Sometimes I am not sure of who to blame for the unrealistic expectations we burden on that word love.
You just grow up ‘knowing’ that true love is perfect. It is supposed to fix everything. It will strengthen weak people and somehow they are magically able to overcome every flaw they have. Love is supposed to make a lover love perfectly.
One of the biggest reason marriage can seem so difficult is the unrealistic expectation we place on each other because we think love demands it. Then we marry and find ourselves just as broken as we were trying to live with other broken people.
It is all so disappointing.
I hate telling people how to go about relationships. I am still trying to navigate through one. Learning and unlearning every single day.
If I could talk about something I wish I had heard more of in association to romantic relationships, it would be about discipline. Not just discipline though. That and conflict resolution.
The word discipline should be talked about even in the midst of talking about the importance of romance.
As a young and single person, the most important muscle to develop is discipline. The ability to stare at gratification and walking away from it because it does not fit into the plan. To say no to yourself, your natural inclinations so that you consent to something bigger and better in the future.
To know that you could easily charm the pants off the women you meet. To know that the chase is intoxication, to ignore how heady it is to watch her unbutton a blouse, to kill the butterflies when you think of what it would be like to see her naked for the first time. To say no to this exhilarating thrill because you know it is temporary. Because you know it becomes addictive and has the potential to destroy meaningful relationships. So you find the strength as a single, young and attractive man to keep saying no. So when you are finally with ‘the one’ you do not long for the brief excitement in the arms of strangers. I am not talking about being celibate, I am talking about not straying when you are in a committed relationship.
An undisciplined man or woman carries weakness into a marriage.
This does not mean that they are not in love. Love does not confer powers on you to be faithful. You must have learnt that to be able to stand in a relationship. So no, if he loves you he will not cheat does not stand. He can love you and cheat not because he wants to hurt you but because he never learnt to be faithful. I am not giving excuses. Just saying what I think.
Then the matter of conflict resolution. A relationship is easy when things are going well. Those moments do not define a relationship. It is when you are wading through turbulent waters and you are struggling to stand that your relationship proves itself.
One of the most puzzling thing to me about marriage is that sometimes the closest person to you can be furthest from you. That the person that should be easiest to talk to over time becomes difficult to communicate with. I don’t know why that is.
Conflict resolution is not about one person winning and the other losing and apologizing. It is not about one person always being the ‘bigger’ person and allowing ‘peace’ to reign. That is postponing serious stuff.
It is about honesty. Willingness to see that you may be wrong. It is a true desire to fix problems.
The lack of this ability to resolve issues is manifested in so many ways. He is unable to gain control of the fight, so he slaps her to show dominance. Or she begins to scream names at him and make public the most vulnerable thing he has ever shared with her.
These things break a marriage. It doesn’t mean they stop being married. The bonds are damaged so badly that fixing them up is next to impossible.
Marriage is noble. The idea of it is unbeatable. Two people coming together to weather the storms of life (clichéd I know…. But true). Two people thinking about each other, protecting each other, planning together, complimenting each other… no one truly wants to be alone forever.
Know that it is all connected. Who you are as a single person is the biggest indicator to who you will be when you get married.
Stop waiting for true love to come and fix you up. Fix yourself up.