Love has many faces.
In the beginning love wears a romantic face. You present the very best parts of yourself to your loved one. You look nice, smell nice, act nice and the compliments come easily. When it comes time to doing something together, you always consider the other person’s wants and needs. This romantic face of love is filled with hope and promise.
The second face of love is the face of honesty. This is when you feel comfortable enough with your partner to present your entire self…warts and all. You let your partner see you with no make-up, wearing sweats from the gym…sweaty, disheveled and stinky. You let your partner see your weaknesses as well, which could be anything from an anger problem to a jealousy issue. Perhaps you are a clean freak and he is messy. Perhaps he is a tightwad and you are a compulsive shopper. The second face of love exposes the real you in all of your glory.
The third face of love is the face of tolerance. During the course of a marriage, certain problems can push you to the breaking point. Money woes, problems with children or in-laws, mental health issues, physical health issues…all of these can tempt you to give up on your marriage. The tolerant face of love is one, however, that sees past the problems and sees the person…loving that person through the difficulties. Tolerance does not mean putting up with abuse in any form. It means loving the person as you seek help together to deal with any issues of abuse.
The fourth face of love is the face of forgiveness. When two people learn to forgive one another, this has a lasting impact on a marriage. It means that they will not hold grudges against one another, or let bitterness take root deep in their hearts. Many married couples have a rule of never going to bed angry with one another. It is important to remember that forgiveness does not mean accepting certain behaviors. Physical and emotional abuse can be forgiven, but should never be tolerated.
The fifth face of love is the face of compassion and caring. This is the face that shows up to make sure your partner takes his blood pressure medication. This is the face that shows up to let your partner choose what to watch on TV. This is the face that trudges to warm up the car on a wintry morning so your partner won’t have to. This is the face that loves a spouse who has Alzheimer’s disease…despite the fact the person doesn’t even know who you are. This face is not afraid to sacrifice something for his loved one.
The many faces of love demonstrates that love is about more than romance. The longer a couple is together, the more these faces of love will show themselves. They aren’t always so easy to look at or to wear, but in the end they are worth it.