Sunday, April 27, 2008

On Being In Love

Since I read “The Road Less Traveled” by M. Scott Peck more than a decade ago, it has become one of my favorites. Well, at least, the section about love. To him, love is more than just a feeling. It is a decision. And I truly believe it to be so. Of course, as Peck said, falling in love starts with a certain amount of attraction to the other person --- it can be physical, emotional or psychological. We get the feeling of sweaty palms, pounding heart and fluttering butterflies in the stomach when we see or come near him/her. We seem to be floating in air when we are with them; our hearts seems to be saying their names with their every beat; we hear symphonies playing in the air whenever we see a glimpse of their face or their hands or even their shadows.

But true love really starts when all these bone-melting, overwhelming sensation has passed. It is when we wake up in the morning and found the toothpaste squeezed in the middle or we have to wait a long time to use the toilet or bathroom. It is when after a very long tiring day, we still have to listen to the other’s whining and complaining to things we can do nothing about. It is when we see the other day-in day out without the heady tickling sensation anymore … and still, we choose to stay with that person.Because love is more than the feeling of “falling in love”. It is when we are way past seeing him/her through rose-colored glasses and we are brought back to reality (and sanity).It is when we choose and decide to spend the rest of our lives with this other person. Then “falling in love” becomes “love.”

Love requires effort to stay even when that heady sensation is gone. The feeling of being lost in his eyes or the giddy sensation when he holds you close will wax and wane, just like the moon. It is impossible to always have and keep that “head-over-heels” feeling in the same intensity. The sun is not always shining in our part of the world --- it rises in the morning and sets at night. The tide recedes and rises periodically. It is so easy to leave when we don’t feel that “loving” feeling anymore. But staying put, even when this is gone, requires work on our part because by this time, we see things for what they are. We are back from cloud nine and realize that life is not a bed of roses. And if we choose to stay put, to stay with this person, then it would require working out the relationship not based on some misty rainbow hued concept of who they are but on who they really are, warts and all.

Yes, I believe in soul mates and I think everyone has one. But even if we are soul mates, it doesn’t mean we are clones (and I think even clones might have the same genetic make-up but they don't think in exactly the same manner.) Besides, being with one’s clone, albeit of the opposite gender, is not loving another person. I think it is a sign of being an egoist --- because you only love yourself and so you choose your “mirror reflection”. In the same manner, I’m not saying that a couple should be completely of opposite character. I believe that for any relationship to work, you have to have some common ground. A couple cannot stay together if one heads north and the other heads south. There should be at least a common direction even if the manner by which we try to go towards it is not the same.

Everyone is unique and different. Even identical twins have some differences and can grow into two distinct persons, no matter how physically alike they are. Hence, living and being with our soul mates still requires a certain amount of compromise, of accepting each other’s differences and the willingness to go the extra mile to understand and be with each other even if the circumstances proved to be trying.

Love requires making a choice and a decision. Not only to choose to stay together through ups and downs but also to accept the things we cannot change in our partner. Of course, we should be able to help them become the best person they can be. And I mean HELP and NOT IMPOSE because certain changes should be made out of one’s realization, decision and conviction; that it has to be done to keep the relationship. However, there are certain aspects of our selves that we cannot change. It is romantic to say that “I can change him/her with my love” or “I will change for you because…” But there are just some “unchangeable” parts of us and we just have to accept that. If we “force” them to change just so they would fit our expectations or the other way around, I guess the relationship is just a sham. I believe a couple should be together not because each other’s image responds to their “requirements” but because they see their true colors and decide that they can grow together while letting and helping each other grow as individuals.

Love requires respect from each other about that “sacred and untouchable” part of our selves ---- the aspect, which by changing, is synonymous to betraying ourselves. We have to respect each other's personal space and privacy. We should be able to nourish not only each other’s need for emotional/psychological support but also the need to be our selves once in a while. I don’t think this is being distant or being selfish. I think this is important so that we can have time to “enrich” more our selves in order to bring something new, to have a new perspective, to offer something “extra” to the relationship. In this manner, the relationship and the “love” get a novel, fresh angle. It is the same and yet different.

Falling in love is easy. But staying “in love” and keeping the “love” is another story because it requires doing something for the other person. It is going out of our comfort zone to reach out, to open ourselves and to include others in our lives. It consists of continuously helping and giving the other person what they need to grow without imposing, without basing it on false assumptions or conceptions of who they are. It is not easy, but those who have found real love could attest that the rewards are great. It’s not only about having a loving partner for a lifetime but also of becoming the best person you can be. A strong beautiful tree could and would not exist without allowing the seed to take roots, be given the necessary requirements and care, and all those extra little gestes while it is growing. The same it is with a person. So it is with a relationship. So it is with love.

(This entry is inspired by various texts I've read about "love" and "falling in love", particularly that of M. Scott Peck's "The Road Less Traveled" and words of wisdom imparted by my philosophy and theology teachers.)


From the Eyes of my Heart said...

well said Lareine =)

I especially liked what you said about accepting the things we cannot change in our partner...

Butch has been obsessed with biking lately. He does it even on weekends when he is suppose to be spending time with me.

I guess its something I can no longer change in him. he'll just be sad if I stop him. as a solution I asked him to buy me one so we can go biking together! am trying to learn. hope my plan will work.

Janel said...

Oh, this is a wonderful post about love and commitment in our relationships. It is a choice.

Davidlind said...

I enjoyed this post and have been reading your blog. I have something for you to read also and hope you will read it and get back to me.

lareine said...

to from the eyes of my heart: well, we are in the same boat:)... my husband also likes cycling... so i'll be learning, too, so we can do it together...

during the early stages of our relationship, we usually annoy each other when we were out for a short hike--- we don't walk with the same pace... so after several bickering, we decided just to do it on our own rhythm, and one just wait when the other is left too far behind... result: we enjoyed those walks better:)... we just have to accept/compromise some things if we want to make the relationship work:)

to janel: thank you for taking the time to read this... and yep, we don't choose the one we fall in love with but we CHOOSE to stay in love with him/her...

to davidlind: i really value the fact that you take time to visit and read my entries (they can be quite long sometimes)... it's very encouraging, to say the least, that my posts are appreciated... thank you very much... your comment really made my day...

i'll get back to you regarding your entry on "quality"...i've already read it but i wasn't able to post a comment... but i will... and thank you for the "invitation" in your "quality" post:)

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