Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Love and Money

I am newly engaged, somewhat late in life. And it is changing my life at the core.

One way hit me as I was reading a book last night called The Five Love Languages, about how to understand your innate language for feeling loved....one line in the book really got me, about how sharing love in the way each part of a couple need to feel it leads to feeling loved (running on a full tank is the metaphor). And...feeling that security in love is needed so that each spouse feels secure enough to be all she/he is inside, to develop their entire potential.

WOW! That line really stayed with me, the idea that marriage can make you more of a complete person than you were when you were single. My happily married friend Therese told me that she felt more herself with her husband than when they were apart. I felt that with Bill...and hearing it from Therese gave me confidence to keep going when I felt insecure about this radically new direction after a full life as a single woman.

So this book claims that becoming yourself fully is part of the promise of marriage.

I have always been focused on personal growth (I was a psychology major, and avid reader about inner development along with many other interests). I invested money in my own development -- classes, coaching, time and money to pursue interests. But I never invested in loving another person, I would say because my idea of marriage was never that it was about growth....so I was the wrong one here!

Recently, I virtually depleted my savings when we suffered a job loss and other reversals. It was a true emergency for the family. It was very hard to go way below "my comfort level" and it occurred during a time in which I was undergoing active treatment for breast cancer. Reading this book made me realize why it was so hard: I always saw that money as insurance that I could continue to grow as a person, to not be reactive and function at the survival level. I've lived that way for several years, owing to time spent on eldercare, then losing my business during the 9/11 aftermath. So my windfall from selling my house is nearly gone. I feared going back to that kind of living, hand to mouth.

But, do you know what? It's different when you have love in your life. It wasn't the money I was afraid of losing, it was the opportunity to become who I really am. It's not possible to do that when you are afraid all the time. I calm my fears now, not only with money, but also with the message in that book, that love can be rich and deep if you will work at it when the initial infatuation wears off, and that it isn't only money that makes the world go round.

And having said that, I feel more confident that I will regain those funds. And I no longer feel that my very existence is tied to how much money I have in the bank.

2 comments:

sharon said...

Susan,
The 5 Love Languages is one of my favorite books! My husband and I both read it before we got married.
I remember reading it on a plane and a guy in the seat next to me asked why I was reading it. I told him "Preventive Maintenance". I totally believe that.

Isn't it interesting how the right words spoken at the right time can totally shift our thinking...and allow all kinds of wonderful insights to appear?

In other words, keep going with your writing so that others, too, can experience the wonderful insights that you have to offer.
sharon

Patty said...

I think you just crossed a threshold that many never make it across -- the one where you realize the best way to protect your own self-interests is to protect your partnership with the person who loves you.

It makes a whole lot of decisions easier, and it releases gobs of energy for going higher, instead of preventing falls.

Thanks for writing about this. I'm going to point others here from my blog.