"There must be a stronger foundation than mere friendship or sexual attraction. Unconditional love, agape love, will not be swayed by time or circumstances. " -- Stephen Kendrick
If you love someone, shouldn't it be wholly? Love should not have conditions or "have to's."
When love is given with a you "must be" list, it is not unconditional.
It is easy when a relationship is new to feel madly in love and sexually excited just by the touch or a kiss from your partner. When arguments arise, they are easily worked out and forgiveness is freely given.
But what about when an illness shatters the illusion that life is always going to be a carnival ride?
When financial strains cause conflicts and resentment?
A chronic illness can leave you feeling tired, irritable and anything but desirable. Your pillow can often look far more inviting than lying in your partner's arms.
One question I have been asked many times since I have started this blog is, "Do you still really feel sexy?"
The answer is yes. Not because of the way I look in my jeans or how many pounds the scale says I weigh.
As cliche as this sounds, sexy is about knowing who you truly are and loving the beauty that is you.
I do not need my partner to instill my inner sexy. Sure a "you look hot in that dress babe," is good for my ego but even single, I would still feel happy with myself.
We are all multi-faceted beings, each unique with our experiences wrought with happiness, love, anger and hurts. These layers do not make you flawed, they make you human.
I will admit that for a time after my diagnosis and my divorce, I temporarily lost my way. My identity had until then been so based on my good health, appearances and role of wife, when these were all stripped away, I was left feeling barren.
The good news is trials in life that knock you down really can create a new, stronger you. Along with this new strength can come clarity of vision where the way previously uncertain, is now lined with sign posts.
When I was married and struggling to come to terms with my diagnosis, I could not help but feel that my husband, deep down, felt like I was a burden. That he was a pack mule carrying the whole load of the responsibilities. He was a workaholic and was never really comfortable with my choice to be a stay-at-home mother.
He tried to do all the right things, say the words he thought I wanted to hear. His unspoken feelings left me feeling resentful. After all, wasn't I the one with the debilitating illness?
I did not need to feel like I was a disappointment, a constant drain on the family finances and a not too sexy playboy playmate.
When our divorce finally came, a part of me actually felt like I had been set free. I was free to just be myself without having to try to always put on a brave front. If I wanted to sleep all day, heck I would do just that.
I used this time of solitude to rebuild my own sense of independence. I decided that I would rather be alone than be with someone that made me feel less than whole.
When I met my now new fiancé, this is exactly what I told him. I was in no way going to get myself back into that same situation of feeling like I was a ball and chain.
This is me, love me or not.
I recently had someone write to me telling me that her husband laughed at the way she now walked because of her illness. I am still saddened by this knowing that she is probably in a relationship that crushes her spirit rather than empowers her.
Is your loving relationship unconditional? Do you feel accepted for who you are? Cherished for
better or worse?
Even more important, is your self-love unconditional?
I am not advising anyone to follow the path I chose, I am just simply saying like that old song goes,
He ain't heavy, he's my brother.
Shouldn't that be doubly so for a lover?