“Love who you are so that you can love who your husband is.” Too often I see women bearing themselves down with guilt because they just cannot quite get the gist of loving their husbands the right way. Let me break it to you gently: Loving him in “the right way” is not about loving him, it’s about loving you…
The quote above is a line I recently wrote for one of my Instagram posts. I was so struck by the amazing free contentment, portrayed in this picture. This woman is absolutely free in doing exactly what she loves, being exactly who she wants to be, who she was intended to be – it’s just absolutely breathtaking. And then it struck me…
This is exactly what perfect love looks like. It’s when you are exactly where you want to be, doing exactly what you love to do, exactly what you are intended to do…Because then, you are free to love exactly how you are meant to love!
To truly love yourself is probably one of the most difficult things we can ever aspire to accomplish. I’m not talking about a boastful and prideful kind of love, I’m talking about a quiet acceptance of who you are.
To quietly and knowingly accept who you are, is truly the beginning of loving yourself. Here are some of the things I think constitutes authentic self-love:
- Accept yourself.
- Respect yourself.
- Give yourself time to just be.
- Argue with yourself.
- Challenge yourself.
- Treat yourself.
- Acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses.
- Allow yourself to make mistakes – and graciously amend them.
- Give yourself space to breathe.
See, the thing is that if you learn to love and accept yourself, truly for who you are, it creates space in your heart to truly love others. Let me explain it in this way.
When you are struggling to accept all of who you are, it literally consumes your whole being. You constantly question yourself, are concerned with what you look like, how you should and should not act, what you should or should not say in specific situations (because you are SO concerned with what the outcome will be that you would rather compromise on the truth, just to keep the peace). The list goes on and on and on. See what I’m getting at? At the end of the day, all your thoughts and actions and reactions revolve solely around YOU… The result?
There is absolutely no space in your head or in your heart to completely love your husband (or your children) the right way.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not at all suggesting that you should just completely disregard yourself and your own needs. Not at all. I am however suggesting that you face yourself and deal with yourself, unto acceptance, so that you can completely love and accept those closest to you. When you live and breathe out of a sense of quiet acceptance of you, it allows others to completely relax and just be genuinely themselves. It really is a beautiful thing to see when people are completely relaxed, in the presence of others.
Love your husband [as you love yourself]
I love how this commandment is written so simply, yet it is probably one of the most difficult ones to adhere to. It is easy to “love” your husband on the surface level. His looks, his passions, his career, his hobbies, his authority within society, but what does your love look like when it gets to his character, his believes, his strengths AND weaknesses?
The difficulty comes in when we fall in love. Everything is beautiful and seems so easy. But, that love has to go all the way down to loving his character, his weaknesses and his differences. Often women only truly find out who they married, after they got married (and that is a completely different topic for another time). Yet, that is the time during which “being in love” grows into true, real “love”. And that love can only exist, and come forth, when you have space in your heart and in your head, to completely accept and love who he is.
Honestly, you are the only person who can answer that question. You have to figure out where in the process you are in truly accepting and loving yourself. You have to take time to figure it out and fully come to terms with who you are. Once you have done that, allowing your husband to just be, and fully accepting who he is, will come much easier. And loving him in “the right way” won’t even be something you need to think about.
“The right way” is to have the ability to allow him space to just be – and that only happens when you truly accept who you are…when you are comfortable in your own skin.
I want to re-iterate that this does not mean that you should disregard yourself, or that you should just allow everyone to use and abuse you. That will not make your marriage, your family or the world a better place, on the contrary. BUT you have to be able to accept yourself completely. Just as you are.
Also, I am not saying that this is something that just happens and then you’re set for life. No, it is a conscious decision to love yourself (which will open space in your head and in your heart to love your husband). Every. Single. Day.
So, how do I love my husband in the right way? It’s not about loving him, it’s about loving you.
I would love to hear about your journey with this.