The right way of loving
Archie Modequillo (The Freeman) - February 12, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — The common concept of love is very much influenced by the movies, television, and romance novels. Everybody goes crazy over physical beauty and poetic passion: the attraction, the pursuit, the conquest. This is about all they think that love is.

But that is not true love, merely romance. Love and romance are easily mistaken for each other, because both create feelings of ecstasy and deep affection. Nevertheless, the two are not the same.

The feeling that lingers on long after the physical embrace – a feeling that goes beyond physical and sensual pleasure – is more important. The kiss and the embrace eventually amount to mere surface manifestation of a deeper emotion: a feeling of profound connection that flourishes after the release of carnal energies. That’s love.

In a way, romance is only the steam that comes out of the emotion of love. The fervent feeling deep inside causes the effervescent experience. This is an illusory phase that eventually fizzles out; true love lingers on and flourishes after that.

It is important to identify between physical attraction and deep affection. Of course, physical attraction is a crucial part of romance, which in turn is a significant component of love. But physical attraction, of and by itself, is not necessarily love.

 

Physical attraction can even become idolatry. In which case the resulting relationship will be one of idol and fan. It will set the parties apart rather than bring them closer together, since a dividing gap is necessary in such kind of relationship.

The parties in that feeble relationship often go to the extent of creating artificial exteriors just to sustain the attraction. There’s a vicious cycle of faked displays and misled admirations. Sincere acceptance is difficult to develop, because in the first place the lovers won’t even know the truth about each other.

A love relationship can only prosper when the parties in it learn to accept the truth about each other. The emotional bond between two people in love will only be strengthened by their mutual knowledge and acceptance of the truth about each other as individuals. 

Acceptance of and by each other promotes feelings of self-worth and self-fulfilment in both individuals. Then they will discover how to live better together. They will come to know what really matters in the relationship – not to demand perfection in each other, but to cultivate a culture of happiness together.

From acceptance also comes growth and maturity, the foundation of emotional security. Mature-minded lovers understand that no healthy relationship is possible without sometimes disappointing each other, no matter how much in love they may be. It is unfair to expect the other person to be perfect more than one can be expected to be perfect himself or herself.

It is not true that love, true love, costs nothing. In any relationship, each one has to give up something for the other, and that includes the limits of one’s tolerance. Yet even in the worst times true love is patient in waiting for the relationship to glow again. It is like the germ of life that remains in the trees in the dry season; the spectre of death on the dry tree barks disappears quickly at the first spray of rain. 

It is also important to understand that the emotion of love itself will not stop the course of nature in people. A job-stressed man would likely prefer a time alone for a while more than he would want an intimate conversation with his woman. Conversely, a woman who’s tired from housework or undergoing some physiological cycle can seem rough and sullen even towards the man she loves.

Some say that romance must be nurtured to keep the love alive, especially in married couples. It may be the other way around. If the period of courtship and engagement was used in thoroughly knowing and understanding each other, no married couple need to expend effort to keep their romance burning; their true love for each other will itself naturally sustain the romance in their relationship.

A happy relationship does not rest on one person alone, not on one partner or the other alone. It is a collaborative undertaking. It’s like dancing, the grace does not come from the way the dancers individually struggle to perfect their moves but in how beautifully they move together.

When two hearts beat as one, there will no longer be counting of individual contributions to the relationship; no more issues of one loving too much or the other loving too little. The very act of loving is self-gratifying; one automatically receives happiness in equal proportion to the degree of loving one gives the other.

Even the purest love is not a guarantee for loving right. Yet, overall, it is enough to love fully, asking nothing in return. When one begs for love, what he or she will get may not be true love but mere sympathy on the part of the giver.

LOVE
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