retaining freshness or interest : perennial. b : universally and continually relevant : not limited in applicability to a particular event or date.https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/evergreen
I read Vanessa’s post today about finding meaning in the song “Evergreen” and it got me thinking about my interpretation.
My first reaction was “Ha! Right – love everlasting.” If you’ve read my posts over the past year, you know that hasn’t happened for me. Each time, I thought it was FINALLY the “evergreen” relationship – one that would stand the test of time, weather storms, and maintain its individuality – while being part of a forest ecosystem – for its natural life.
In my experience, it’s not been love everlasting with one person. Each time, it was fresh and interesting – absolutely. Each time, I thought it was forever. Love is a basic human need; one that is universally and continually relevant. While many people put everything into making their wedding day special, love is not applicable to that particular event or date. It’s in the day-to-day living, the little things, that keep it fresh and interesting.
The Universe timed Vanessa’s post perfectly. It came a few days after Martin and I talked about what love means to us, and a day before our two year anniversary.
Martin and I are past the point where we believe love is eternal. Like the evergreen tree, it can be perennial if nourished and continues to grow, but there’s no certainty. A fire can take out a forest of evergreens. A landslide can rip them out by the roots. A drought can stunt their growth and, over time, starve them. The best we can do is see ‘evergreen love’ as a possibility and strive to make it happen.
We make it happen by having shared interests and experiences. We explore new things and places together. We have a shared understanding of what love means and similar expectations as to where it will go.
As a concept, “love” is ageless and unchanging. The reality of it is anything but that. Love changes over time. At the beginning, partners can’t get enough of each other and want to spend every waking minute talking or being together. I remember when Martin told me he loved me. He HAD to talk to me everyday while he was at work. When on night shift, he’d wake 30 minutes early to have time to call me. You need to know he is someone who despises talking on the phone and is chronically tired when working 12 hour nights. He’s a true introvert and very comfortable with solitude. Such is the power of love in the initial phase.
Over time, we become familiar with each other. As the saying goes, “Familiarity breeds contempt”, OR, it can breed deeper love. Now, we agree to talk twice a week when he’s at work. We text twice a day. If we were stuck in the first phase, this would be upsetting for both of us. It’s not. Our love has grown. It acknowledges both his needs and mine. We reach compromises that work for both of us.
Unlike the evergreen tree who is at the mercy of Mother Nature, we choose to continue growing together. If either one of us stops nurturing the relationship, it will die. It’s a joint effort. This isn’t to say the effort is always equal. Sometimes we each need to put in more to keep the relationship working. It’s acknowledging and respecting the efforts of each other that’s important.
Just as an evergreen can’t take necessary amounts of rain, soil or sunshine for granted, neither can humans assume love will simply occur. It’s not a result of a particular day or time. It’s the result of care, attention and opportunities for growth that keep love truly “evergreen”.