Do most people have fights with their partners that involve yelling, name-calling, screaming, throwing things, breaking things, scratching, choking, hitting, punching, biting?
Is that how most of you handle disagreements in your home? Is that how you deal with someone not giving up the remote control or refusing to stop drinking or not emptying the dishwasher or lying about a secret fling on the side or spending too much money or not having enough money?
I was in a relationship like that once. It's soul-crushing. I blame my willingness to tolerate such horror on my young age and ignorance. The ignorance plea doesn't fly, though - I was raised in a home with two parents who love and adore each other, and I can count on one hand the number of times I've heard them raise their voices to one another. Physical abuse? Forgetaboutit. My father would rather cut off his own arms, and my mother has far too much class to resort to raising her hands.
But it's everywhere. It's all around us and we don't even see it. People are hurt every day by the people they love most in the world. The one who is supposed to love them unconditionally cuts them down with hateful words and mean glares and cruel actions. That's not love.
Love is a building up of one another. Love is support and safety and security. Love is a mutual give and take that comes from two people being kind, keeping confidences, helping, giving. Love is rolling your eyes and swallowing the smartass remark when the sink is full of dishes and the dishwasher hasn't been run. Love is negotiating control of the remote in exchange for use of the laptop. Love is being so angry you want to scream and yell and throw things and push and hit and say hateful words...but you swallow all of that because you love that person more than anything else in the world and you've promised you'll never do anything to hurt them and so you stomp down the hall and slam a door and when you cool off you say "Okay, let's talk about this". Love is respect; basic human respect. Love is never saying anything in anger to your partner that you wouldn't say to your boss or your employee or your best friend. Love is rising above emotions and remembering the greater, sacred emotion that connects your heart to theirs.
Love is so much more.