Tuesday, February 6, 2018

To be loved or to love

Every day we see another couple parting ways, another casualty of love. Two people now divided, both wandering lost, confused and alone. Two broken hearts seeking solace because of a dream shattered by foolishness, a couple fated to fail from the beginning. And yet this could have all been avoided.

Many of us fall prey to the impulse to seek self-serving love. But this motive often becomes the downfall of many romantic unions. We enter into relationships having only ourselves in mind.  The need to feel wanted, needed, appreciated and cared for becomes our reason for seeking romantic intimacy. 

But a romantic union is much more than the sum of two people. Once joined, they are transformed into a whole that surpasses their individualities. We enter into relationships desiring to be loved. But this is a self-centered objective. And it defeats the purpose of the relationship, because this union should be about sharing, giving and caring. 

For as long as we are driven by this need, we will never realize the fullness of a relationship. Rather, we should seek a romantic union because of the desire to love, and not just to be loved.

Those of us whose hearts have been broken may benefit from reflecting on our past relationships whether we sought romantic intimacy out of the need to be loved, because this may be the reason why these past relationships failed. Instead, when we do enter into a new relationship, we should seek to give rather than to receive. Only when we feel that we can love another person selflessly can we say that we are ready to enter into a new relationship. Only then can we truly claim that we are ready to love once more.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Courtship: Why Hurry?

All romantic involvements begin with communication.  But romantic communication through the widespread use of mobile gadgets has somehow greatly diminished and diluted the courtship stage. Nowadays, many couples hastily enter into relationships simply on the basis of texts and online messaging. 

However, the problem with a hastily-entered relationship is that the couple’s familiarity with each other tends to be rather shallow. The romantic process requires a period where the would-be couple is allowed the opportunity to get to know one another. And this is where courtship plays a role. Sadly, hastily-entered relationships reveal the couple’s foolishness soon enough. This occurs when the couple begins to discover things about each other that they are unable to tolerate. 

When you start to realize that your partner possesses undesirable attributes, sometimes changes in the behavior of the other are quickly demanded.   But, you should not enter into a romantic involvement with a desire to change the other person. A relationship that begins this way is doomed from the beginning.

When you can no longer tolerate the behavior of your partner, you might say, ‘if you love me, you will change for me.’ And you may even believe that you have a point there. But the reality of it is, no one has the right to make such demands. Because the other person can simply respond by saying, ‘ if you love me you will accept me.’
That is why a lengthy courtship is encouraged, so that the would-be couple can deepen their understanding of each other and be given a chance to adjust to their possible differences. If during the courtship period one of them realizes that their differences are far too great and efforts toward mutual adjustment are unsatisfactory, then that’s when they part ways.  And the courtship ends with no regrets.

Even in today’s world, courtship should not lose its relevance. In fact, it remains an important means of discovering whether a future couple will be happy or miserable in the end.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

When Couples Fight

Arguments happen. They occur naturally in the course of any human relationship. The varied differences between people and their opinions make disagreements inevitable. But when the verbal exchange crosses a certain threshold, things start to change. This is especially true when hurtful words are used. When this happens, the relationship begins to sour sometimes irreversibly.

This is true for any kind of relationship, be it between family and friends. And this negative effect is even more visible in the case of romantic involvements. It happens because respect for one another is decreased when painful words are traded. And when the arguments between a couple grow in frequency and intensity, there is hardly any understanding left. Further respect is lost until virtually none remains. Whatever love that used to exist is gradually replaced by contempt. It may even reach a point where physical pain is inflicted by one on the other. This is because we tend to hurt the people we hate.

And when a couple comes to blows, yet another threshold is breached. The partner who starts using violence on the other will undergo an unexpected transformation. The violent partner will abhor the victim even more.  This is because we tend to hate the people we hurt. Instead of feeling guilt for having harmed another human being, we come to rationalize the pain we inflict. We start believing that the person deserves it. 

This is the vicious downward spiral of anger, hatred and violence that leads to even more hatred. It is for this reason that couples who fight keep on fighting. It has become the routine. Unless the cycle is broken, the fights between a couple will get worse. To break this cycle, respect between them must be restored. Couples experiencing this problem may find it necessary to just give each other space to reflect on what was good and beautiful about the relationship.  Sometimes spending time apart will provide the couple the chance to appreciate each other’s presence. Allowing each other some time and space alone may even help them recall the reasons why they first fell in love.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Complete Love

Not all romantic relationships can be considered to possess complete love. It was Yale University psychology professor Robert Sternberg whose famous Triangular Theory expounded upon the three integral components of love.

First of all, a couple must exhibit (1) Intimacy, which is described as the closeness and openness between them. This is exemplified in best friends who have no reluctance to share their concerns, weaknesses and dreams. They accept each other without judgment. Communication is the necessary key to intimacy.

The second component is (2) Passion. This is the physical attraction between the couple. It is the desire for physical closeness exhibited through hand-holding, embracing, kissing that should eventually lead to sexual congress. This attraction is necessary because it magnifies the bond between the couple.

The third essential component is (3) Commitment. This is the decision of the couple to stay faithful to each other. It is the continuing choice to remain loyal exclusively with the view of maintaining the relationship.

It is necessary that couples examine their relationships whether or not they possess Intimacy, Passion and Commitment. Absent any of these, the couple cannot claim to have Complete Love. And an incomplete love is almost surely expected to fail. Couples are therefore encouraged to nurture all three components in order that the relationship remain healthy and lasting.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Beyond Winning

In any organization, be it a company or a school, various types of competitions showcasing intellectual, physical or artistic skill are initiated for the benefit of its members.

These events are encouraged because they animate the institution promoting them, and they add to its organizational culture. They become part of the tradition that makes a particular organization unique. Competitions are healthy because they motivate us to do our very best, whatever the prize may be. Even in the absence of material reward, mere recognition of our skills and talents is enough to build up our self esteem. 

Yet joining competitions for the sole purpose of winning can become an unhealthy goal. The desire for success may transform into an obsession that can lead us down an unethical path. And failure to win may inevitably cause  frustration and severe despondence. Winning should not define the struggle. Rather, it is the struggle that tells us whether or not we truly deserve to win.

In any contest, there will be those who win and those who do not. What matters most is how each competitor deals with victory and defeat. Whatever the outcome, competitions should build character. They should instill fairness and honesty in the contestants. At the end of each competition, what will be remembered is not who won, but how the game was played and the manner by which different teams dealt with one another before, during and after the contest. 

Each competition mirrors the contest of life itself. It is the struggle that matters, the happiness achieved and what we did in order to succeed.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

The Right to be Jealous

Falling in love comes with it certain unexpected outcomes which we sometimes fail to take into account. One of them is jealousy. This feeling hits us suddenly and without warning. It usually happens when the romantic interaction has reached a point where we have become used to the attention and affection of another individual. The constant communication, the concern, the warmth and the sweetness shown to us have somehow made us feel a degree of attachment to the person.

But for as long as there is no real commitment, jealousy has no rightful place. This is true especially during the courtship stage. Let us consider a situation where a girl is unsure whether to enter into a relationship with her suitor. She hesitates to commit yet when she sees her suitor with someone else, it tears her apart. This jealousy is misplaced. 

The experience of jealousy is a definite sign that we have already fallen in love with a person. And if we are not ready for this feeling, jealousy can often be distracting, if not maddening.

Jealousy happens. It exists and is a normal part of the romantic process. But to allow ourselves to be consumed by it often leads to conflict and misery.

The only way to inoculate ourselves from this potentially unpleasant experience is to realize that the only reason we become jealous is because we are afraid that people will leave us. And this fear comes from not being secure in ourselves and in our relationships with others. If we can overcome our insecurities then we will no longer have any reason to feel jealous.