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Reflections upon having found “The One”

I had so many good thoughts in my head before, when I didn’t have a chance to write this, and then after that I had been lacking motivation for a few days (or maybe weeks), and now I have motivation but have lost some of the thoughts.  I am hoping that while writing, it will come to me.

For my second disclaimer, I had originally started this blog with the intention of not including anything personal, but now I am going to.  I got engaged a little over a month ago, and actually chose to be “with” him not too long before that, as (long story, but…) we had been friends for a long time and I knew he wanted to marry me so me choosing to be with him was me agreeing to marry him.  We had basically been dating for a while but I was in denial.

So…my world kinda turned upside down.  Not in a bad way at all whatsoever, but I have a ton of ambition; I had a plan for my life.  And including someone in your future has an effect on that, so I want to share my interpretation of what it is to fall in love with someone and want to share forever with them.  I am not sure if my experience is a universal thing, but I feel that it needs sharing.

I wasn’t the kind of girl that thought I didn’t need men, like in the “ever” sense.  I didn’t NEED men; I am perfectly strong, capable, intelligent, and motivated by myself.  I could have been single and had an awesome life.  I am a hopeless romantic though, and I most definitely wanted my own Prince Charming.  It could have worked fine either way.  Preferred the Prince Charming of course, but I would have survived just fine until I found him.  I wasn’t ever picky, but I didn’t want to just settle for anyone.  I believe marriage is forever and you do what it takes to make it forever, so I was going to be as sure as someone could possibly be.  However, there were these things that I felt were SO important to who I was, that I would NOT give them up for ANY man, and I would not marry a man that would force me to give them up.  My list had things like living in California (I have not made it there yet, still working on it), having a good job, traveling, and as far as relationships go, would NOT be in long distance relationship.

My Prince Charming, as I mentioned before, was my friend for several years first.  He wanted to marry me when he met me (love at first sight is true, eh?), but I took a long time.  So it wasn’t this meeting and evaluating to see if he could be the man for me.  I mean it sorta was, since I knew he wanted to marry me (not from the beginning though), but I thought it wouldn’t work out all along.  So I never thought about how our future would look, because I didn’t think we had a future.  We became closer and closer friends though, and he joined the Navy and left for bootcamp and training, at which point I realized that I really couldn’t live without him.  So the “official” relationship started while he was gone, and he’s still gone, so the entire thing has been nothing but long distance.  Something I swore I would never do, but as I can’t imagine life without him, it is what I am doing.

Other things that have changed are that, since he is in the Navy, I basically have zero control over my future.  I hate not being in control.  I have always needed to be in control.  He wants to live in California, and he is trying to get us down there, but he can’t guarantee it.  We could end up somewhere else.  I also had applied for my dream job that I have wanted for most of my life, and got rejected, which I found out at some point either right before we “officially” got together or soon after.  Despite wanting it most of my life, I am perfectly fine with not getting it, because it would be somewhat impractical for being married and especially with him in the Navy.  I am perfectly content following him and supporting him, and then working my life around where his takes us.  It helps that him being in the Navy actually helps me live out my dream, while not the exact job, similar enough that I can live vicariously through him and be proud of him and support him.

This has all sounded so unromantic so far.  What I’m trying to say, is that I had A Plan for my life, that I was sure was what I wanted, and no man could take that from me, because it was what I Wanted.  But finding someone that I LOVE, that he alone makes me happy, all I need is him.  I can drop everything that I had spent years of my life dreaming about, and saying I would never sacrifice, because the only important thing to me is to be with him.  We did have a discussion about me not being able to sacrifice EVERYTHING for him, there is a limit…not to my love, of course, but some of our life does have to be for me.  But it is amazing to me that things I was 100% set on I was able to drop with minimal resistance, and no regret.

I don’t know what I am trying to say.  I know that you, the readers, will interpret this all sorts of ways, but I am not the type of girl to say that the wife should always follow her man, and his dreams are the most important.  They are for me though.  That is what I want.  But that is not what I thought I wanted.  I am also not saying that you should be willing to sacrifice your dreams for someone.  I think, that if you really love someone, you should be able to, but they also shouldn’t require it of you, and he is definitely not requiring it of me.  No matter what, he wants me to be happy.  He will do everything in his power to make me happy.  So I’m not saying my story is or should be the exact same for everyone, but I am trying to say hey, look what happened in my story.  Love is amazing.

Maybe what I am trying to say is that before I knew TRUE love, I thought I had it all figured out, and I thought I had my life planned out, and I thought that I would refuse to change that.  And then I found Love, and nothing mattered.  I believe I have loved before, but it has never been like this.  The most important thing to each of us is the other person’s happiness.  And I think that is part of how you know that it’s true love.  I’m just a beginner at this, of course.  But it has been so powerful and surprising to me, that I wanted to share my beginner’s view on things.  Love can turn your world upside down.

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Male, late 20s, single

What does romantic love mean to you? (define it)

Romantic love is a term for the bond one person has with another whom they see as a potential mate or who is their mate (and I mean that in a very non-Australian way). Physical attraction plays a role in romantic love, but is not the whole thing. People also attach lots of ideas and expectations to romantic love and how it should play out, and this helps it to be even messier than it already on its own. But it feels sooo good…

What is the difference between platonic love and romantic love?

I think platonic means that it’s not tied to physical or sexual attraction, but is based on spiritual things, or at least abstractions.

Why do you (or we, if you don’t) seek love?

Like Mumford and Sons said in “Sigh No More,” I was just designed that way.

There is a design, an alignment, a cry/ of my heart to see/ the beauty of love/ as it was made to be

Is there one perfect person out there for you, or can you, through selfless loving, have a great relationship with someone very special?

If this question is about soul mates, then, no, I don’t think that there is one perfect person for me out there whom I need to somehow locate. Partly I want to say that because I already met a girl who would’ve been a great match with me, and she’s married and living in a different state… Really, though, I’m not sure where this idea of trying to find “the one” came from, because it didn’t exist for most of history, from what I can tell. People couldn’t browse the internet for hundreds of matches, so they just found someone (or someone was found for them) who was available and got together if it made sense and was feasible. I’m not saying romantic love didn’t exist, but I do think we’ve romanticized it, if that makes sense. We have so many options, and we’re told that we have a right to make ourselves happy, so we run around searching for ideal situations that we’ve imagined in our own heads.

Anyway, I think that, realistically, there are a lot of awesome ladies out there with whom I could get together and have a great relationship. The human potential to grow, learn, and adapt makes for a plethora of possibilities, and even some of the people you disregard now might be obviously solid options down the road. Whether or not it actually lasts is another thing, but again I see that as less a matter of compatibility than it is a function of both parties’ willingness to make it work (and by “make it work” I mean thriving in that relationship, not suffering through it). I’m also not saying we should aim low or “settle” for someone, but I do think there’s this idea that love will bring perfection, or near-perfection, in a world that presents not perfection but difficulties, misunderstandings, and broken people. So I think it’s mostly erroneous to look for someone who suddenly completes you, but it seems like that’s what a lot of people are at least subconsciously doing.

Should, and do, men pursue women that they are interested in?  Should women pursue?

I suppose, but I’m not clear on what exactly constitutes pursuit. I don’t think women should be completely passive about relationships, but in my experience it’s pretty uncomfortable when they’re aggressive. I guess I would look less at specific actions and more at a woman’s manner of approaching situations and guys.

If you are in a relationship (especially if you are married), how did you know that was the person for you?  If not, have you ever been in love, and how did you know?

Thoughts: 1) Christ followers are commanded to love everyone. Even if I don’t do it nearly as well as I should, there are lots of people whom I love. This complicates things because 2) we also use “love” as a stronger form of “like.” You date someone and like them, but at some point it gets strong enough that you say it’s love. I don’t know, but I suppose that it’s usually the point at which you’re willing to make some kind of commitment, because as soon as you say you “love” the other person, they start assuming and expecting all sorts of things that didn’t arise from you simply “liking” them. 3) On top of this, sometimes all this liking and loving can be directed toward an idea rather than the actual person; an idealized version of that person, the idea of having a boyfriend/girlfriend, the idea of your potential future with that person, etc. Have I ever been in love? Sure, but only if you take a soft definition of being in love. How did I know? I didn’t.

 How do you stay in love, or make it last?

The thing about love is, it’s complicated. It is a feeling, but it’s also a choice. And the choices you make can affect the feeling, as well as affecting how the other person feels and behaves, which comes back and affects you. So, to an extent, I think it depends on how both parties continue to willfully interact with each other. But it’s more complex than that. Basically, I don’t know how to answer the question.

What do you love best about the opposite sex, and what do you dislike the most about them?

The answer to both of these questions is the same: girls are weird.

What advice would you give?  Love related, but anything at all to anyone at all.

Be aware of your past and how it affects you; don’t let fear direct you; evaluate your reasons–selfishness will not work; seek the good; be honest; think about how your words affect others; do the opposite of anything you see on Arrested Development; if you’re a Christian, think of your relationship(s) in the context of your relationship with God, and realize that only he can totally fulfill you; learn to forgive; be open to the possibility that you might be, at any given moment, taking yourself way too seriously.

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Soulmates

When I was young, I thought love was simple.  Blame it on the Disney movies…I just figured there’s a beautiful princess and a handsome prince and they fall in love and get married.  I even wrote a book about such a thing when I was little.  I mean seriously, why would there be more than one princess?  And why would there be more than one prince?  And of course no one cares about all the other people in the stories, like the servants and friends and whoever else was in there.  Love was never the problem, the problem was always how they could meet each other, or which castle they wanted to live in.  Love was obvious.

Naturally, as time progressed, I discovered this was not the case.  There are, as it turns out, more people to the story than one princess and one prince.  I did still believe everyone had a soulmate for a very long time (I am still processing this one), and it was just a matter of finding them.  I’m a hopeless romantic.  But even this became more challenging as time went on.  The huge number of divorces is one thing that challenged my concept of a soulmate.  How do you explain that?  I thought maybe people married too soon without really figuring out enough about the person and realizing it wasn’t their soulmate.

But as life goes on, love becomes more and more complex.  I recently read an article that stated that we never marry the perfect person, since no one is perfect.  It basically said that we don’t have a soulmate, we marry someone for whatever reasons but not because they are perfect for us, because no one is.  Problems will occur, and we need to just know how to deal with them in a selfless way, to keep the marriage, and not try to bail just because the person isn’t what we thought our perfect mate would be.

We had a speaker today at home community on the topic of love and respect in marriage and dating relationships.  Part of what she discussed was fighting for the marriage (when you are married, of course) and how you do this.  One person had a general question but in the context of a specific experience; basically, in a dating relationship, how you know how much to keep fighting to stay together and when you give up and say you’re not meant to be together.  And her point was that in her relationship, they fought all the time but they LOVED each other, so were they right to give up, or should they have stayed together and figured out how to work out their differences?  That really got me…the L word always does…How DO we know that?  And if you Love someone, how could you not be right for each other?

I still insist that people should not settle.  If you liked someone a lot, you should probably not decide to marry someone you like less than them.  I am sure there is always someone equivalent or better.  Settling is depressing.  But…do we have soulmates?  Is there one person that is the one for us, or do we find someone that is pretty darn fantastic, and make it work with them, but maybe if we would have taken a different path we would have met a different fantastic person?

I don’t generally believe in divorce (there are exceptions).  This challenges my idea of soulmates vs. not.  If there are not soulmates, and you marry someone that is fantastic and you can work stuff out with, and then later down the line, you meet someone else and you think that is the person you want to be with…then what?  I do not know what this would actually be like, I have seen it in the movies.  But if we don’t have soulmates, this concept is very difficult for my hopeless romantic view of the world to comprehend.

We watched a movie recently called TiMER, about people getting timers implanted in their wrists that count down to when they will meet their soulmate.  When they see each other for the first time, both of their timers go off.  In order to not spoil the movie, I will try to be vague…there are couples that seem perfect for each other, or where one party is convinced they love the other, who is unsure…and then near the end their timers finally go off for different people. I thought that the timers had to be wrong, and that they were really meant to be with the people they were with, but it turns out the timers are always right.  I was very upset at first, because people shouldn’t fall in love with someone if that’s not their soulmate, right?  But then I realized that that’s what actually happens in real life.  One person may love someone but that person doesn’t love them back.  Or you love each other but it’s not right and you don’t end up together.

It doesn’t make sense to my innocent, fairy-tale mind.  Love should be simple.  Love should be easy.  Love should be black and white.  Two people love each other and they are meant to be together.  None of this heartache garbage.

Obviously, now I know it’s not that simple.  There’s a lot of heartache.  But it just keeps getting more and more complicated the more I learn and the more I experience.  And if we don’t have soulmates, that makes things even more difficult.  So, while I acknowledge the fact that Love hurts and Love is complicated, I am still unconvinced that there are no soulmates.  I’m not quite ready to give that up yet.

As you can see, this is yet unresolved.  Thoughts/opinions are quite welcome 🙂