In many countries of the word, including the United States, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France and Australia, February 14 is Valentine's Day. It is a day when school children exchange "Will you be my valentine?" cards and men wander around the stores looking for something they hope will impress their chosen one.
Valentine's Day is specifically set aside for love, but the subject of love permeates every culture, from ancient times to the modern age. According the Guinness Book of Records, the oldest love poem was written by a Sumerian, who ruled between 2037 and 2029 B.C. Millions of books, poems and songs have been written about love -- lost love, unrequited love and love that lasts forever.
What are the keys to lasting love?
Doris and Bob Moody, of Gulfport, Mississippi, have been married for 73 years. They believe they have the answer -- pancakes. Doris says Bob loves pancakes for breakfast so that's what she cooks every morning. But underlying the menu choice, lies something more -- the first key to making love last.
1. Make someone happy.
Contemporary poet James Dillett Freeman, wrote a poem called, "Blessing for a Marriage." In the poem, he offers a prescription for lasting love. One of his suggestions has been repeated by most spiritual teachers through the ages. "May you have happiness, and may you find it making one/ another happy./ May you have love, and may you find it loving one another." Whatever you give out you get back. It is the law of circulation, of karma, the golden rule. "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you." Make someone else happy, offer unconditional love to another person, and the circular energy of love will be set in motion.
2. Become the person you are searching for.
The second key from Dillett's poem is to grow into your own power as a strong, happy, loving person, instead of expecting someone else to "make" you happy. He writes, "May you always need one another -- not so much to fill your emptiness as to help you to know your fullness." Two emotionally wounded people, coming together, does not constitute one whole person. Love is not a mathematical equation where one half and one half equals one. When we are wounded, we act guarded, protective and afraid of being hurt again. Openness, vulnerability and trust are necessary elements in a healthy relationship. Working on ourselves reaps more rewards than trying to find someone to heal us. Once healed, we are able to commit our hearts and minds to another.
3. Release control.
Janet Bray Atwood, author of "The Passion Test", says that we must be willing to release control of those we love. We all have the desire to be validated, loved and supported, without conditions. Yet often we put conditions on someone else. "If only you did... " or, "If only you didn't... " What we are saying is, "If you could think like me, do what I do, act like me, you would be a better person." Sometimes our feelings are only opinions, based on personal views of the world. Even though a loved one may make different choices, it doesn't make them wrong, provided they are not harming themselves or someone else. Janet advises to think of your partner first, as in, "I want for you what I want for me," the title of her upcoming series with Mentors Channel.
She says "I know every step you take in life will help you learn what you need to be or become to fulfill your life's purpose." Notice how you feel when someone says, "This isn't my way, but I know it's what you want, so I support you." Allow your loved ones to be who they are, to walk their unique path and simply accept. Give them what you would want to give yourself. In this way, love will continue to grow stronger each day.