
All it takes to get everything you need is everything you’ve got.
The Truth I live by is that you can either grow from direct impact with reality, or from the expansion of your heart. So long as the FIRST person you protect is YOU (otherwise you will be vulnerable to predators) you begin with love, expand outward to extend the sense of “self” to family and partner… and then to those in the next largest “circle” (Neighbors? Cousins? Associates?) then out again and again… until you embrace the entire world.
The key is to take those early steps with integrity, and with your guard up enough to protect your heart.
How to KEEP that love? Basically—continue being as sensitive, caring and dynamic as you were during the courting period. No one ever left a healthy relationship because the partner made them feel too special, loved, and desired.
How to heal a partner within a relationship? Ultimately, all you can do is heal yourself. Show the way. If they can change, they see the path, or “a” path, to wholeness. But your primary responsibility is not to give yourself away, but to create a healthy home for your own heart, and any children you may have brought into the world.