What Did Abraham Lincoln Know About Love?

An anonymously placed bouquet of autumn flowers sits in the hand of the Abraham Lincoln statue with Bascom Hall in the background. ©UW-Madison University Communications 608/262-0067 Photo by: Jeff Miller Date: 2001 File#: color slide

©UW-Madison University Communications Photo by: Jeff Miller



Last week’s blog, “Are You Choosing or Backing Into Love” sent readers into somewhat of a frenzy. Many didn’t agree with me that the best way to a happy relationship is to know what you want and choose someone who is willing and capable and even happy to meet you in your happy zone. The argument centered mostly on our attraction to one another…the chemistry or “love at first sight” experience. And believe you me, I am ALL OVER the attraction phase. Who doesn’t love swimming in love juices that make each other just perfect all day, all the time? And, like Oprah and good weight loss programs say, “You don’t have to give up what you love.” But, if you want to be happy, you will have to add some additional ingredients to the sauce.


Abraham Lincoln knew something that certainly made him an amazing President when he said,

“I will prepare (myself) and someday my chance will come.” 

Preparing ourselves to find someone who will be the cherry on our already amazing ice cream sundae will be necessary. Though we want someone to love us with all our flaws, imperfections and even some wounds still tender, when we enter a relationship not knowing where our still gaping holes reside, how will we know how to take care of ourselves, and what we can realistically ask a partner to help us heal? Knowing ourselves is the only way we can know who’s a great person with whom to share our lives. Skipping Step 1 will have us asking someone to be the parent we never had, never to hurt us or disappoint us and demanding that they change so that we feel better.

Author David Richo, in his book How to be an Adult in a Relationship says it beautifully. Perhaps my blog didn’t quite make this point so well…”real love does not happen by accident. Neither are we its passive victims. It requires a choice in response to an attraction. Granted, we have no choice about the reaction to it. But thereafter we choose one response after another, and for those choices we are accountable. We always have the power to make them responsibly and consciously.”

So, if I have burst your bubble, my hope is that you will accept the responsibility and enjoy the feeling of choosing your happiness in finding someone with whom to share this next chapter of your life. Please leave your comments, feelings and questions below. I am writing a book even as you read this, and this area is one of the foundations of what I believe about finding love. I would really love to hear your ideas and experiences.

And I would appreciate your posting this on your Social Media pages…save someone some heartache!

If you or someone you know is ready for Step I that will lead to love and joy, not more of the same

Give me a call to set up a “Choosing Love” session and find the right path to that special someone.

510-817-4242  donna@donnasbigredchair.love

Donna Bailey, MS

Coach, Speaker, Writer , Dating and Relationships for “Grown-ups”



  1. Bev on September 27, 2016 at 10:31 am

    Hi Donna,
    I actually do agree with you. You need to have inner peace and happiness first, you cannot find that thru a relationship, if you don’t have it first no one will make you happy. I think we make a choice every day to be happy and or change the things that are not working and life is a continual work in progress, but I do believe its important to clean up areas of brokenness first before engaging in any new love/relationship. Otherwise you bring brokenness to a relationship rather than a healthy vibrant self. I find too many people don’t stop to take time off after going thru a loss and just jump quickly into finding a replacement rather than working on themselves first. Wish more people would think about healing first and taking care of themselves completely emotionally before entertaining the idea of even dating again and starting over again. We should have a clean slate to offer any new comer in our lives and offer the best of ourselves without any preconceived notions or ideas. Thanks for your article, I think you make a good point.

  2. Christine Baumgartner on September 27, 2016 at 5:28 pm

    Donna you make so many good points. And the question I’d ask of the people who wrote and asked ‘what about chemistry and love at first sight’ is ‘Did that turn out to be enough to sustain your relationship? Have you found that your relationships ended because you hadn’t considered the ‘added ingredients’ Donna suggested?’

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