Love Illuminated Part Two

In February, I wrote a blog on love called “Love Illuminated.”


love illuminated


It was based on a book written by Daniel Jones, the editor of the New York Times’ Modern Love column.

I noted that I realized I had a lot to say about the topic of love, and that I’d need to write a part two.

So here is the second part to that blog…

In a talk called “How Do I Love Thee” given by then-President Jeffrey Holland at BYU, he said, “I have taken for a title to my remarks Mrs. Browning’s wonderful line “How do I love thee?” (Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Sonnets from the Portuguese [1850], no. 43.) I am not going to “count the ways” this morning, but I am impressed with her choice of adverb—not when do I love thee nor where do I love thee nor why do I love thee nor why don’t you love me, but, rather, how. How do I demonstrate it, how do I reveal my true love for you? Mrs. Browning was correct. Real love is best shown in the how…”


Most relationships in life are probably strengthened by asking ourselves  how we can love someone better and not on how someone can better love us.

In my earlier blog, I noted that Daniel Jones shared some of his beliefs about love with Katie Couric. They were:

  1. You can’t hurry up fate. You can’t find someone fast AND have it be destiny. The two are incompatible.
  2. You can’t get married and stay single. You  have to give something up for marriage to succeed.
  3. You can’t have love without the possibility of loss. You have to love fully, knowing it will end.

This made me think about some of my beliefs about love.

For the sake of a short blog, I’ll only share four:

  1. Love is not that twitterpated feeling we get when we are attracted to someone. It’s what  is left after the twitterpation goes away.
  2. Love is actually holier than we might realize, or at least it can be. It is rooted in a kind of mutual reverence and respect for each other. It reaches a state of holiness when two people are equally devoted to the success of the relationship and to each others’ genuine happiness and growth. If selfishness takes root and is allowed room to grown, it spreads like the worst weeds and crowds out the blossoming of a beautiful marriage.
  3. Love starts with examining your own heart and letting it soften. It’s hard to know how to give and receive love if you don’t let your own heart feel pliable, soft, open, warm, and close to the surface of your chest.
  4. You need to have this kind of soft-hearted love for yourself or you can never fully, freely love someone else because the kind of softness will be unfamiliar to you.love

I think I might have stolen that concept from the book A Heart Like His by Virginia Pearce.

She wrote, “The heart is the center of our emotional and spiritual life. Exactly how all the functions are connected, no one understands, but there is an undeniable relationship. I cannot attempt to describe it for you, only how it feels for me. At the risk of sounding a little odd, I can tell you that I can actually feel my heart change its physical texture, size and position, in relation to my spiritual condition. It gets hard and tiny and moves back behind my chest wall when I am angry and withdrawn and self-absorbed. On the other hand, when I am filled with love and reaching out to others, it softens and warms and moves forward — it is enlarged and full. Perhaps my mind is overactive, but the imagery works for me.”

heart like his

I like that imagery. It works for me too.

I remember learning from a heart surgeon about the calcification or hardening of a heart.

He said we obviously need calcium in our bodies for strong bones and teeth and overall good health; but,when it accumulates where it doesn’t belong, it causes all sorts of problems.

The same seems to apply when it comes to love.

We need to be strong, resilient, wise, and independent people; but we also need to nurture our softness, which we sometimes suffocate because we want so desperately to protect ourselves from being hurt.

If we don’t open ourselves up and welcome some human vulnerability, how can we ever really “show up” in a relationship and allow ourselves to fully love and be loved?

This requires both courage, self-confidence, and faith, which author Brene Brown captures beautifully in this last quote:

“We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness and affection.

Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each one of them – we can only love others as much as we love ourselves.”

― Brené BrownThe Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

And there it is, my version of Love Illuminated.



Fair is Fair

Being a Libra, I am nothing if not fair. I like my scales balanced.

ScalesOfJusticeI recently had some blogging fun at Doug’s expense by writing about a few things he says that I don’t like.

I’m keenly aware that there are things I say (and do) that Doug doesn’t like.

Here are a few:

I talk during TV shows, and I’ve been know to ask a question or two in a movie.

I know, I know.

It’s annoying.

Doug is completely silent during TV shows and movies.

I, embarrassingly, am kind of an emoter.

(And, yes, spell check. That is a word. It means to portray emotion in a theatrical manner. And, sometimes I do that.)

You know, the one that gasps when something shocking or surprising happens.

I say things like, “Oh no! What is going to happen now? Why did they do that?”

“I don’t know,” Doug says, slowly, with forced patience. “How am I supposed to know? I haven’t seen it before either.”

I don’t expect him to answer, but the urgency in my voice makes it sound like I expect a reply.

Sometimes when he watches television, I walk in during the middle of a program and say, “What’s this about? Who is that? What’s going on? Why did he do that?”

He takes deep breaths and tries to calmly answer or just stares at me to give the message: “You’re doing it again…”

It’s rude of me. I know that. But, for some reason, I keep doing it.

And, it gets worse.

Sometimes, after he answers all my questions, I get up and leave the room, leaving him wondering why I needed to ask all those questions in the first place if I didn’t plan to watch the show.

Then, I come back into the room, and say, “What did I miss?”

I wish I could say I’m going to stop doing this but I just don’t know if I can.

Maybe I’m trying to gauge whether what he’s watching is worth my time and interest. Maybe I think someday it might be.

I mean, maybe one of those hoarder episodes will be different from all the other hoarder episodes.

My challenge in writing this post is narrowing down the things I say that annoy him because blog posts aren’t supposed to be very long.

So, let me share with you what might be one of our typical Saturday morning conversations. It illustrates a few of my annoying habits:

D: I’m going to the barber to get my hair cut.

L: Why? Let me do it. How hard can it be?

D: I’m going to ignore that you said that.

L: Seriously, how hard can it be?

D: I’ll stick with a professional, thanks. Why do you always say ‘how hard can it be?’

L: Because it can’t be that hard. We could watch a youtube video and learn how to do it.


D: Aaa, no thanks. That doesn’t really engender a lot of confidence in me when you say things like that. What if I said that when you were going to get your hair cut?

L: Well, that’s different…

L: Fine. Go to the barber to get your hair cut, but on your way, can you take this trash out?

D: You are such an add-on-task queen. You don’t believe in me ever just doing one thing at a time, do you?

L: Well, you’re going out. You might as well take the trash out while you’re going,

D: What else are you going to add-on to this errand? I know there’s something else you’re going to want me to do while I’m out.

L: Well, since you asked, want to stop at the grocery store? And, who is the movie villain voiced by Douglas Rain?

D: What do you need at the store? And, how am I supposed to know about that villain thing? I hate it when you ask me random crossword puzzle questions.

L: Whatever. You don’t hate it. He’s that Canadian actor that was the voice of that computer. Oh, you know, what’s it called?

D: I have no idea what you’re talking about.

L: It’s a three-letter word from that old space movie. Come on, you know!

D: No. I don’t know. And, I’m leaving to get my hair cut. And, don’t say, “How hard can it be!”

L: Don’t forget to take the trash!

So, in addition to talking and asking unanswerable questions during television programs; I also add-on tasks, say “how hard can it be?” every time he goes to get his hair cut; and I pressure him to help me solve obscure crossword puzzle clues.

I’d like to say I will try to improve in these areas, and that I am not going to ask him anymore questions during TV shows, but that would take the fun out of TV for me. I can’t just sit quietly and not react.

But, I’ve found a solution. Now, I text people and hope it’s less annoying.

My conversation with Annie about Prison Break
My conversation with Annie about Prison Break

And, at least I will promise never to try to cut Doug’s hair with the help of a youtube video even though I enjoy telling him that. I mean, seriously, how hard can it be?