Fall In Love, Love Deeply

Love!Lately I've had love on my mind a lot. I think we all do, no? For me, right now I'm thinking a lot about marriage and what that will mean. I just got engaged last week, in case you hadn't heard. πŸ™‚ So yes, I'm thinking a lot about the wedding, how to decorate, what to wear, what to serve, the list goes on and on it seems (!!!!!!!). But I've also been reflecting a lot on Trey's and my relationship and how things have played out. We are one of those couples who nearly didn't get together. We almost didn't start dating, because I was very closed off to the idea. We dated in college, and it had not turned into a positive relationship in my life. I held onto that for years. So this time around I wasn't open to falling in love. But then I took a chance. And, thankfully, it paid off in a big way.

Of course, love isn't always about romance. We all receive and give love in so many different ways to so many different people in our lives. And I think we can all agree we all need love. It's absolutely necessary to having a happy life. Since I have love on the brain these days, I thought today we could discuss a few thoughts on the subject. Here are a few things I feel strongly about, and I'd love to hear your thoughts as well.Audrey Hepburn Quote1. First, you have to love yourself.

We all come from different backgrounds. Some of us grew up in a loving and encouraging family, and some of us didn't. We've probably all had some kind of relationship in our lives that has left us feeling hurt. You can't control your outside circumstances. I wish we could. What you can control is your own choices. It can be hard to love when you feel broken. If you don't come to any relationship (romantic, friendship, family) whole, you end up (1) asking others to fill in the broken pieces or (2) shutting them out completely. You first have to love yourself. Then, you can offer relationships your strengths rather than looking to them to fix your weaknesses. We all have the power to make this decision no matter what hand life has dealt us.

2. Be someone you would love.

It is always easier to blame others. Always. What's hard is looking to yourself and realizing that maybe it's you who needs to change. Before you have amazing relationships you have to be someone you would love. Be the mother you would want. Be the girlfriend you would fall in love with. This is a lifelong process the important people in your life will help you with if you are open to it. Stop focusing on others' shortcomings so much and instead work on yourself.

Doren + penny3. Love deeply.

Don't hold back. Don't hold grudges. Go all in. We've probably all been hurt before, and I'm not saying we should ignore those situations. But. Don't let past hurts prevent you from making new relationships or falling in love. This almost happened to me. I was hurt and felt justified in my unwillingness to forgive even though my circumstances had changed. And this attitude nearly prevented me from meeting my future husband. Don't be afraid to love deeply. It can be scary to depend on anyone. Be open. Be brave.Jay'z is awesome

4. Choose your important relationships.

I truly believe that we should love everyone. An attitude of love to your fellow citizens is a great way to live your life. Can you imagine what the world would be like if everyone did this? However, this does not mean that you should open yourself up to being hurt over and over again. Choose the people who you cultivate important relationships with. If someone has continually been a negative influence in your life, or doesn't treat you the way you deserve, then they should not receive the privilege of being one of your close relationships. Focus on the positive influences in your life. Love them deeply (see point 3).

Fall In Love, Love Deeply5. Love is work.

Every important relationship in your life requires attention in order for it to grow. I am so guilty of being that friend who doesn't call back. It is SO easy to get busy with your life, with work or school or whatever you are passionate about and not focus on cultivating the love in your life. I should get dinner with my parents more often. I should get coffee with my sister more (work meetings don't count!). I should find ways to show Trey I love him more often. If you neglect any relationship it will decline over time. I've had many friends over the years that I've sort of drifted apart from simply because I didn't make time for them. Being a giving and loving person takes a lot of intential effort. And that's something that I'm working on this year.

What about you? Any thoughts on love you'd like to share? xo. Emma

  • Emma, I love seeing more of your authentic self here and hearing more of your very personal thoughts and feelings. Thanks for sharing with us so openly. It is inspiring. πŸ™‚

    I have been thinking a lot about love in this new year too. I want to make more time for those I love and work harder at truly being honest with my wants, needs and in my expression so I can love more fully and with less fear.

  • Thank you so much for sharing this! I feel the same way, and have been thinking about point 2 quite often lately. I have been working on focusing on being someone I would love, rather then hoping that my friends/family would change. It’s not easy, and I know i don’t have to tell you that. Also point 5 has been at the forefront of my mind as well. Being intentional is incredibly important. I want my friends to know that I want to have relationship with them. I hope to get better at it. I wish you and your fiance the best of luck as you begin your life together. Thanks again!

  • This is beautiful, I love this. It took me a long time to realize that love is work. To get over the little things. To hug your SO when you had a dumb fight, just to get over it and get back to smiling with them. It’s great you know these things before you are married. I also can’t wait to see what your wedding plans are as you have a lovely aesthetic. Thanks for sharing Emma!

  • Wow, what an absolutely beautiful post Emma. This left me in tears (not of sadness, sometimes I cry just because something is beautiful) and I must say I agree with this post completely. A lot of people are so focused on others downfalls that they never take the time to work on their own. Thanks for this girl, I needed it. πŸ™‚

  • Well written, and so true. I agree with everything you said, especially loving everyone. I think some people think that the only people who deserve their love are their family, friends, and significant other. But I think you can love people in general, even acquaintances. Love comes in all shapes and sizes. I think love of community is a very powerful form of love and can make all the difference.

  • Thank you so much for this beautiful, insightful post…I’ve been reading yours & Elsie’s blogs for a while now and I must tell you I am deeply admirative of the positive spirit, and kindness I find in them. I enjoy your creativity and lovely pictures as well, but what impresses me the most is that you are both so young and so wise, so caring already!
    You sure set a very nice example, professionnally and personnally!

    SL

  • This is one of the best blog posts that I have read in the longest time. It truly is beautiful and oh so true. It may be hardest thing in the world sometimes to love, but it is also the most beautiful. Thank you so much for this amazing reminder Emma.

    xoxo,
    Laura

  • I have been dating my now fiance for 12 straight years but before that we where on and off grade school sweethearts (we met and fell for one another at the age of 13). I get it, I do, but I am so glad that you took a chance on Love! I wish you nothing but the greatest life with your partner and have a wonderful time planning the wedding:)

  • My husband and I were similar! The first time we dated it ended terribly. But after years of personal growth and maturity we tried again and it is the best I could ask for!

    #5 is our family new year’s resolution! Being the sister/daughter/friend/wife who is there for the ones I care about. It’s easy to be busy and turn into a recluse!

  • Congratulations on your engagement!
    This Febuary, me and my hubby will have our third wedding anneversary, and it just seems so unreal.

    I can’t believe we have been married this long, and experienced so many wonderful things (like: had two beautiful girls and a boy is on the way!) since we got together. Yes, we have our struggles, and sometimes I catch myself wondering if my life would have been easier had I chosen differently, but made my choice on that day, and I would never change that.
    Looking forward to read lots of wedding-related posts this year! πŸ™‚

  • Congratulations! Good post.
    So many people have this “hollywood” idea of love and that’s just not realistic. That mind set also totally misses out on the beauty that resides in real love.
    It does take work, but it is work that you love to do and it is well worth it.
    My husband and i have almost been married 13 years and we have four beautiful children. I can honestly say that I love him more today than I did 13 years ago and 13 years ago, I thought I was more in love than I could ever be.
    It just gets better. πŸ™‚

  • These are all really great words. I’ve been married for almost 7 years and am still learning new things every day. It is very important and its easy to forget that “love isnt always about romance” – Reading the 5 Love Languages last year really opened my eyes on how to love my husband and how to recognize how he was giving me love. Changed my complete perspective on our entire relationship. I definitely reccommend it!

    xx Ashleigh

    http://www.ashflynn.blogspot.com

  • First of all, congrats!! when i read on the blog about your engagement i felt like one of my own girlfriends was getting married, i just feel like i know you guys! haha. i am so happy for you and trey!!

    I agree with your statements. I think the biggest thing in love and more specifically marriage is to always show honor and respect for the commitment you made to one another, even if at times you find it difficult(hey, it happens to the best of us). also you realize as you go along how important it is to be unselfish and put the other person ahead of yourself. you think before you get married that you are already doing that, but as life plays out and you see more of each others’ flaws, you come to understand the true meaning of being unselfish, in a way i at least had never experienced before. and say sorry even when you don’t feel like it. it’s better to be happy and put a smile back on your partner’s face rather than to always be right. even if you are right, as i always am πŸ˜‰

  • Thank you, Emma. That was beautiful, and I agree with all of those key points. I definitely love the first and second. I have always been family oriented and my life goal growing up was to get married and have a family… but at some point, I realized those two things. You can’t look for that wonderful man until you have become a wonderful woman. Loving yourself and excepting who you are is so important in a relationship. Thank you again for your inspiring thoughts.

  • I believe what you said. Love deeply, love completely, and love with purpose.

    One of my favorite quotes on love/marriage is “choose your love and love your choice.” Love takes work just like you said.

  • I love this. I’m in that yucky, middle section of loving someone, having them love me, but knowing it just isn’t working right now. And literally the only thing I can do is take care of living my best life and loving myself the most and trusting that it will either work out or something better will happen. The DIYS and the fashion and the pictures (and the puppies!) on here are great but these deeper posts are making me fall even more in love with this blog! xo

  • So refreshing to hear you reflect on this before jumping into wedding planning mode. Don’t get me wrong- wedding plans are important and fun. But many people forget that the most important thing (marriage) is what you have for years after that one albeit special day.

  • Oh Emma! Thanks for sharing your beautiful and inspiring thoughts. Love is something I’m thinking a lot about lately and your points are really resonating with me. I want to be as good a girlfriend as I am an aunty….different kinds of love but equally important in my world. I believe you’re right that it all comes down to self-love and being willing to work at it. Heartfelt congratulations to you and Trey!

  • I LOVE this post. I love how real it is. So many times we blame everything around us for how we are feeling instead of looking inside and seeing what we can fix or change for the better! This post was beautifully said! I’m so excited for this special time in your life. Love is truly a wonderful thing, Marriage being even better! <3

  • Such a love-ly post!

    I do believe that before you love someone enterily, you do need to love yourself first. Otherwise you will be half love, because in a relationship of any kind, father and daughter, son and mother, grandsons and grandparents, your best friend, your dog/cat or else. If in a relationship we are a “all” and separated we are an “half” then in a relationship that you don’t love yourself, it’s an half relationship because is missing one half.

    I found particulary interesting the point 4: I think we can’t love anyone, it’s impossible. But we can be kind to everyone, we can be kind without opening ourselves to others and be hurt. I might be suspicious, I’m shy, and I only reveal myself in all only to the people more close to me.

    In the end of this day, this was a great post to make me smile a bit. I do think about love everytime, and it’s a constant in me.

    Kisses

    http://thedailymiacis.blogspot.pt/

  • I really like thoses kind of posts and I found your thoughts really interesting. I especially like the second point. Be someone you would love. I think sometimes we are so focus on finding someone to love that we forget to think about what we can bring to a relationship. Maybe if we focus more on that point love will appear by surprise . Sorry for my english. i’m french. You have readers all over the world!!!!
    Congrats for your engagement!!

  • ‘Be someone you would love.’ I love this. Congrats on your engagement & thank you Emma & Elsie for sharing your magic with the world.

  • Oh Emma, you do have a way with words. I am so in love with this post. I could not agree more with every point you’ve made. I’ve really understood the importance of loving yourself this last year. About a year and a half ago, I had my heart broken. And let me tell you, I felt lower than low after that experience. I attributed the rejection to the idea that there was something terribly wrong with me, that I wasn’t good enough, and that I wasn’t worthy of love. It has taken 18 months for me to realize that the exact opposite is true. I am now in the process of taking the risk of loving deeply again. It has been a challenge! But what is life without risk?
    I am so happy that you have found love. I’m inspired. Thank you.

  • Great post Emma. You have written it so sensitively and well. I think your first point about loving yourself is crucial. So many people go through life looking for someone to ‘complete them’ – like they are a half person wandering aimlessly throughout the world looking for their other half. The thing is you really need to find your self, and be complete in yourself first. The best thing my husband (we’re coming up to 10 years this year) said to me when we first started dating was – ‘you’ll never complete me. I’m already complete. But you are challenging me to be a better man, and to look at the world from a different perspective and I want to do that for you too.’ Ok there was more mushy stuff than that but I loved the fact that he recognized that we were already complete individuals who could stand on our own and be great people in life, but together we would be even better as we would inspire, encourage and love one another along the way.

    Thank you so much for sharing yourself. I don’t normally comment a lot on other people’s blogs, but I really love when both you and Elsie share life lessons like these. You’re a great encourager.

  • It’s hard to remember that love needs work. I feel like if it’s right, it should be easy. Good wake up call.

  • My boyfriend of 3 years just joined the Marines and this post was just what I needed. So thank you =)

    Another thing I’d like to add is that love comes with sacrifices and being a team!

  • Thanks for the great post. I really agree that it’s important to remember love IS work. If your a stubborn gal like me, it can sometimes be tough to recognize that working on love means working on yourself. Thank goodness my hunnie is so patient with me! Congrats on your engagement!

  • I think these tips are so true, especially one that love is work (that’s something not portrayed in Disney fairytales for sure!) I have been in a relationship for 9 years next week (not yet engaged but I think this will be the year!) and I have learned so much. The first 5-6 years I was stuck in this idea that love has to be a certain type and when I relaxed and let things flow more naturally things started to flow beautifully and it even has surprised me how much better it has been.

  • Emma, thank you so much for this post!! It has really struck a cord with me. After my boyfriend of almost 4 years broke up with me a few years ago, it’s been very hard for me to open up to love again. I’ve grown so much since then but I still struggle from time to time. I needed to hear this and what a perfect time for it as we start a new year. This is why you all are my favorite bloggers! I love how much heart you put into life. It’s absolutely lovely and inspirational. Thanks again! xoxo

  • congrats on your engagement. i think that you sum up things quiet nicely. the last one is especially important. paying attention and being intentional can make a world of difference.

  • you know when you get SUPER excited and jump up and down for someone…you (sort of) know? That was me when I saw the instagram that you were engaged!! AHHHHHHHHHHH! *haha πŸ™‚ I’m SO SO SO So Happy for you!

    I recently found myself in a similar situation where I met someone who is probably more perfect for me than anyone I’d ever met, and instead of giving it a chance, I ran for the hills because I’ve made so many wrong decisions in the past. Luckily, we reconnected a couple weeks ago and I wouldn’t be suprised if we got married one day. I can’t even begin to think of what was going on in my mind before. It’s crazy how love is.

    Beyond that, I’ve been also thinking a lot about love and my interations with people. I think in the last year I’ve done a great job of not neglecting my friends and nurturing those relationships as best I could, and want to continue that, but I am challenging myself to be more open and loving to strangers this year. Living in Los Angeles (Hollywood, specifically), I feel I always have to have my guard up and be ready for danger and I find myself being so harsh and sometimes unkind for no reason, hoping to make that change this year – and see the growth of my re-newed relationship! πŸ™‚ eek!

  • I have read your blog for years and this is the first comment I’ve been brave enough to write but I just recently got engaged too and I am so in love with that guy! thanks for writing this amazing post! Its so important to know these things! I think you are sweet as pie and I am stoked to see how your wedding is going to turn out, but even more to see how happy you will be in LOVE and in marriage! Bless ya!

  • I think it’s great you’re thinking about this so intensely. A lot of people only see the wedding, not the marriage. I personally don’t ‘believe’ in marriage and as of right now, I don’t want to get married, but if someone does, they should be aware they are committing themselves to another human being. I think you know what you’re doing πŸ™‚ Best of luck!

  • Wow, Emma, thank you so much for this post. For me, it is incredibly well timed. The hardest part about love, for me, is working through disagreements and conflicts (which are inevitable when you are close to someone). I haven’t had a lot of practice with conflict resolution (my family tends to swallow emotions and let them simmer – bad!), but my partner of the last 8 years has really helped me to understand that people who love each other communicate with each other and how you should come out the other side of a conflict stronger and more understanding and connective! You are so right – love is work!

  • Love is my word of the year for 2013-especially remembering to cultivate more love in my daily life. My husband of 17 years and I are working some things out that we haven’t worked on for a long time and we both just read the 5 Love Languages. (I saw that someone else read it too and I suggest it as well. Wish I’d known all of that a long time ago!) Thank you for sharing and Congratulations!

  • i love that quote by jay-z!

    interesting thoughts. I find often that people not in a romantic relationship with someone (yep, that’s me!) often get judged as being lonely, when they do in fact have plenty of loved ones around them! so here’s a shout-out for those singles who are happy but have just not met anyone good enough for them yet! πŸ˜‰

    Katie x

  • I completely adore this post! I’m coming up on my first year anniversary of marriage, and these are great things to learn and practice!

    xo,
    Em

  • I almost did not ‘get’ with my partner because of our age difference. I was so worried about me being older than him. I spent the good part of a year running from him and the relationship. Years later I look back and think how silly I was. I think I was more worried about what other people think, rather than me been bother by the difference. I type this as our beautiful son lays sleeping in in arms and think how we must allow ourselves to love someone, even against what others may think. (and yes years later people still feel the need to comment on our age difference, yet now I am so in love it does not matter)

    http://iliska-dreams.blogspot.com.au/

  • I love to see the success of your and Trey’s relationship, because your story seems to reflect my current one – we had met several years ago, went out a few times and I told myself I wasn’t into it, but we kept reappearing in each other’s lives. After the fifth (fifth!) random encounter, I decided the universe was trying to tell me something, and that I should give this a shot. Though we are not engaged (yet), every day I am more and more certain that this is the man I’m supposed to end up with.
    Congratulations, and good luck, darling.

  • The person who was the “Trey” in my life wanted to date again… but I decided to date someone else instead. My instinct was right and that “someone else” is my fiance now!
    We got engaged on Dec 16, 2012 and I know that following my heart and choosing him was the best decision I’ve ever made. Isn’t it funny how similar stories with vastly different endings still have the same happy ending? The way I see it, love is always a risk. You always chance getting hurt. You take that risk on people so amazing that the risk is worth it. πŸ™‚

  • All magnificent points. I strongly believe that loving yourself first is key before you can ever hope to love anyone else. Also that love is work too. You can’t take it for granted!

    Great post!

  • Great post, Emma. Like lots of other commenters, I’m so glad to see you share something so intimate. That’s a brave thing to do. Your points are all excellent, too. The last point rings true for me at this moment; relationships require energy and effort the way bodies require food and water. I can’t think of a more worthwhile investment of my energy, but oh how easy to forget to do it! <3

  • Thank you for reminding me what love is. I have been changing in my love life with my boyfriend this past year and all these points are ones that I am working on. It’s so good to read them on your blog post and be like, “Hey, that’s what I’m striving to do and I’m doing a pretty darn good job at it.” So thank you for sharing. πŸ™‚

  • Emma, your post nearly floored me with how relevant it is in my own life currently. I, too, have a commitment to be more loving (and positive) this year. I wrote about it today, too! (If you’re interested, you can read it here: http://www.poorandpretty.com/2013/01/2013-resolution-2-be-loving-social/) You’re right though. We’ve all been hurt and we’ve all taken the really great people in our lives for granted. Thank you for sharing your personal insights, they will shed light and help many of us. I wish you & Trey a beautiful love!

  • Emma – many thanks for sharing these things! It’s something we all need to be reminded of. My fiance and I went through a similar situation, and it can be difficult to open your heart again when people hurt you emotionally. Congrats on your engagement, and I wish all the best for you and Trey!

  • This is beautiful.

    I’m a huge believer in loving deeply. I think that’s excellent advice. πŸ™‚

  • I like this! Something I’ve been thinking about recently is how love is a choice, a commitment. And though the romantic feelings are there, the daily action of choosing to love (and actively loving) is one of the most important parts in a relationship. I’m so happy for you, Emma!

  • Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I agree most with #4. I have had many friendships that were one-sided, with me putting in all the work. It is tiring and not worth it. #5 is great too.

  • So beautiful, Emma. Thank you for sharing! I was married at 26 (in 2009) and my husband and I split two years later. It was soul crushing, but absolutely the right move. (For the record, he’s a wonderful person…he’s just not MY person.) Since then I’ve embarked on a new relationship, one that is full of deeper love and understanding than I ever knew possible. But we both have failed marriages and a lot of hurt in our romantic pasts and every day I have to remind myself to love fully and completely and to not allow fear to rule my heart. It’s scary, maybe in some ways it will always be scary, but the only way to assure that you never have regrets is to give all of yourself every single day. I always try to be the first one to say I’m sorry and never a night goes by without saying I love you before bed. The little things, in the end, may just be the biggest things of all.

  • Thanks for this post. I have been married to my husband for over 6 six years and I love him more now than I did on my wedding day. It is amazing how when you take chances and work really hard on not just staying together but staying in love how great the pay off is.

    Wishing you all the best.

  • There’s so much wisdom here, especially to have learned at your age–I’m not sure how old you are, but I’m guessing mid-late twenties? Thirty? Anyway, younger than I am. I mean that sincerely. When I was younger, I was still in need of that kind of truth in my life, but I hadn’t figured it out yet. Now I’m finally wiser, but it took me many years. Thanks for sharing these good thoughts.

  • What a beautifully written post and congrats on your recent engagement. I think that you have summed up something that people often spend their whole lives searching the answers to. Most importantly to love yourself first and be the person you would want to love. This can often be difficult to gauge or keep track of, but when you put that love out there it will come back to you.

    Great post and happy Friday doll!
    xxx
    Michaela
    Fashion415.com

  • you know, people always emphasize #1, but i wanted so desperately to believe that if you didn’t love yourself, you could learn to love by being in a relationship. maybe i wanted to believe this, because i didn’t feel like i loved myself. but not loving myself has led to a lot of relationship problems, and you are so right. love is work. and love is a lot of work if you don’t love yourself. thankfully, i’m with someone who will tolerate all the troubles that come with my coming from a broken family. if you are with the right person, you can slowly learn how to be in a healthy relationship. if you don’t change though, you might lose that person, and that’s what i’m afraid of. i’m trying my best to change and be a better person, not just for myself, but for this person that believes in me so much. my biggest problem was that, because i didn’t love myself, i was constantly afraid that i would be betrayed. i was always paranoid that he would find someone better, because how could this amazing person choose me? it has led to a lot of unwarranted trust issues, which i’m still working on. trust is huge. and so is selflessness…putting someone before yourself and understanding that you two are together, but you each have your own lives. here’s a post I’d like to share by The Angry Therapist, an interesting blog about life/relationships: http://www.theangrytherapist.com/33145696326/. simple and straightforward, but I think many relationships struggle with this.

    for some people, loving someone is like second nature. but for others, like myself, it can be a challenge, and i’m glad you focused on some key aspects that are important to remember every day. let me know if you think i’m totally wrong about the above or if you have any advice for me. i’m young and i’m learning, so it’s always great to hear some wisdom from experience!

  • Hit it right on the nail. I truly believe that we are put on this earth to love and through showing love we will feel love. It does take intentional effort not to be judgmental with selfish motives, but if we make those efforts, we will feel so fulfilled and will make ourselves able to be loved.

  • I couldn’t agree more Emma, each point resonates so strongly with me! Thank you so much for sharing such insightful thoughts, and to you and your sister for being an on-going source of inspiration and admiration for all of us x

  • Congrats on your recent engagement!

    Funny thing… today I decided to write my husband 365 love letters.

    For him, and for myself, to focus on the positives each day and just another small way to love him.

    Excited to read more about the wedding plans!
    xoxo-Liv

  • Ironic timing of this post, and very much needed. Thank you! I started seeing a guy I met enroute to Italy when we both missed our connecting flight, in Russia of all places! We emailed while I was in Italy and he in Australia for 6 weeks and started dating when we both got back. It has been an adventure so far but it seems like it could end very, very happily. All of these tips are what I need to hear, particularly being brave and open. Thank you!

  • We’ve been married almost 15 years now, which I can’t believe.. ..I think the biggest thing is we’ve always just gotten a long. even when we didn’t like each other very much. The biggest thing is to be with some one with who you can be yourself. If anyone is pretending at all about anything, then it’s not authentic. Congrats on your engagement and I wish you many happy years of authenticity. πŸ™‚

  • While I believe it is so important to be open to love in order to find love, I also feel that it is important to guard your heart. Sometimes red flags appear in relationships (romantic or not) that need to be carefully examined before proceeding. Recently coming from a place of needing to seriously and honestly examine my feelings in a relationship, I think it’s so important to listen to your heart, take your feelings seriously, and not completely push aside feelings of uncertainty or doubt. At the end of the day, your heart, body, soul, and mind must be in harmony in the quest for not only true love, but also deep inner peace. πŸ™‚

  • I’ve been with my husband since I was 16 (I’m 31 now) We have been married for 5 1/2 years…. I’ve always been blown away by the fact that we have managed to grow up together and remain so close…It’s a pretty remarkable thing that a lot of people will never experience. As cliche as it is… I love him more now then I did back then and everyday I love him more. I think what I’ve learned over the years is that you have to put in what you want to get out. Want to be loved? Then love. What to be trusted? then trust. What to find acceptance then accept. It’s really that simple. Also I tell all my friends that the man you should marry is the man who has seen you at your worst (and I don’t just mean physically) and is still standing by your side. That is a keeper. Mozel Tov on your engagement btw!

  • What a great post! And congratulations on your engagement! I agree with pretty much everything you said except for number 2. While I totally agree that it can be easier to blame others and that one shouldn’t focus on the shortcomings of others, if you alway wait until you’re the person you would love, you could miss out on so much! There’s always something that you won’t like about yourself, something you feel like you could do better. I have an amazing relationship with my husband, a wonderful marriage, but I don’t know that I’m always the wife I would want. i hope I’m not coming across as argumentative. If I am, I totally apologize. I think being a mom, being a wife, helps you grow into the person you want to be. I think it would be a mistake to wait until you are that person before you pursue that particular relationship.

    My thoughts on love: it’s not just an emotion. It’s a choice. It can be completely and totally over the top amazing and it can be really really hard.

    I love your #3.

  • Ok, so I just posted a comment and then reread the post and think I misunderstood what you were saying in #2. So, just ignore that part of my comment. lol. Should have read more carefully the first time! I’m sorry!

  • Congratulations! “It’s nice work if you can get it.” (Gershwin)

    Thanks for all your inspiring entries. I love reading your blog.

    Casey

    reuse—revamp—upcycle.blogspot.com

  • Emma, this post is amazing and so touching. I am in a sincere and deep relationship since 5 years (we live togheter since 4 years and a half) and everyday I love him more and more. But loving him is also possible because through lot of works I’ve learn to love myself -even if it is difficult in everyday life- and to accept to share mylife, to share a routine, a past, a present and also a future. When he says that he is excited for the moment that we will be old, calm, togheter, with our children’s raisen, my heart melt.

    So thanks for that inspiring post.
    Olive xox

  • I was forwarded this by one of my old, closest (and most long distance) friend. We have both had heartbreak and marriages end infor different reasons in recent years. She is one of my closest relationship and we encourage each other to love, be open and become fuller people.

    One of your points really struck a cord with me and that be someone you would fall in love with. I thought I was previously but looking back I was scared and trying to be what other want me to be. Since Dec 2011 I have concentrated on knowing me. And at my happiest time, at the point I tryuely knew who I was……I met a guy. Someone’s no previous I would not have even spoke to because ‘I had been hurt and it would only happen again’. But I went for it……at first my thought was ‘I’m a fairly crazy girl, very spontaneous, with a very demanding job , I will be true to myself and this (very funny and delicious) dude will be gone in a flash’. I didn’t care and it didn’t stop me doing it because if I was going to have fun with someone, right at the time I wanted it to be him so I didn’t hold back.

    And low and behold….I’m myself, happy, I love me,….and we really love each other. Taking chances is essential in life. Just trust in th e knowledge that life, as well as bad bits, has good and incredible bits. And hearts heal!

    I will also take on board you friends sections. Being engulfed in my relationship has lead me to being addicted to the sofa and him. I will create a resolution to see my friends more.

    thank you Emma x
    And thank you George for forwarding me this link – love you girl)

    Crystal
    From Aylesbry, England, UK

  • Awesome to hear about your engagement! πŸ™‚ Congratulations.

    Reading this was just what I needed, I was feeling a little down in the dumps and this post definitely restored some of my faith so, thank you for that!

  • I love your blog so much! I completely agree with you… It made me think I should spend more time with my friends, even if I’m busy due to the applying to university stuff. I got rejected from a world-leading university yesterday, and my dad told me that my biggest problem is that I don’t love myself… and he was so true! That’s what we need first of all if we want to do something big or even something ‘small’. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on love!
    xx Annamaria

  • Beautifully said…marriage is a partnership that takes love, friendship,lots of work, more love and lots of laughs. Nearly 20 years into my own marriage…we are better friends now than when we met…we laugh more (at ourselves mainly!)…and we choose to work on our relationship, on ourselves and our dreams…bless you guys in your marriage…it’s pretty cool!

  • Yes, Yess and Yesss! This post is so true Emma, your story is so similar to what is happening to me right now. I shudder to think if I would have been still closed off by past hurts/mistakes by the man I love I would have missed this beautiful time we have right now. The scariest thing we can do is fall in love because we risk everything. Your so right love takes work but oh how it’s worth it. Congratulations you two cuties πŸ˜€

  • I love reading your posts, Emma. They are so candid and, quite often, leave me smiling, either from the sentiments or your humour, which tends to sneak in quite often. I have noticed the change in how you write, how you let bits of yourself shine through and I have grown to love your articles because of that.

    This article is amazing, it made me quiet inside, and made me reflect instantaneously. One of the most beautiful things about reading your posts is that they make it ok to have goals, to reflect, to admit mistakes and to move forward with a plan. You are strong and very brave to post about your experiences with relationships, they are hard work and do not come easily.

    Thank you so much for sharing this, I will definitely forward this on to some other people I know will benefit from this. Congratulations on your engagement, I am eager to see your prepping.

    Hannah

  • Beautiful. I agree with all of these. I think, also, it’s important to learn which grudges to let go of in a relationship – for example, I could resent that my boyfriend almost never washes the dishes, but I would be choosing to ignore that he does almost all the cooking and pulls his weight in countless other ways; if things even out over all, the tiny things are not worth dwelling on.

  • I love this post, no pun intended. And I couldn’t agree more with you on all topics, especially having love for everyone but only cultivating relationships with those who leave me feeling positive. Beautifully written, I look forward to more posts like this!

    P.S. That Jay Z quote made me laugh out loud, and then immediately feel guilty about laughing. It is sort of beautiful, isn’t it?

  • This is lovely! I do, however, have to say that loving yourself can sometimes come from being loved; having someone love you first helps you realize that you are a beautiful and worthwhile person and it isn’t until someone shows you love that you are able to apply it to yourself! πŸ™‚

  • i’m going to print this post and read it every day. thank you! I really thank you. it’s just what I need!

  • Yes! All true and agreed with. And to the “love is work” point I couldn’t agree more. I just shared my goals for the year yesterday and investing more tangibly in my relationships is something I have identified as one goal I want to achieve. Like you say, it’s so easy to get distracted by other things. I’m also working to organise myself better too. Being able to prioritise is so important. I guess one important indication to someone that they are of great value to you, is if you make them a priority. I want to do that more in my significant relationships in 2013!
    Thanks for the open and personal post πŸ™‚

  • what a lovely post. i have recently found love again after a long period of being single and bad dates. nothing makes me more happy right now πŸ™‚
    xo, cheyenne

  • This post is wonderful, and comes at a time I’ve been thinking a lot about love too! I’ve had a few relationships end terribly in the last few years, even though I loved the people a lot. I didn’t know how to love myself and others the way I needed to. It’s all a learning and growing process, and I’m hoping learning to love myself and others now is all I need to bring the right things in! I recently discovered your blog, and everyday there is something new and beautiful and inspiring, I love what you two are doing <3

  • I’ve been married for almost 15 years, and together for nearly 19.
    We have 4 babies here and 1 in heaven.
    We’ve shared the highest highs and the lowest lows.
    We thought once that we were at the end, but we stayed the course, with many tears shed, and came out the other side.
    What I have learned in these years is that a lasting relationship takes much work and has no room for selfishness.
    You need to be creative in the ways you show love to each other.
    And you need to recognize that the way you love each other changes over time, but the love is still there.
    I hope you don’t mind if I post a link here, but it is one of my most favorite reflections on lasting love.
    http://lillyandthebrothers.blogspot.com/2011/03/real-life-romance.html
    Thank you for being real.
    Love from,
    Greta

  • Thank you for this post. I used to be a very “closed off” person. Because I hated who i was in front of other people, some sort of inferiority complex, I didn’t allow anyone to come into my life and my heart. I didn’t really realize what was going on at the time, it took me 20 years to come out of this mess. I probably lost many, many chances to meet great people… as I finished school around that time.

    Right now I’m 28 with no boyfriend, we broke up because he had no long term plans and it’s hard to see everyone married or with marriage, house, child plans. I wonder if it’s only a matter of luck, and it’s tempting to compare my life with everyone else and have negative feelings about myelf or simply be jealous of them.

    That’s why I can relate to your story. I feel a bit lost with mixed feelings about relationships, yet with fear of not finding anyone, and I’m wondering if there’s still something wrong with me.

    Have a goog day and… be happy ! As for me, still searching…!!!

  • I love this post. So true and inspiring. Thank you for sharing this and for spreading love around. What goes around comes around. πŸ™‚

  • This is definitely one of the reasons I love this site as much as I do (so muuuuch). This article is very insightful and thought-provoking! Definitely good to read first thing in the morning. πŸ˜‰ Keep being awesome, and very much congratulations on your engagement~! <3

  • I love the combination of Audrey Hepburn quotes and Jay Z – that’s style!

    I totally relate to #5 on this list; that is one of my big goals this year to focus on spending more energy/time with the awesome people in my life.

    Also, want to chime in with the ‘love reading Emma posts’ gang!

  • My husband’s and my best thought on love (and marriage) is that it’s a commitment…not just a feeling. Love is like a promise that you’ll be there whether you feel like it or not. I know that’s not popular in culture today, but I think it’s what makes any relationship strong. Growing up, I knew my parents would love me even when I was unloveable, and I think that should be true for any relationship where you say you love someone.

  • Thank you for this post, it’s just what I needed to read right now:)
    Love the blog xx

    Beautyindrop.blogspot.com

  • Thank you so much for writing this. I think this is something I needed to read, especially since I’ve been contemplating whether or not certain relationships in my life will work. I am a very selfish person and if I’m going to be in a relationship, I want it to benefit me and I’m blinded by what i’m contributing to the relationship. I can sure love a lot of people more in my entire family as well as my boyfriend. I treat them not as well as I should be…thank you for your kind words and congratulations on your engagement!

    xo, Jessika

    jessclassy.blogspot.com

  • I’m so glad I read this post, I saved it to read when I had a spare moment and I couldn’t have picked a better time. Me and my boyfriend have just had a big fallout but this post has made me put things in perspective, love is hard, love is sad and painful at times, love doesn’t always pay out straight away but nobody get’s anywhere without a little hard work, am I right?

    So thank you,

    Amy. xx

  • This was so great, Emma. I love how real you and Elsie are, and your sense of humors.

    This brought up so many thoughts for me, and battles with myself. I am a naturally happy person, first off. I’ve had some long and short relationships that haven’t lasted for sad reasons (cheating, indifference, incompatibility, etc.) Not too many at least. But it has made me cynical. I am a comic at heart, so I guess some of us are naturally cynical no matter how happy we are. I have just had no interest in dating anyone for a few years now. I do like being alone! The free time you have to spend with friends and family is phenomenal, but sometimes you just want to be by yourself in a ‘cave’ somewhere to breathe.

    I think when someone amazing comes around, I will know it. At the same time, heartbreak is SO incredibly hard to deal with that I don’t want to go through it again (despite how good it is for writing stories and songs). I feel weird for not wanting to date these past few years. I guess we get wiser and choosier as we get older. (I was very choosy to begin with. I didn’t date in high school or early college.)

    Anyway, your post on the subject has given me a bit more hope that I will be ok than other articles I have read on the internet. I still plan to see a therapist on why I am like this (not wanting to date lately), but I suppose it’s a good thing. I’m not just gonna go give my heart out to guys I’m only less than half-heartedly into! Right?

    Right.

    Thank you again. <3

    p.s. Sorry if none of that made any sense. πŸ™‚

  • Thanks so much for taking the time to share this. It’s funny how we are in situations in life and then we stumble upon things that helps us with those situations. This post was something I needed very deeply right now, I saw it and read it at the perfect time. Thanks so much for writing this… You don’t know how much this has done for me. Thank you.

    Christen
    http://www.anunordinaryhello.com

  • I totally agree with your thoughts. One thing I might add is that love is a decision. I think one might often think of it as a feeling or something romantic, but I believe true love comes from a decision and a commitment to making it work and putting that other person first.

  • Yes! The thing I love about your take on love, Emma, is that it’s so empowered! So many people approach their relationships from a sense of being a victim — as you said, looking for another person to fix their weaknesses — but that isn’t how it works.

    Being the best person you can figure out how to be is always the thing to focus on.

  • Wow, what a post. I really really agree with you. Love is such a strong power. How much better is a day, when a total stranger smiles at you. And I love your thoughts on point 2). I should remind me of that more often: Be someone you would love.
    Thank you Emma and congrats for your engagement. I’m really happy for you.
    Wish you all the best,
    Eva from Germany

  • Emma, thank you so much! You’ve clearly struck a chord with this post, and you’ve been thinking alike with so many of us. Love does truly take on many forms, and though it may not be easy love, in any form does take work but, it’s worth it!

  • Oh my gosh, I have had love on the brain a lot lately, too! I agree with everything you said, especially point number one. I have been working on this very thing for a few months and it’s paying off. You truly do have to start with loving yourself before you can love others and before you can let others really love you.
    Great post! Thank you for sharing a bit of your heart =)

  • oh ym goodness oh my goodness πŸ™‚ i rea dyour posts religiously and i wondered and imagined where your relationship would go and i’d hoped it would turn in this direction for you! AH! congrats! πŸ™‚ we dont even know each other but i feel we have so much in common and even total strangers can relate to the feeling of achieving happiness so congrats! πŸ™‚ i wish you the best!

    -Miranda <3

  • i absolutely love your perspective emma, i feel like (and wish that) you could be my sister!

    I love this, i feel like i learned a lot of these lessons last year and I’m hoping the new year will be full of love. I had a difficult break up last year but I finally realized its okay to let someone in again… and he told me he loved me at midnight on new years! congratulations on your engagement, i’m sure your lives together will be filled with beauty.

    http://citystylecountrysmile.com/2013/01/02/happy-new-year/

  • omg, I love that you quoted Jay-Z about love in pretty font over a cute picture hahaha <3

  • The best piece of adive I received before my wedding (which was almost a year ago) was that the key to successful marriage is waking up everyday and choosing to love your spouse. I try to tell my husband (in my head) “I will love you today” daily.

  • I can’t tell you how much I am enjoying the honest postings by you, Emma. Thanks for making A Beautiful Mess a place I enjoy visiting again.

  • Congrats! I’m just getting time to catch up on my favorite blogs after being away on vacation…that’s such exciting news and good luck with the next big step in life.

  • I just saw your blog from a friend! I loved reading what you had to say. Very insightful. It reminds me of a quote that I try to go by daily:

    “Love is not what you can get, it’s what you can give.”

    God bless you and your future marriage! πŸ™‚

  • I deeply agree your word that if you fall in love, please deeply love! Love to me is all the things, I choose the man, then choose the happiness for my life.

  • I can’t help but think of love! I’m absolutely smitten with a guy I work with who seems interested but won’t make the first move!! It’s driving me absolutely nuts… in a good way. πŸ™‚

  • Hello Emma! I loved this post.
    I’m not having an easy time, my boyfriend died 1 year and 4 months.
    We dated for 6 years! I lost my best friend!
    In all this time I felt very alone, my friends moved away and left me alone.
    My heart is broken, but I hope to meet people who brighten my life and I theirs. I have to see my mistakes to be better.
    Thanks for sharing this post.
    Sorry for my English … use the translator!

    Kisses, Aldi.

  • Congrats! i recently was proposed to days before Christmas. My fiance (i never get tired of saying that!) and i have always had an interest in one another, but were never available at the same time. I’ve known him since we were 17 years old and started dating when we were 22 years old. Both of us are very shy about our feelings and not to mention we came out of long, terrible relationships. Every day we grow more and more as a couple and i am so glad we took the chance on one another because we never fight and that is a huge change from our past relationships. Marriage was also something he never thought he would be interested in – until we started dating:)(his words)I love him more and more every day and cannot wait until we become a family.

  • Thank you so much for posting this. It’s the third time I’ve read through it and you really couldn’t have posted it at a better time.

  • Such a beautiful post, Emma!! So thoughtful and true.

    I smiled to myself when I read about your history with Trey. My boyfriend and I were like that too! Dated when we were 18, he broke my heart, and then five years later we somehow reconnected and fell in love!

    Funny how love works, isn’t it? πŸ˜‰

  • one of the best blogposts. So often then not, we forget these important basic things in life and you’re so right, its easier to blame others than to amend our own selves. But thanku for such an amazing share and reminding us we are humans and need love. And to be loved, we need to love first wholeheartedly πŸ™‚
    http://glamagem.blogspot.com