Do you love watching movies based on a love story? Or perhaps you are a big fan of love songs? Like most teenage girls, I loved reading romance-mystery type novels. It just held some sort of magic for me. I'm not into fiction anymore as far as books are concerned but I know adult women who still love romance novels. There's something about romance that we as women find alluring. I used to find it fascinating too. No, I take that back. I still find the idea of a man and a woman falling in love very attractive, but when it comes to having a lasting relationship and a solid marriage, is love all that matters?
Many young ladies dream about the day they will meet their prince charming who will charm them off their feet and marry them so they live happily ever after. Cartoons have done a wonderful job of programming little girls' brains this way for years. When a little girl grows up, 'falls' in love, get married and then find out her prince charming isn't always so charming, she's confused.She thinks, "I definitely made a mistake. He's not the one". By now, the tingly effect prince charming had over her isn't there anymore.
So now she's on the look out for the 'real' prince charming. She tells herself she only made a mistake the first time. The problem with this pattern is that the lady will most likely repeat that pattern until she understands that the tingly love that she first experiences with a man isn't going to keep her happy for the rest of her life. It never does.
Romantic love is important in a marriage but it isn't enough to sustain it.
People who have been happily married for over 30years hardly attribute their success to romantic love. You'd hear them use words like 'patience','understanding', 'honesty', 'selflessness' and the likes. I have read such interviews, and also heard from people I know personally, who have had a great marriage for so long. They mention all these virtues that are needed for a successful marriage but hardly use the word L-O-V-E. So if people in successful marriages don't always attribute their success to love, what's love got to do with it? It's simple…or maybe it's not. Love does have something to do with it, but not the tingly and spontaneous kind of love that most relationships start of with. It's the love that matures over time. It's the one that is cultivated.
Just like a farmer, we must learn to cultivate and nurture love. If a farmer buys seed of the best quality and plants it, he knows he has to water it and remove the weeds if any good is to come out of that seed. He also knows that when he first plants it, that seed will die before it germinates. Yes, I said D-I-E. If you ever meet a couple who have being married for a considerable length of time and had never had a single disagreement or fight, they are not in a marriage. They are simply acting the part.
The farmer knows that the seed has to die to bring forth new fruit. Tingly love is mostly about what makes us feel good. There must be a 'dying' at some point, where we would begin to do things not because it makes us feel good but because it benefits the person we claim to love. Our love must grow from just a feel-good feeling to a do-good action or series of actions.
Mature love that sustains a relationship is a committed kind of love. It's the love that says, "I choose to love you whether or not I feel like it". This kind of love isn't experienced in a marriage simply because we want it to be there.Just like the farmer's seed won't grow just because he wants it to. No, we only have it because we work at it. Like the farmer takes the pain to understand when and how he needs to water his crops, nurture it, keep the pests and weeds away, so also we must learn to nurture and cultivate our love.
We must learn to keep the pests of bad influence and weeds of unfair and unrealistic expectations out of our marriage.
You may wonder, since marriage sounds like such hard work, is there any reward? You bet there is! Like the farmer who reaps an abundant harvest with several millions of seeds, we too reap an harvest of more love. That's what makes marriage really fun. Two people who inspire each other to love more.
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