I had a wonderful life. I was married for 26 years to a beautiful, kind, loving woman I met in college. We have three sons, young men with warm hearts and exemplary character. I lost my wife through separation, and my wonderful life was turned upside down.
My wife gave me more than what I gave her in return. She remained with me for all those years despite not being fulfilled in the marriage, by settling for a relationship that was less than what she expected and even less than what she deserved. She let go of me and my flaws: the silent treatment, the broken trust, the negative energy, the closed heart, the poor communication skills.
As I am writing this, I have been separated from my wife and my home for 7 weeks. It hurts so much. The pain is in my heart every day. It subsides just long enough for me to believe that I can survive the absence relatively intact. But then, when the pain re-emerges, it does so with vengeance and pushes me back to remorse, guilt, and depression.
When I left home, I packed my bags and began an inner journey to save myself and expect more from myself than I could possibly have imagined. To undo what was inside of me and sustain the change forever. I am almost 50 years old now, but it has only been these last seven weeks that I have realized how to love someone special with an open heart as I relive all the moments in my marriage both large and small where I treated my wife—my partner through life—with a closed heart.
For anyone who is in a serious relationship, I advise you to make a commitment to your partner in the following ways before it is too late, to prevent you from experiencing the shock of having your world turned upside down, as I have had.
When you find that special someone, make a commitment to fiercely love that person with everything you’ve got, with every breath you take. Make the comfort and well-being of your partner your objective every day. Never let work or hobbies or the everyday noise and grind of life get in the way. Never lose sight of who is important in your life because you don’t know how good your life is until your special someone is gone.
When you find that special someone, connect with them emotionally. Feel their pain if they are feeling pain and do everything you can to lighten their pain. Be their rock, their support system, cry with them, let them feel both of you are in it together through the tough times because this will make the pain a little more bearable. If they are happy, be happy with them. Laugh with them, dance with them, bask in their happiness. If they are feeling down, brighten their day—offer them a hug, let them rest their head on your shoulder, write them a note, tell them you love them, hold their hand, any small, thoughtful gesture will help.
If they are frustrated, listen to them first. Let them know you understand their frustration. They don’t want you to solve their problem; they want you to sympathize with them and hear from you that you’re in it together.
When you find that special someone, it’s the little things you do and say that make a big difference in your relationship and in your heart. It’s the small acts of kindness that show you care and respect your partner, that you appreciate that person.
Make that first cup of morning coffee for them. Share in all the mundane tasks of living together so that the burden does not fall disproportionately onto them. Observe all the little things that make them special: their laugh, their empathy, the way that they look in the morning when they get out of bed, the way that they make the people around them feel good about themselves, the way they hold your hand tightly, the way they lean into you and smiles from ear to ear when someone takes a picture of you two, the way they connect with you and understands who you are, where you’ve been, and where you are going, and the way that they look at you with admiration in their eyes and pride in their heart knowing they made the right decision in picking you.
Comfort them, respect them, support them, nurture them. Be their favorite person to be with.
When you find that special someone, never be lazy in loving them. The reward for opening up your heart and loving them will be a lifetime of happiness.
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