Love. Marriage. Sigh.
I recently saw a post circulating on Instagram made by a singer called Lami Phillips. The post was a mini-motivational from her; advising and directing her followers and people who cared to read on what to look out for before getting married. She made a number of points that highlighted the fact that the “feeling of love” was not essential when making the decision of who to marry. And while, as a romantic, I was slightly annoyed by the thought; I had to agree with most of the points she made; especially when she said: “commitment outweighs the feeling of love.”
True to her comments, falling in love with another person is a wonderful feeling. But it is not a permanent emotion. It is just a feeling. We get tingly and joyful. We get excited. And we love. We hug and kiss and wrap our bodies around each other.
But then, it isn’t rational. It can’t be controlled. If you allow a feeling that is so emotional and malleable dictate your behavior; you’ll realize quickly that it only pans out when things are up, not when they’re down. Commitment, on the other hand, is not dependent on the heartstrings; it’s dependent on a conscious choice you make – and that, is something you have complete control over. Married or not married, when you decide to enter into a partnership with another; commitment means you act with integrity, respect and care …even when your emotions are telling you otherwise.
However, our society tends to glorify the idea of ‘falling in love”. In fact, there are so many movies and books about it that people heading towards marriage are not expected to first fall in love with each other. They must love each other deeply and choose each other unfazed by outside pressure. Also, each must make the other the top priority in life; putting that relationship above any and all competing ties.
Generally, people seem to have a pretty good understanding of what love feels like. Also, they do a good job respecting love as an important feeling. But our culture also sends a pretty contradictory message about what commitment is. We say marriage requires love and commitment; yet somehow “love is all you need” prevails as a logical sentiment. And in the quest for achieving this ideal vision of love and how it conquers all; they end up unintentionally weakening their marriages.
When you really think about it though, you realize that love is rather a luxury. When you marry because of it, it generally means you have all—or at least most—of your other needs met; (like food, shelter, warmth, etc). Because if you are worried about your survival or safety, you’re not going to be focusing on finding the man or woman of your dreams. Unless, of course, this dream person is your ticket out of your terrible home life; dreary financial picture or scary “singledom.”
The truth is, people who say they married for love usually are the ones to file for divorce. This is because the feeling will fail. Because love is an action, not a feeling! Also, marriage is not about romance and finding happiness. The people whose primary reason to marry is other than love – such as to have children; to have financial security, or for companionship, generally have longer and perhaps better marriages; because their choices were made with a purpose.
Love actually does not conquer all. At all. Instead, it is only one of the many ingredients needed for a long-lasting partnership. But the concerning issue is – people put so much weight on the feeling of love; a feeling that inevitably changes takes different forms and can get blinded easily. To be in a sustainable relationship, you need other things too, and many of them are outside of your control.
Do you agree?