Linda: Moses Mendelssohn, the grandfather of the well-know German composer, was far from being a handsome man. Along with rather short stature, he also possessed a formidable humpback. Once he visited a Hamburg merchant with a lovely daughter named Frumtje. Moses fell hopelessly in love with this young woman. But alas, Frumtje was repulsed by his misshapen appearance.
Finally the time came for farewells. Moses gathered his courage and climbed the stairs to her room. She was a vision of heavenly beauty, but caused him deep sadness by her refusal to even look up at him. After several attempts at conversation, Moses shyly questioned, “Do you believe marriages are made in heaven?”
“Yes,” she answered, still looking at the floor. “And do you?”
“Yes I do,” he replied. “You see, in heaven at the birth of each boy, the Lord announces. “This boy will marry that particular girl. And when I was born, my future bride was pointed out to me, and then the Lord added, “But your wife will be humpbacked.” Right then and there I called out. “Oh Lord, a humpbacked woman would be a tragedy. Please Lord, give me the hump and let her be beautiful.”
Then Frumtje looked up into his eyes, and was stirred by deep feelings. She reached out and gave Mendelssohn her hand and later became his devoted wife.
If you have been in a working partnership for any length of time, you will have discovered that true love requires sacrifice and a spirit of generosity. The spirit of generosity shows up in our closest relationship, and then the practice of generosity spills throughout our lives, we sharing our offerings effortlessly with others. We give freely to others when the need presents itself and our gifts are not limited to material offerings. Nor are they necessarily spectacular in magnitude. A spirit of generosity has more to do with an overall attitude that one holds in which there is an ongoing interest in bringing greater ease, comfort, and happiness to their lives of others.
This perspective doesn’t come from a feeling of obligation or a desire for a reward, but rather is an expression of an inner sense of fulfillment that naturally spills over into the lives of others in the form of kind words, supportive efforts, and friendly gestures. Upon entering new situations, these people ask themselves the question: “How can I contribute here?” rather than, ”What can I get from this person and how can I get it?”
This ongoing sharing of generosity enriches these marriages and provides an ever-growing foundation of love and appreciation that flows into the greater world. Generosity is a natural aspect of the process of expressing caring for others. It is an overflow of our own personal well-being. Our generosity does not come from a feeling of obligation; it is an outpouring of the abundance of love we experience in our lives.
We recognize that in giving we are always a recipient of that which we give. We live with a recognition that whenever our partner is diminished, that we are as well. Any gift we give our partner benefits us too The generosity and respect that we have towards each other is an expression of caring through offering unsolicited acknowledgements to each other. When we begin to praise our partner in many different ways, acknowledging their intelligence or creativity, it soon becomes a general feature of our lives to express gratitude and appreciation on an on-going basis.
One person put it this way when he said: “What is good for us is good for me. Even if I temporarily forgo what I desire in the moment in favor of my wife’s interest, I trust that ultimately in the long run, I will gain more than I would if I had held my own desires higher than hers.” Hope added: “I trust that I will receive more than what I give up. I am still motivated by self interest, but understand that it is through the “we” that the me is more greatly fulfilled.”
So often, we feel a moment of affection, warmth and appreciation for our partner, and it stays in our heart unexpressed. There are so many distractions and competing urgencies. How luxurious to stop to take the time to allow that affection to pour out of heart and to be captured in words as a gift to express our devotion. If we take time to write down those things that we most love about another, it is an exquisite representation of our love.
Our oral declaration of love is beautiful. To hear the words spoken aloud is also is a source of bliss. And the written declaration is delightful in that it can be kept in a safe place and taken out again and again for review any time when we feel that we need a bit of nurturance.
Linda and Charlie Bloom are excited to announce the release of their third book, Happily Ever After . . . and 39 Other Myths about Love: Breaking Through to the Relationship of Your Dreams.
“Love experts Linda and Charlie shine a bright light, busting the most common myths about relationships. Using real-life examples, they skillfully, provide effective strategies and tools to create and grow a deeply loving and fulfilling long-term connection.” – Arielle Ford, author of Turn You Mate into Your Soulmate