This was originally posted on I believe In Love (iBiL). This site is an amazing resource of stories and advice about life, love, marriage, dating and parenting all written for and by Millennials. Check it out here.
I believe in love because it has helped me to grow.
Now, I am not talking about spontaneous growth due to crazy, passionate love or anything like that. I’m talking about the type of growth that comes from people loving you so much that they tell you how amazing you are. But, equally importantly, they will tell you what’s wrong with you.
You see, when I was little, my parents let me know that I could be occasionally defensive. Of course, that’s a totally impossible accusation to argue against because well, then you’re just being defensive.
So, I must admit, it took me a while to see it. But eventually I was able to use what my parents were telling me to make changes in myself, to allow myself more time to process before reacting, to think through what my knee-jerk defensiveness was about.
In my marriage, my husband used to tease me by calling me “Things Remembered,” which is the name of a store that specializes in personalized engravings. In his usual funny way, he was pointing out to me that I tend to personalize things sometimes and can be too sensitive.
Seeing a theme here?!
I’ve made it my mission in our marriage to let more go, to lessen what I take so personally, and to not read into things more than warranted.
I’ve got to admit, though, when you’re a trained Ph.D. in psychology, it’s hard not to read into things. But sometimes, these changes have to happen for the sake of your relationship.
You see, I didn’t automatically grow. Rather, it was healthy love that provided the most secure, committed, and safe place for me to learn about my “issues” in relationships and to grow to become a better me.
When I say healthy love, I mean this openness to change goes both ways. I truly believe that one of the purposes of love is to give you a safe space to have others provide a kind of mirror to help you see your reflection.
The self-awareness that develops through your relationships with other people can challenge you to stretch, bend, and develop to become better, not just for your own gain, but also for those you love.
My love for my children has helped me grow. My love for and being loved by my husband has helped me grow. My parents’ love for me and my love for them helped me grow.
You see, this is what a healthy, strong love is all about. It doesn’t mean that we are perfect or that our relationships are perfect. It does mean we have a secure framework for personal change and development.
I know not everyone is fortunate enough to have this kind of healthy, strong love. But it’s something I encourage others to find and develop in their own lives. Because I know personally and professionally, that this kind of love is truly a powerful and beautiful thing.
My name is Morgan and I believe in love because it helps people grow.