Had you asked me what I thought love was when I was younger, I would have told you it was an overwhelming emotion that grips and squeezes your heart till it sings with an erratic beat. Perhaps it was my hormones, but this was what happened when I was a teenager, lusting after girls with pretty eyes and coy smiles. I even wrote dramatic poetry, waxing lyrical about my unwavering passion and desires. Here’s my first love poem to prove it.
young Richard Branson with a girl at Virgin Records
However, as I have grown older I have realised that love is something entirely different. Last week I wrote about how I met the love of my life, my wife Joan. Having spent 40 years with Joan by my side I have had the courage to do so many things others would deem impossible. I have been able to take risks – that have been fundamental to my success in business – which I probably wouldn’t have dared to make without Joan’s love. She has taught me that love shouldn’t just squeeze your heart, it should cradle it. It should prop you up, not bring you down. It should make you strong, not weak. The way I see it, love is a steadfast boat that allows you to make safe yet exciting passage across wild seas.
Richard Branson and Joan Branson under the moon
Love should be supportive; it should lift us and inspire us to be the best possible person we can be. Because if you can be the best version of yourself, your partner will benefit too. That’s the cornerstone of a great relationship – wanting the best for and bringing out the best in each other.
Happy Valentine’s to all the lovers out there – may you experience love that stands the test of time. And if you’re still looking for love, the very best of luck and I’m sure you’ll find it soon.