Love Potion a la Kuhn

Aah, love. It is quite a delicious thing. Much like food, it’s all about the right pairings, isn’t it? And timing is awfully important, too. After all, a scrumptious three-egg omelette, full spread of accompanying breakfast fare, a bounty of fruits and fresh cinnamon bread – mmm, I can smell it right now – is an awesome way to start a Sunday morning – or maybe even a fun way to cap off a night after a concert or theater production, but eating that at 1 or 2pm on a weekday…not really a typical lunch to whip up in the lunchroom at work. And also like the fine arts of preparing and enjoying food, love is something that can take a while to truly master and the longer you take to enjoy and savor, the more memorable the overall experience.

This week’s creative challenge was born out of the spirit of love passing through this week in honor of Valentine’s Day: a recipe for long-lasting true love. What’s in it, how do you prepare it and what extra little ingredient or two has the power to win over your heart.

I open my own “cookbook” for you now…

LOVE

Sometimes tasty and refreshing; others have in the end left us a little indifferent or even cold. True love like fine wine requires time to ferment as each of the various elements become familiar with each other, mingle and share. My recipe for true love must include:

2 cups  thoughtfulness but derived from natural sources – not guilted, not expected, just naturally occurring thoughtful gestures. You prepare my coffee and bring it to me with a kiss. I make certain each week I plan meals that they offer you the lunch leftovers I know you love so much. You pick up my favorite tea on the way home from work because you know I’m running low. I pick up your favorite magazine while checking out at the grocery store just because I know it will make you happy. Thinking beyond “what will it get me” and “how will this help me” and reaching the stage of “I can’t way to see the smile on his/her face.”

2 cups of good humor – having the ability to laugh at ourselves and more importantly, a situation, is crucial to getting through the rough spots. Can you look back at that argument you had over the ugly painting he wants to hang and you want to use to start a campfire? Is he or she tough enough to handle your savvy Tim Gunn-like fashion observations and are you confident enough to survive the ribbing after you combined 2 tablespoons with 2 teaspoons for every ingredient in the casserole? Being able to laugh is the key to staying together and being able to look back later and gather the real benefits from the learning experience…for both parties.

1 cup of patience – similarly, this ingredient is instrumental in overcoming odds, making adjustments necessary to navigate  life’s obstacle course and forgiving ourselves. We have to demonstrate some patience and forgiveness not only with our partner but with ourselves, too. And when we don’t, that’s when you’ll see this underlying conflict that can pervade every word and action. You’ll see couples who’ve been together for a while snip at each other or operate under some passive-aggressive guise. More often than not, it has more to do with one or both being disappointed or mad at themselves about something. We channel that anger and disappointment, resentment builds and before you know it, the littlest thing can set us off into crazytown. A little patience offers us a little time – to forgive, to wait out the storm, to get to where we need to be.

2 cups of willingness to learn – about each other, about ourselves, about this third entity also created in the process- WE. You have to be willing to open your mind and heart up to all of the possible lessons you will undoubtedly learn from the experience, and sometimes people simply don’t want to go there. Maybe they’re not ready, perhaps not willing or even unable to process this new information. I’m often incredulous as I watch some folks go from one partner to another and only they know what goes on behind closed doors, but on the surface, it appears that some couples are real experts at the “good times” but when the “tough times” arrive — maybe a bad economic situation or a family conflict or toughest of all, a conflict of principle or value between the two — they don’t appear to know what to do. Rather than get through the murky, muckiest part of the creek to conquer, many will simply hop out and move on. There’s much to be learned by trodding through the crap, even if at the end, two lives stay on two completely different paths rather than come to any kind of central place together. There are still many lessons to be learned and skills to be picked up along the way, but it takes work and sometimes discomfort to get there. (Welcome to the world of change. Here’s your barf bag. You’re going to need it.)

2 cups of respect – it’s got to come from both sources, folks. Even when I disagree with you, even when you piss me off so badly I contemplate mixing your red shirt and tighty whities in the laundry together just because… our relationship must stop me. I won’t take these opportunities to bad-mouth you, won’t use these incidents as a scorecard to whip out and tally up the penalties during the next fight, won’t pit friend against friend or family member against family member because you and I are a team. We are our own team and as my teammate, my partner, my friend, my love, my ally, I will show you respect and expect the same. And that, people, is a beautiful thing. 

a healthy heaping of time –  because how else will I learn just what movie makes you cry,  what cuisine makes you pant for more or what book left you speechless. Time. You each have to be willing to invest the energy, the effort and especially the time.

Sure, I could write that it helps if you’ve got common values, common interests, mutual attraction, yadda yadda yadda – and we all know that these may be the elements that put ourselves in the same orbit as the other person. But they are not necessarily what keep us there.

Love. It’s a many splendored thing, it’s higher than a mountain and thicker than water, it’s a battlefield. Love is… pretty friggin cool.

So what does your big pot of love potion consist of? And hand me the ladle.

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