What is the meaning of love? What is the meaning of True love? And why does true love hurt?
This question has been the topic of inquiry since the dawn of time, starting with the very first couple, Adam & Eve.
I’m not prepared to give a complete answer, even though I wish I could. But one way to glean an insight into the nature of True love is in its absence — i.e., a broken heart.
Sometimes, we don’t even realize we are in love until we feel the unique pain of a broken heart. It can start in the stomach, like an acute case of butterflies, and then make its way up to our mind, informing us that we are rejected, we are not good enough, and the mother of all fears, that we are not lovable.
But in the end, it just sits there, heavy in our chest, pressing on our heart, threatening to burst.
How’d we get here?
When working with couples in pain, I’m always impressed at how they got there. The love and trust underneath their struggles that enabled them to become so vulnerable with each other.
Most have a long history of caring for each other and sharing their lives, their thoughts, their home, and their bodies. These men and women are the hand-holders, the huggers, and the love-makers.
What a powerful statement they have made about their partners — they trusted them with their most precious gift — their heart, followed by their soul.
But in my office, they share what’s not working. Why their feelings are hurt, and why nothing is as good as it once was, why their true love hurts so much.
So for this moment, they feel out of love. They don’t look at each other the same, they don’t respect each other as much, and they don’t speak to each other with sensitivity and respect.
My job is to remind them that what they are currently experiencing isn’t real and that it doesn’t have to stay this way.
Because if you gave away your heart to your soulmate, it means that you found them worthy of your devotion, your admiration, your body, and your trust.
And in most cases, that’s all still there, right below the surface. Your partner didn’t overnight turn into an ogre, a serial killer, or a compulsive gambler. Instead, he hurt you. He said something unkind or behaved insensitively, has become impatient, or maybe has just stopped trying.
In reality, he is still the giving person you fell in love with years ago. He is generous, connecting, a good listener, handsome, caring, and compassionate.
But today, you don’t feel it. You can’t access those memories because you are hurting, and your relationship feels broken. And it seems like it will be this way forever.
It won’t. I assure you that when you start practicing love again, when you turn love from a feeling to an action, your heart will follow.
And then so will his.
Here are three things you can do to re-ignite your relationship:
Send a love text:
“Honey, I know we are struggling. But I love you and am confident that we can get through this.
Do a kindness:
Bring flowers, do the dishes, or make dinner.
Greet each other with a hug. Gently rub her shoulders. Reach for his hand.
For more details on this, go read How to Avoid
What’s stopping you?
Recently, I assigned gratitude homework to a young man, which entails writing a short, appreciative text to his wife 3–4x a week. Additionally, he was to screenshot the text to me as well as her response.
In between sessions, I realized he wasn’t sending me anything so I reached out:
Me: “Hi — Can you forward me your homework?”
Him: “I don’t have any.”
Me: “Why not?”
Him: “Well, I’ve been with my wife all week, and it would be awkward to send her a text when she’s sitting right next to me.”
Me: “I don’t know if she would agree with that Let me check”.
I quickly asked his wife over text if she would appreciate kind words to her phone, even if they were in the same room.
“I’d be thrilled,” she responded, “I wish he would.”
Me: “How would he know you are thrilled?”
Her: “I’d run over and hug him and even smooch, too!”
When I shared that news with her husband, the texts began to flow like water.
When we are in a bad place, everything looks dark and true love hurts. But your partner couldn’t resist you before. And they still can’t now. Kindness, appreciation, gratitude, compassion, and affection. These are the tools that transform love into a verb.
Generously apply, and watch miracles happen!