What is love?

Everybody has a different idea as to what love is. There is no right or wrong. However, there are a few fundamental notions that I can think most people can agree with. Love is honesty and trust, a mutual respect, a willing to help one another and a connection of two hearts.
People are all too quick to complicate the idea of love. It is a feeling of not wanting to hurt that special person in your life, being accepting of their hopes and dreams and wanting to work with them to achieve all they desire. Love is something that is cultivated between two people and grows over time, through getting to know him or her and experiencing life’s many ups and downs together.
Love doesn’t have to be as it’s portrayed in films, where couples are in their own little indestructible bubble, where they never argue about leaving dirty washing on the floor or about who is responsible for the washing up. Of course the kind love we see on television is just an illusion, but that doesn’t mean that love isn’t any less real or obtainable.
It’s about finding a connection with someone for whom you’re happy when they’re happy, you hurt when they’re hurting and when you’re in their company, it feels like home. Love doesn’t have to be splashed all over social media. If something isn’t shared, it doesn’t mean progress isn’t being made. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Why does the rest of the world need to know your relationship status when you should be focusing your attention on that rather than worrying how many likes your latest loved up post will rack up.
I have made so many mistakes when it came to what I thought was love. I was just 20 years old when I got married, a mere three months after we met. I didn’t know what love was, I was young and naive and thought that I had been swept off my feet. On the outside the relationship was a fairytale, but there were major problems from the offset. I was too scared to burst the bubble, worrying about being alone and losing the person that I thought loved me unconditionally. 
My faith over the years helped me to keep strong. Muslims believe that Allah does not give you any more burden than what you can handle. So many times I thought I would crumble. So many times I questioned why I was being put through so much hurt and upset. I wondered what I had done to deserve such a turbulent and broken marriage.
This time last year, in fact around the second or third night of fasting, I finally realised that what I had thought was love all these years, was in fact not love at all. I don’t need to go into detail, but on this one particular night, I learnt exactly what love was not. That was the moment that I had been waiting for- my realisation, my escape and my chance at building on the lie I had been exposed to for all those years.
Since then, the love I have towards my faith has increased remarkably. I realised that I was tested all those years because Allah was waiting for me to recognise my strength and courage. I lived the life I did so that I could set the standards for what I would accept in the future. I have been built from every mistake I’ve ever made and as a result, I have a big heart that hopefully someone, someday will be able to call theirs. I have realised how the idea of love can hurt, but more importantly realised that actually love doesn’t hurt, only people do.
Someday I would love to have that one person on who’s mind I am on first thing in the morning and last thing at night. I would love to walk hand in hand with someone who is proud to call me theirs. I look forward to the day I can laugh with someone again so much that my sides hurt, and with whom I can enjoy a tub of Ben & Jerry’s at midnight because I’m not embarrassed about being a lover of food! 
Love doesn’t have to be extravagant, made official on a piece of paper or be on show to everyone- it just has to make you feel warm and fuzzy inside. 
On that note, I think the only thing that will be making me feel warm and fuzzy tonight will be my meal at iftar. There are just over three hours to go and the days are getting gradually longer. My sleeping pattern has started to go crazy. For the past three nights I have woken at 4.50am and have been wide awake for a good hour despite only going to bed a couple of hours before. That should be fun when my days start at 6.15am again from next week! Today has been another fairly good day. The decrease in temperature is helping to keep thirst away and I’ve only had a couple of hunger pangs during the day. I am embracing the peace and tranquility that comes with the holy month, making the extra effort to pray. The children are being well behaved and understanding but it is still quite lonely to break the fast alone. There is a reason for this though and Allah knows it. Who knows what the year ahead will bring, but for now, it’s about living in the moment and being thankful for all we have.

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rachellnorth

Mum of three beautiful kids. I love craft, craft and a little bit more craft. All quotes are my own.

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