How I Learned To Love

How I Learned To Love

Sometimes you need to learn what you need in order to make a relationship work.
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I believe to love and to be loved is one of the most beautiful things life has to offer. The magical feeling you get when you have found someone who gets you and all your quirks is unmatched. And the adventures that you and your love will go on are ones that you both will cherish for a lifetime. With that said, it is not only important to note the beauty of love, but also how to love. Knowing how to love is not inherent to everyone; it takes experience, lots of trial and error and the wisdom that you will eventually get it. So, how do you know how to love?

For me personally, I think expressing to my partner how I respond to love the best was rather difficult. For a long time, I felt as though it was their obligation to figure it out. I talk a lot about the things that I find important or the things that I like and for a while I felt like that was enough for my partner to figure out how I was feeling and what I needed. But after being together for some time, I quickly realized that my partner’s world does not revolve around me and that they might not be paying close attention to me as maybe I assumed. I am not saying this in a negative way or as a dig at them at all; what I am trying to say is that we are all very busy. We have school and work and extracurriculars and planning our lives after college out and when you add a relationship to that mix, the expectation for my partner to notice all the little nuances of my love language is at best unrealistic.

So, as I came into that understanding, I began to realize that the best way for my partner and I to really understand each other’s needs and love language was not to play this game that I had all planned out in my head, but just to be honest with them. I know it sounds like a boring answer, but it’s the truth.

With that said, the other day I was honest about something that really meant a lot to me and I would like to share it with you all reading this. Ever since I was a little kid, I have kept a memory box. This is a box where I store things that remind me of some of the happiest parts of my life. The box is filled with pictures and postcards and letters and cards from people who love me and know me the best. The box is something that I really treasure because I did not have the best childhood and those negative and sad experiences left me wanting to preserve anything positive that I was left. Thus, things like letters mean a lot to me.

I bring up letters because this was something I wanted to do with my partner. I wanted each of us to write a letter to the other person talking about our feelings for each other as we came up on our one year anniversary. However, I failed to explain to my partner the significance of what this letter meant to me and thus my partner really didn’t understand the importance of it. Since he is not the best with expressing himself through writing, he ended up deciding not to write the letter because he found himself feeling silly when he attempted at it. His feelings were indeed genuine, but I couldn’t help myself from feeling hurt. This letter meant a lot to me and the fact that I had put so much effort in writing mine and he did not write one at all left me sad for deep reasons I could not begin to understand.

And then I slowly began to figure it out. I wasn’t actually upset that I didn’t receive a letter. My sadness over the letter stemmed from my need for words of affirmation; one of the many love languages I did not realize was important to me. Once I realized that I am someone who really craves words of affirmation from my partner, I was able to verbalize that to my partner and help him better understand me and my needs.

I tell this short story to say that oftentimes we have these expectations of how our partner should treat us without recognizing that we ourselves may not know what those expectations even are. So, to go back to the question I posed in the beginning of this article: how do you know how to love someone? I truly believe the answer lies in learning how to love yourself first. Once you learn how to love yourself first, you can guide your partner along that journey so that as a couple you will know how to love each other in the best way.

Cover Image Credit: Fairuseimages

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21 Reasons You Should Date Someone Who Was A Camp Counselor

Spouse and parent material, all wrapped up in an animal shirt, Nike shorts, and Chacos.
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1. They shop at Goodwill mostly... low maintenance you could say?

SEE ALSO: The ABC's Of Summer Camp

2. They are pretty awesome at talking to parents... opening days have given good practice for them. Give them 15 minutes and they will become best friends with your parents.

3. Their best friends actually are long distance...so you can wait a while to meet their besties who will want to know everything about you and make sure your intentions are good.

4. They have learned how to look decently presentable without showering for a week... maybe two...you may or may not like this one.

5. They are always down for adventure... sure let's hike for eight miles uphill in the middle of the week!

6. They know what it is like to be woken up at 2 a.m. because someone wet their bed... mom training.

7. They also know how to give the "modest is hottest" talk to the teenage campers... and will help give you a classy future daughter.

8. Building fires is their hidden talent... if you ever get stuck on a deserted island with them they can help you.

9. Animal shirts are a common clothing item... they know how to have fun.

10. They throw killer dance parties... ones your grandma would approve of.

11. They are used to being publicly embarrassed for others (their campers') enjoyment... and usually can take a joke or prank well.

12. They also know how to prank you back... summer camp prepares you for awesome prank wars.

13. If you want to see her with no makeup on just look at her camp photos... natural beauty?

14. They actually love children... they chose to spend a whole summer loving other people's kids; imagine how awesome they will treat their own.

15. Chances are they are a really fun person and will bring out your inner child... yes, climb that random tree and paint your face because it is Wednesday.

16. Their "real job" will come later in life... they will end up being successful. Most employers love to hire former counselors, so it is not a waste of a summer.

17. They know how to hide their favorites in life really well... so if they choose to date you they are basically saying you are their favorite and that is a big deal to them.

18. They have learned how to eat unhealthy food every day for a whole summer and stay in shape... or try to at least.

19. They also are obviously not a diva when it comes to material needs...they went a whole summer without even air conditioning and never complained.

20. If they love you anything like they love their campers your needs will always be put first...they are some of the most selfless people you will ever meet.

21. They love God, living for Him, and have already made a difference in many children's lives... they are the real MVPS.

If you are still looking for a place to work this summer and love adventure, Jesus, and children, apply for Camp Crestridge for Girls; they still have many positions available. I'll be there so you should too!

If you are a boy apply for Camp Ridgecrest for Boys!

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You've Heard Of 'How To Be Single,' But Let's Talk About 'How To Be Romantic'

For some of us, it takes work to be cutesy and romantic.

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Okay, I'm probably the least romantic person anyone has ever met. Not to say that I'm a bad girlfriend or that I'm not caring. I just find love in simple things like knowing what to order for them at restaurants, doing their laundry, planning unique dates, or cooking for them. It's not that I'm opposed to being arduous, I've just never been a chocolate and flowers kind of girl. I'm more of a Mongolian hot pot and "let's walk across the Brooklyn Bridge!" kind of girl. I appreciate some effort, tailoring something to fit a person's idiosyncratic personality or general spontaneity, not how flowery something looks. Not saying that I'm not feminine, I'm just my own entity, so to speak, and that translates into my love life. Needless to say, I thought I should learn how the other half lives, so I've challenged myself to take a course on being a classic/hopeless romantic just to understand how others think and who knows I might change some of my habits!

1. Leave notes

I think it's a really cute and simple idea that I will try to do because it makes everything very personal.

2. Write them a poem

I've had this done for me but I've never actually done it, because believe it or not, I didn't like to read or write poems up until this year.

3. Cuddling

Okay, so I'm not a cuddler, I have no idea why — it's more or less a personal space and attachment issue, I guess. I love hugs though! I guess I just have to be in the mood to cuddle and at times I can be. Other times it just makes me nervous.

4. Dedicate a song to them on the radio

It seems like the people on the radio that do this are crazy in love and honestly, to be able to have the ability to go on the radio and just declare your love for someone else is really inspiring.

5. Surprise them!

I personally cannot stand surprises, but I love to surprise other people and just be spontaneous, so I sort of do this already.

6. Carve your names into a tree

I've thought about doing this, but I've never got around to it, so I promise one day I will.

7. Go see a romantic movie

Nope, nope, I'll barf! Not happening, strictly horror movies for this girl, sorry!

8. Make them a care package

See, this makes me think a lot about what really defines romantic, because I do this all the time, but I don't consider it romantic, I just think it's sweet.

9. Take a walk on the beach together

I've done this, but I have to be doing this while looking for seashells or I feel like I'll be bored.

10. Make a CD for them

"THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER," CHARLIE IS QUAKING.

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