Yes, I am about to get sappy.
Am I like every other girl who dreams of a whirlwind romance, a guy who absolutely sweeps me off my feet, complete with the grand finale of a big wedding? Yes,I sure am… I would love to meet Prince Charming and have him fall head over heels in love with me and extol my beauty on a daily basis. Lol
However, it was recently pointed out to me that “Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting” (Proverbs 31:30)
There is no “Prince Charming” and no matter how beautiful he finds me in this moment, I will not stay young and look like this forever.
So if there is no “Happily Ever After” based on the fairytale, how does a relationship succeed?
Obviously there are relationships that last 50 years, or truly “until death do us part.” I just want to figure out how it works.
I’ve heard it said that real love is an unconditional commitment to an imperfect person.
I know that when I got married, I truly believed it was everything I could have ever dreamed. He was my “Prince Charming.” But I was naïve, emotional and idealistic, which left me extremely broken and unaware.
Over the past few years, I have spent a lot of time thinking about why things didn’t work out how we had intended. It was easy until it wasn’t.
And now, I have become a little jaded. I am cautious, skeptical and I have built a huge emotional fortress for protection.
But I know that someday it will all came crumbling down, brick by brick, and I will experience the freedom of that love again.
But next time there are a few things I will do differently.
See, when we are falling in love, we are led by emotions, lust, infatuation… These feelings propel us to make some of the most irrational decisions or perform unexpected, romantic tasks, like staying up all night, talking on the phone despite having midterms or an important client meeting the next day, making breakfast just because or driving 400 miles to spend a day with him or her.
Emotions, especially love, passion and happiness, are our strongest motivators because we will do anything to maintain them.
However, what I didn’t realize that first time around is that emotion will never last. What goes up, must come down and sometimes, the high lasts for a couple of months and sometimes, it can last for a couple of years. But when it comes down, we cannot be blinded by the illusion that everything good is infinite and invincible. Coming down can really stink if you aren’t expecting it.
When all the butterflies have fluttered away and that euphoric newness becomes a distant memory, you will discover that you’ve chosen someone who is just as imperfect as you. And they, in turn, will come to learn that you have problems, insecurities, struggles, quirks–and body odor–just as real as theirs!
However, when that “down” point comes (which it will in any relationship), that is when we decide if we truly want a love that lasts forever. That is when the work begins. That is when we get to put in more effort to maintain and deepen the relationship.
As our emotions stabilize and we settle into a routine with those we love, we tend to become complacent, familiar, boring. This causes us to lose that emotional motivation to serve our partner and the comfort of that familiarity can be fantastic or it can be fatal.
Our society places a lot of emphasis on feelings. We are taught that we should always follow our feelings and do whatever makes us happy. But feelings are very fickle and fleeting. Real love, on the other hand, is like the north star in the storms of life; it is constant, sure, and true. Whenever we’re lost and confused we can find strength in the love that we have chosen.
So you have a choice. You can take that comfort and familiarity and create a stale, unappealing environment of thinking you already know your partner and you have nothing more to learn, or you can evolve the relationship to another level. You can create an environment of teamwork that builds as both of you continue to learn and grow and realize that both you and your partner are a different person every single day.
One thing I have always believed is that love is a choice. But it isn’t one huge choice that you make and then it’s done. Its a daily choice. Its the small choices that you make regularly like working on better communication with your partner, accepting them, their flaws and their insecurities, acknowledging their good traits regularly and being selfless with them always.
It means being honest with your significant other while being true to yourself and understanding that compromises are the key to all healthy relationships.
It means connecting and sometimes disconnecting, but always discussing your feelings without blame, assumption and insults so that you never go to bed angry.
It means knowing that your partner will make mistakes, but always speaking before reacting so that the two of you can learn and grow from the experience.
It means that even when you don’t feel love in any given moment, you do not give in to the short-term emotions and will instead behave and communicate with tenderness and patience, share your vulnerabilities and consciously decide to forgive and move forward.
The end is determined by your everyday efforts!
However, if we realize that temporary is easy, but forever is hard, we’ll consistently work for the things and the people who are worth fighting for while enjoying the magic and enchantment of all that is finite.
Love is so much more than some random, euphoric feeling. And real love isn’t always fluffy, cute, and cuddly. More often than not, real love has its sleeves rolled up, dirt and grime smeared on its arms, and sweat dripping down its forehead. Real love asks us to do hard things–to forgive one another, to support each other’s dreams, to comfort in times of grief, or to care for family. Real love isn’t easy–and it’s nothing like the wedding day–but it’s far more meaningful and wonderful.
Choosing to love someone–is actually one of the most beautiful things about love.