I used to be such a starry-eyed believer of love. I thought that love conquered all – and that as long as you shared that feeling with someone, it meant that the relationship would last, In the theory of fairytales and movies, this may be the case, but in North American reality – not quite. Instead, love is only one of the many ingredients needed for a long-lasting partnership. But the concerning issue is – people put so much weight on the feeling of love, a feeling that inevitably changes, takes different forms and can get blinded easily.
A partnership is not just about the emotions and feelings of love. A partnership is about commitment, and being responsible to that commitment regardless of what the external variables of the time are. It’s about the commitment to choosing decisions that will serve the relationship even when it would “feel” better to not. Married or not married, when you decide to enter into a partnership with another, commitment means you act with integrity, respect and care –even when your emotions are telling you otherwise.
Because love isn’t enough. Let me clarify, love, in the way most of us define it, isn’t enough. Love isn’t what makes you decide to not act out your desires when someone attractive starts showing you attention (and you haven’t had sex in months). Love is not what makes you apologize and give your partner a hug after an argument (even though inside you know you’re 100% right). Love is not what makes you weather the storm when disaster strikes (which it will). Love is not what makes you decide to treat each other with kindness, respect and empathy during a breakup or divorce (you’d be surprised how quickly love can feel like hate at that time). No, it’s not love. It’s commitment. It’s the responsibility to keeping your commitment. Not just to the other person, but to yourself.
Love, and that giddy feeling in your stomach may be what guides you when you’re feeling great about the apple of your eye. But what steers you when you’re going through an ebb, or a rough patch? Can you depend on love at that point?
Love isn’t rational. It can’t be controlled. If you allow a feeling that is so emotional and malleable dictate your behaviour, you’ll realise quickly that it only pans out when things are up, not when they’re down. Commitment on the other hand, will guide you through both. Commitment is not dependant on the heartstrings, it’s dependant on a conscious choice you make – and that, is something you have complete control over.
Photo credit: Tenoji Hei