From various people in my personal life as well as in books and television, I have heard the comment better to have loved once than not at all. I agree with this sentiment but what I think should be added is loving well. In the dictionary love is a noun defined as “an intense feeling of deep affection.” The definition of love is only a starting point because there are all forms of love. We often think about a mother having the deepest love for her child, however, father’s as well can care for and love their children. Yet still above all the idea of love normally brings up physical attraction between two people.
Part of what forms our idea of the meaning of love is during our formative years. Quite simply what we see in our homes as a child has the biggest deciding factor in how we love and are loved. Just a few days ago if my father were still living my parents most likely would have celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary. I say this because when my father died they were married 31 years; and there was no reason to think they wouldn’t remain married. My parents just as most people had ups and downs during their marriage but it was pretty much a solid union.
From both my parents, I learned that I must love and respect myself; this is required if I were to expect others to do the same. My father made it clear to me that no man should ever hit or harm a woman. He would constantly state this over and over through my teenage years and into my twenty’s. Most importantly his actions spoke just as loudly as his words. Even with a hot temper my father never hit or harmed my mother. He made it clear to me that a man always had the option to walk away from the situation and quite frankly a man who hit a woman was a punk.
In teaching me to have respect for myself and not allowing anyone to take advantage of me, my father is largely responsible for my strong self-esteem. My parents were not excessively affectionate in public and I can probably count the number of times I saw them kiss. What they didn’t show is what stays with me the most. They didn’t show doubt in the reason they were married, they didn’t hesitate in letting me know I was loved and important. On the day my father died the words of my mother still rang in my ears. In the hospital, when she went to say her good-bye to my father, with his breathe barely out of his body she gave him a kiss. She explained later that initially she was hesitant. However, she thought about the fact that he had never hurt her in life, so he wouldn’t now that he was deceased. The day of father’s death was the final and strongest lesson of love my parents taught me.
So now, I have a my own solid union having been together with my husband 26 years and married 18 years. We both take the lessons of love and self-respect that were shown to us by example. No love is perfect anyone who thinks that should probably have their head examined. With respect and communication love can grow stronger each day.