BOY meets girl, girl wows boy. Boy instantly falls in love, because of this rare specimen of beauty girl embodies. Girl takes her sweet time getting to love. Boy persists. Girl falls in love. Cue the beginning of a relationship. Then, problems arise. Oh gosh darn it; someone has fallen out of love. Now the other must do everything humanly possible to make sure this love is rekindled.
This is essentially, role reversal aside, the script for most of the romantic comedies or chick flicks out there. There’s this idea that love is supposed to be the all-encompassing emotion. It is only an insanely strong emotion that makes you do crazy things. Thanks to this portrayal, we all follow this idea of wanting to be overwhelmed by the love we feel. We must feel sparks, and chemistry, and smell some pheromones otherwise it can’t possibly be love.
I cannot deny that it is a lovely fantasy. It makes you feel warm and cushy on the inside. Yet, when we fall prey to this idea, we seem to think love is only governed by these emotions and feelings. Forgetting that sometimes the sparks, chemistry, physics and maths we feel is not always indicative of love at all.
I had a friend, Candy, (her real name. No, she’s not a stripper) who was talking to a very good-looking guy. They had been friends for a while and he wanted to blur the lines of their friendship, so to speak. A part of her wanted to, and another part thought he was too much of a player. He was very charming, so when she told me stories about the cute things he would do for her, I would swoon at the idea of them being together.
I thought she should go ahead and see what a relationship with him would be like. He was, apparently, a smooth, manly man, in control of his life and company. Plus, their flirting game was strong. And he always said the right thing. I couldn’t think of a reason not to try it out. She said the chemistry was explosive and I thought that should seal the deal. Clearly, I was focused on the more important things in life.
Persistent as this man was, they eventually ended up in a relationship. Candy fell off the face of the earth for a while and when she resurfaced she had a tome of stories to share. Much to my dismay, not a single one of these stories was what I had expected. She mentioned how she just didn’t feel it anymore. The chemistry was gone. She wasn’t sure she was attracted to him. It was very likely they didn’t connect on as emotional a level as she thought. Essentially, Candy didn’t believe she loved this man or that he loved her.
It was much easier when they were friends and there were no expectations held towards each other. Once they entered a relationship, all this changed. It was too much work to maintain. The first few signs of conflict and they called it quits.
Pondering how they ended up single, based on Candy’s stories, I realized where both her and I had gone wrong. We had romanticized the idea of this guy and their potential relationship. We were so focused on the emotions and sparks between them, that we completely overlooked everything else. We didn’t give a chance for the logical part of love to play out.
Of course, not every situation like that ends up similarly. Yet, the romanticizing of love is aplenty. We would rather ascribe to an overwhelming emotion than we would to a decision to work towards love. Like a person looking to scripture to back their wrongdoing, we tend to be selective with our idea of love.
We enjoy the “love is patient, love is kind, it is not easily angered” bit. But we rarely remember the “it does not dishonour others, it keeps no record of wrongdoing” bit. Can you imagine? When a women can tell you the exact second you said something that upset her five months ago, what you were wearing, where you were standing and what lighting you were in. How are we supposed to keep no record of wrongdoing?
Valentines day gifts, trips out of town, fancy dinners, or chop bar fufu*. We are down with. Having to resolve conflict, admit to being wrong, or apologize? Oh come on, what manner of sorcery is that?
When the responsibility is turned on us in the description of love, we don’t want it. We don’t want the part that involves decisions and work. We just want to feel. When love is said to protect, trust, hope and persevere, that means the receiving party has to reciprocate the love. We have to make ourselves vulnerable in order to protect the other. We have to choose to trust, when it might be easier not to. We have to continue to hope. We have to work and persevere to maintain the love.
That isn’t any of the mushy gushy stuff at all! Love is part emotion, part decision. Emotions are fleeting; they come and go. We need to be ready for when the emotion fizzles. That’s when we let our decisions allow us to continue to persevere. Decisions are conscious; they persist. They are great complements to each other, and we should utilize them as such.
We can’t believe the Disney fairy tale and be terribly disappointed when love isn’t a walk in the park. I love the people I love, even when they are unreliable, and annoying, and I don’t want to see their faces, because it’s a choice I have made.
We shouldn’t be over reliant on the chemistry with someone else. It’s definitely an added bonus, but don’t be quick to decide there’s no love there simply because you don’t feel drowned by emotions. Let sparks fly if they must, just remember you will have to continue to feed those sparks to keep a fire burning. Work, work, work, work, work, work. (I can’t be the only person who sang it as I read it)
*fufu: pounded cassava
PS: Don’t keep! Share…& then subscribe, okay :-)? #ToHisGlory