Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is perennial as the grass.(Desiderata by Max Ehrmann)
Love is a many splendored thing, as the famous song and movie goes. Love makes the world go round, as simple as this phrase but it did mean a lot. The dictionary defines love as either a noun or a verb. The noun definition defines it as an intense feeling of deep affection and a great interest and pleasure in something. Another definition classifies it as a verb signifying to feel a deep romantic or sexual attachment to (someone). The Meriam-Webster defines love as a strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties. Many people have identified and described love, including all the poets, authors, artists and songwriters, philosophers, even scientists and politicians. But what really is love? Does our definition really reflect the real life situations of what love is? Is love a destination or is it a journey? What does the fairytale stories tell about ‘happy ever after’s? So let us all take a grip and find out more.
FEELING VERSUS COMMITMENT
The dictionary defines FEELING as the (strong) emotional side of someone’s character and an especially vague or irrational belief.
On the other side COMMITMENT is defined as a willingness to give your time and energy to something that you believe in or a promise or strong decision to do something. Based on this definition, love is not a feeling because our feelings are in the short term language while love as a commitment emphasizes and points love as a long term goal and phenomenon.
“I am selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and, at times, hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best”Marilyn Monroe
Commitment therefore is the core of every successful marriage. It is easy to say I love you today, next day, next week. But how about the consistency we all need which roots from true commitment?
Marriage is the union of both man and woman who are deeply in love with each other, who commit to stick together through a lifetime. Everything begins with a desire and a decision. Through marriage vows, the couples have decided to say to each other their promises through thick and thin, sickness and health, for better or for worse.
There are three types of commitment that keeps marriages together.
Moral commitment- The core of keeping the marriage and the commitment is out of a sense of duty to moral law. The person(s) has a strong religious belief that a commitment is highly valued in the moral law.
Structural commitment- A deep commitment is rooted from a tie entangled with children, a family home, shared income or shared friends among others.
Personal commitment- It is the deepest form of commitment wherein someone stays in the marriage because they want to, not out of necessity or a sense of responsibility. It must be at the bottom of the pyramid as a strong foundation for all relationships.
It is the combination of these two or three types of commitment that sets the fire of a relationship ablaze.
A commitment indeed is never easy. It is full of ups and downs, a roller coaster ride and filled with both dark and bright days. It is indeed a journey that either you will bring something positive or negative out of. So what are these challenges that couples face in a lifetime of marriages?
1. The children
3. Shared households
4. Legal contracts
5. Religious imperatives.
THE GEMS IN A RELATIONSHIP
1. POSITIVITY. We all undergo through ups and downs. There’s laundry days, sick days, sleepless nights, and financial challenges but it is the power of positivity that will direct us to our dreams and goals and preserves good relationships.
2. SACRIFICES. Love is all about giving. In giving means sharing your time, material resources, services, love and affection without expecting for anything in return. Sacrifice means to prioritize your loved ones over you for some time.
3. COMPROMISE. The ability to talk, communicate and meet halfway is the key. Yes, it takes two to tango, love is a two way street. The ability to compromise your situation, your wants, your beliefs, and habits for the good and understanding of your relationships is very important.
4. SPONTANEITY. The universe loves spontaneity. Nature is spontaneous. Happiness is in the ability to be spontaneous in all terms. The ability to combine and balance between spontaneity and careful planning is the most beautiful thing that we could let our lives to be.
5. APPRECIATION. Everybody has the basic need to be appreciated. Our self-worth is enhanced and we grow more when we are well appreciated. The power of praise and appreciation goes a long way. It motivates and encourages the spirit. The relationship has more chances to grow because it focuses on the positive and thus more growth in the relationship.
6. EXPRESS AND SHOW. Love is not a noun. It is a verb. We need to show our love and expression, express it because it contributes to the growth of every relationship. We have what we call the ‘love bank’. We need to keep depositing on our loved ones’ love bank.
7. PRAY.PRAY.PRAY. Prayers keep our spirit and soul in tuned with the order of the universe and the cosmos. It works wonders and brings peace of mind and direction.
I would like to think of a relationship and marriage as climbing up a mountain. Before you set out for a climb you prepare for it. You prepare physically, emotionally, and mentally. You may go through challenges of extreme heat exposure or extreme cold, steep trails, easy and comfortable trails, thin airs, or mushy terrains. You may be caught in the rain and really get tired but there is always one thing that will stick to your mind above all, that everything will be worth it. That the view and experience is worth dying for, everything will now matter to you because overall your happiness is not a destination but the journey itself. Love therefore is a commitment to stay together in that challenging yet beautiful journey.