I grew up on fairytales and happy endings. I’ve watched my parents remain in love in the harshest of times, and after this past weekend of observing them, I can continue to say that love is such a beautiful thing. 20 something years later and almost empty-nesters, my parents still have that spark. They balance each other. Compliment each other to the T. I’ve seen my father go from very traditional and rigid to being the man that cracks a joke every other sentence. My mother is beyond caring and compassionate, yet whimsical and sometimes not always present in the current conversation. But the both of them together, they’re this 5’2″ maybe 5’3″ unstoppable unit. And my God is it a pleasure to watch. Weird, but always a pleasure.
This was my standard of love and still sometimes is.
But then I remember this quote. It was one of the first scriptures I had to memorize for my 11th grade religion class:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
The discussion we had around this was very cookie cutter, typical of a theology class honestly. But I’ll give you the basics: Find someone to love. Be good to that person and live by the bible. Everything will work out. Love always prevails. This was then followed by a very dramatic circus themed video on STD’s and then that terrible abortion video that I think traumatized me till my sophomore year of college.
But my point is, at young ages we’re given a false representation of what love is, because the truth is love is not always kind or patient. Sometimes love does dishonor others. Sometimes love gets very angry, and very quickly. And most importantly love sometimes fails.
This year I have watched perfect people come together and fall apart ever so quickly and messily. I’ve seen relationships built on the pain of others that strangely seem to succeed. I’ve seen people make up their own definition for what love is and what one should endure for love. I’ve seen couples do everything right and then still have to face the adversities of practicing a different religion or one wants kids and the other doesn’t. And even this year I had someone fall for me. And fall hard. It was me experiencing being on the other foot of a situation I placed myself into a little while back. An unbalanced situation, where one loves, and the other doesn’t. Everything was perfect but we were not aligned, and it would have been a lot of effort. And as much as I would have loved to make the puzzle fit at that time, I would have been doing myself a disservice if I had tried knowing there was a major piece missing. Not to mention, it would have been cruel to put the other person through I’d never want to experience again: Being someone’s “in the meantime”.
But love is not, and will never be as cookie cutter as the books and movies portray. There’s so much more to it than just happy faces and heart emojis. There will be shitty times. There will be no hope. There will be pain. There’s the decision of can we do this. Is this who I want to have kids with? Can I live with these details of this person’s life? Can I handle the way he does things? Love is not simply a feeling, people. It’s not a “if it happens to you, you should hold onto it” type of thing. Love is a choice.
I believe in having a soul-mate. I believe that you only get a few times to get it right or come close to your soulmate. But I also do not believe in settling for someone that only meets 60% of what I hope for in a spouse. To me, you might as well remain single or wait it out. Yesterday confirmed that I made the right decision of not forcing it and waiting it out, because I experienced something that was quite effortless. And with that choice, even if what I experienced doesn’t move in the direction of a future, at least I know it’s possible and it’s out there.
This realization now makes what my parent’s have that more special. It makes it real.