Love is…

Synopsis of a speech given by Marjorie R. Barlow, Ph.D.

Valentine’s Day is here again! It is a day to think about love. My message is about learning to love rather than finding love. My sub-title might be, “It’s easy to love them when they act right!”

I am 79 and my husband, Dr. Paul Barlow, is 80. We enjoy a very happy marriage. We are lucky, yet we have learned that love is ours to create. Love is behavior. Love is what we do. Love can be hard work. Every precious day brings new opportunities to practice being loving rather than trying to get love.

I suggest these possibilities for a happy marriage: 1. You have choices. 2. Now is all there is. 3. Each partner in the marriage is responsible for the positive growth of that marriage.

First, happiness is a choice. They have a saying in twelve-step work, “It is all an inside job”. We can respond from a positive, reflective and loving viewpoint or we can blame, criticize, judge, and demand that they change. The rule for conversation is five to one positive to negative. Unhappiness is best seen as a cry for help. The skills needed for creating happiness start with “hearing through accurate ears.”
(See The Possible Woman, page 64 to learn more about a ‘conscious marriage’.)

The second secret is to live in the now. The past is over and cannot hurt except as we keep it alive in our memories. The future is yet to come. The skill for this secret is to “see through fresh eyes”. The good news is that every day is a new day and can bring a new marriage. Forgiveness brings freedom. Say, “I’m sorry”, “Please forgive”, “I love you”, and “Thank you”

The third secret is the biggest lesson in all of life: Each of us is a unique, significant individual who can take 100% responsibility for our beliefs, thoughts, feelings, and behavior. Marriage is the crucible in which growth happens. We develop our best selves through the relationship with our partner, who can be our best friend.

Our family motto is: “Live-Laugh-Love”. Our joy comes when we: Show Up, Listen Up, Open Up, Grow Up, Lighten Up, Wise Up, Link Up, and Offer Up. This is our upbeat, loving approach to a happy relationship.