What makes someone hard to love? What do we do about it?

What makes someone easy to love? What makes someone hard to love?

Which am I?

I’ve prayed for my Ann and our kids for many years now. I ache at the life we don’t live because of me. I keep telling Ann that she should ask for a refund. She just smiles and says “It is what it is.”

What does that say about Ann?

A lot.

So often we spend time worrying about the way we think things should be. I know that I do. By this point I was going to be a big wig with a fantastic salary and we would have the freedom to go and do whatever we wanted.

That was the plan.

That is not at all the way things have worked out.

So, what is Ann saying when she smiles at me and tells me “It is what it is”?

Is she being complacent? Has she given up and resigned herself to a difficult life?

No.

She is saying “Let’s take what we have and build from there.”

This little equation works really well when all parties involved have thrown their entire hand in and are giving it everything they have.

But what if not everyone is willing to abandon the safety of self and will only give a portion?

I’m afraid that this is more of the norm; the entire team going for broke the exception.

What do you do when it is simply hard to love someone who doesn’t seem to reciprocate?

Being the question asker that I am, I think there are some important thoughts to understand before moving on:

Why have I chosen to love this person?

What is the cause of their reticence?

How hard are they working to overcome that which prevents them from loving me completely?

Do I love them enough to keep going anyway?

I would imagine that each person reading this would have different answers to these questions. That is as it should be. Love is individual and unique and deeply personal.

There are many things that could make it more difficult to love someone.

I know that it is hard to love a person with mental illness. Our reality is so different from what the rest of the world deems “normal.” I find myself telling Ann that I’m sure my way is the right way and what everyone else is doing is not “normal.” She just smiles in that way that tells me that I’m wrong but she loves me anyway.

Don’t you wonder why she loves me anyway?

I behave in ways that would make it hard to love me. Lots of drama and not enough support.

Yet, the power that heals me the most is her love. The love that I don’t deserve, but I really, really need.

Knowing that, it changes how I see her. I’m now really interested in a few questions of my own:

Why have I chosen to love her?

How does she need to receive my expressions of love?

What do I need to change about my behavior that will make her life better?

Do I love her enough to keep going anyway?

And a miracle starts to take shape.

Part of my healing is putting my mental illness into perspective and learning to focus on what others around me need.

Maybe I only had half of the equation before. I knew that I needed her love to help me heal.

Now I know that I need to truly love her to help me heal the rest of the way.

So instead of each of us asking a different set of questions, now we can join hands and ask ourselves the same questions:

Why have we chosen to love each other?

Are we willing to fight with all we have to help this love continue to grow?

Is there anything that would make us stop?

Instead of there being one who is easy to love and one who is hard to love, now we have stepped over to the same side of the fence. We look outwardly in the same direction. It may be a little easier for her to love me, the difficult one. And my capacity to love her, the easy one, has become a real power that changes how I behave and what I focus on.

Kind of simple, really.

We are being changed through love.

And now “It is what it is” is something that we can both say with a smile.

No regrets.

We know how to build from here, together.

One thought on “What makes someone hard to love? What do we do about it?”

  1. I have had this same conversation with Jeremy countless times. Sometimes we’re laughing about it, sometimes I;m crying about it, but it generally boils down to how surprised I am that he hasn’t run off screaming. He came into this marriage expecting someone who liked to go out and do fun things, kind of like when we dated. And then the world implodes and while he is still itching to get out and go do at the end of the week, I am looking forward to nothing more than the couch, a blanket and a book. I have huge guilt about holding him back and making him miserable being stuck with me, but I know without a doubt that he loves me and will be there to celebrate the good days, struggle through the bad days and slog through everything in between. I think we are slowly getting to the same side of the fence.

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