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Ten thoughts on love

Feb 14, 2014 - By Chris Peck

It's a mix of romance and common sense

Valentine's Day is here, and it made me think back to high school girlfriends.

High school is the often the first time most of us think deeply -- if that's possible in a high school brain -- about the meaning of love. I know I wrestled with that elusive emotion back then.

My two Riverton High School girlfriends where both caring, wonderful young women as teenagers. Good people. Good hearts.

I don't correspond with either of them. Haven't for decades.

But I do remember fondly the bumbling, fumbling experiences we had together.

I confess I didn't know much about love, or women, or what it takes to keep relationships going back then.

How could I? We were teenagers!

I do know that a decade after we all had graduated from RHS, each of us had married somebody else.

Happily married, as far as I know, since Facebook and family friends today say all three of us have stayed married to the same, non-high school partners for decades.

For many young people, high school romance lays the foundation for later relationships.

But the last thing any couple should want is to be stuck in a high school frame of mind for a lifetime of a marriage.

Which gets to this: What would I say to high school romantics based on what I've learned about love in the years since Riverton High School?

Here's a list:

1. Love is work. It's not all prom and a movie date. No, love is seeing a cranky person with morning breath and still working to make it all worth it.

2. Love is compassion. That means feeling the other person's pain, not just your own.

3. Love is showing up. You don't miss birthdays. Anniversaries. Or family gatherings. Your engaged presence is the most important gift you can ever give.

4. Love is letting go. You don't own your partner. Not her checking account, or free time, or political views. Don't try to hold on to any of that.

5. Love is imperfect. You aren't a saint. Neither is your partner. Don't expect perfection, and you won't be disappointed.

6. Love is fighting fair. Hurtful words that pop into your mind when you are disappointed are tough to take back.

7. Love is not going to bed mad. If resentments carry over into the bedroom not much else will ever develop there.

8. Love is saying you are sorry. When you mess up, admit it.

9. Love is forgiveness. When somebody messes up do the bighearted thing -- and forgive.

10. Love is the best of what you remember from early romance. The smile. The beautiful hands. The laughter. That person you loved long ago likely is still there.

Happy Valentine's Day.

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