Ask 100 people to define love and each will have a different take on the meaning. To me, love is accepting and respecting the other for who they are. Be it your parents, your siblings, your spouse, or your friends — love is respect for and acceptance of you.
Leave out your parents, siblings and friends. The love you have for them and what they have for you is not expected to include sparks and butterflies. Whereas, it is quite common to look for ‘magic’ (for lack of a better term) in a relationship with your significant other. The romance, the tingling feeling in your gut when she looks at you, the way he makes you smile even in his absence; I can go on about this type of love. But does it last? Everyone who is or has been in a relationship already knows that it does not for long. If you are (or were) in a meaningful relationship, this phase of love dissipates and another phase begins: one of commitment. This is when you get to know the person for who he/she really is. This is when you realize the character compatibility.
Even after passing through the initial stages of infatuation, many relationships fail due to lack of compatibility. But is anyone to blame for a failed relationship? Unless infidelity or unfaithfulness is involved, who is at fault for ending a relationship due to lack of similarity, understanding, or the feeling of ‘just does not feel right’? True, feelings are at stake, and you are expected to be considerate of the other person with whom you spent time together. But would you rather lie to yourself and your partner to spare his/her feelings, or call it quits and deal with the temporary bitterness?
I agree we are supposed to work on our relationships before tossing them aside. Work the indifferences, compromise, trust, and respect each other. But even after all that if the relationship does not seem to work out, why settle for something that makes you unhappy? It will be a different scenario altogether, and a more complicated one, when it comes to working out a marriage. Maybe, if you work out your relationships before marriage, it will not end badly. This, of course, is a large assumption of one’s character. I have never been married so I cannot say for certain what happens behind the scenes in a marriage.
However, there is another side to consider. Is it possible that we fall in love, get to know the person well, and commit to him/her to later fall out of love? Could the reason for unhappy, non-committal relationships be our own insatiability, and not the character of the other? We are raised in a dynamic world, where nothing stays permanent. So, is it unnatural for our feelings to change too? Something to think about.
That said, I am hopeful that despite the impermanence in our lives, we will find a type of love that stays stable over time. Until then…
Keep an open mind. Accept everything with a grain of salt, even this post 🙂