The most beautiful compliment I have received in my life about love is "you make me want to fall in love all over again because of the way he looks at you."
My understanding about love is a partner being willing to be a mirror for you. Being present and authentic to reflect, gracefully, your own patterns and then that person asking for accountability to grow. In doing so develops compassion towards our own sense of self so that unconditional self-love is available, and in turn, an extension of that love towards another person.
I know what I know about love because of my husband, Ben. He has been the rock in my life that has challenged me to fight for the best version of myself while grounding me through my missteps and lapses in my truth. Ben has taught me more about myself through compassion and patience than I believe I would have discovered on my own. Beginning my life with Ben started way before my decision about marriage. It began when I started to invest into my own personal exploration and growth of what and how I want relationships to look; and began again when my marriage was not the "idea" of what marriage would be.
Love began when vulnerability and humility became my top priorities. Ben held me accountable to my personal integrity through gentleness and respect in the ways I had never experienced before that has caused tension, doubt, and resiliency but above all intimacy. His demonstrations of his own efforts and transparency fostered a desire in me to practice deepening my willingness to be emotionally exposed and practice self-trust that my relationship, and marriage, would flourish if the opportunity of emotional intimacy is available.
I believe that love has an attachment component that reenacts a similar dynamic encompassing the growth, appreciation, alignment, commitment, and willingness to be vulnerable we experienced growing up. The love we were shown or witnessed from others during our formative years have a lasting impact to future relationships. I believe it is important to explore what our attachments already look like, so we have insight as to how we relate and interact with others. Establishing self-awareness can help to tend to old wounds that previous relationships or experiences have created. In my experience it is extremely beneficial, and responsible, to begin this exploration process before entering any relationship and continuing to revisit it for adaptations from the variety of life.
Ben has been that mirror that reminds me to persist in my ventures of accountability to myself and our relationship so that we can live healthy lives that can be interdependent and nurture love together.