"I got butterflies in my stomach everytime I see him" - have you ever heard this statement before? I'm sure you have even said it yourself. Or if you're a big fan of the TV show Sex and the City, you'd be familiar with the word "Zsa zsa zsu". You know, that feeling you get when you meet someone "you really really like," as Carrie Bradshaw described it. But here's the big question : is it love? Is that what it feels like to really love someone?
I find myself asking this question over and over again, as I walk into my third year of marriage. Because if those 'butterflies' were to be translated as love, then no marriage, no relationship will ever survive. Why? Well, those 'butterflies', they fly out the window very very quickly! We all need something more to hold our relationships, particularly marriages, together.
Yet, I can't deny the need of that having that feeling from time to time. All we see in media, the songs we sing along to, and everything we expected out of 'love' when we were growing up, seem to evolve around these 'butterflies'. From Disney movies to soap operas to romantic comedies - they all paint a concept of a love that is full butterflies.
Remember The Notebook? That lady cheated on her husband for her ex! She didn't want to settle with her good and decent husband. Why? Well, she wanted butterflies and fireworks.
Oh, I never thought that movie was romantic. I feel bad for the husband! Ryan Gosling is still hot though. Hay...
Anyways, for this article, I interviewed 2 other married couples who have been married for more than 7 years. Read and learn.
K & C - 9 years of marriage & counting
After they got engaged, she told him that she wasn't in love him. But instead of getting upset, he said, "Good. I want you to make a decision to walk into this marriage with me with a clear mind."
When asked about what he meanr by that response he said, "I've watched people around me getting married for the so-called 'love', but ended up separated or unhappy. Being in love is not enough reason to get married. In our case, the attraction was there. But I also chose her because she met the criterias that I had for a wife. So I wanted her to really think this over, and not just walk into marriage because of mere feelings."
Hmm...make sense, right? Okay check out the story of this other couple I met, who had an arranged marriage.
S & R - 10 years of marriage and counting
She met him only about 10 days before their wedding. But leading up to the big day, they have previously talked on the phone and via email. She said from the conversations they had, she liked the fact that he was very knowledgable, very calm (unlike her bubbly self) and that he made her feel so secure and at peace about moving to America and live with him.
"What's it like to marry someone you just met? I mean, were you in love that day?," I asked her. She said, "The length of a dating relationship does not guarantee a great marriage. You could be dating a guy for 10 or 5 years and still not know the person fully. I gradually fell in love with him as we walked into marriage together, learning about each other and getting to know each other better. So it wasn't the 'love' that lead me to marriage, I actually fell in love after marriage."
Oh wow, how beatiful is that. I think butterflies come and go. And if we were to chase them, we would only be chasing emptiness. A facade, a fantasy that no one will be able to fulfill. Because people are not perfect. They make mistakes, they don't meet your expectations all the time. And get this : You are not all that in the first place!
You can never fulfill other people's expectations all the time, anyway. So why ask that from your spouse?
So here's what I've learned : LOVE IS A CHOICE.
It's not that adrenaline rush you feel when you see someone handsome or sexy. It's that choice you make daily to respect, listen to, care for, and forgive someone, even when you don't feel like it. Because it was never about your feeling. Love is a commitment that you make to stick together and to be grateful enough to enjoy the ride no matter how hard it gets.
I'll leave you with this song right here, sung by my cousin Ben Abraham.
May we celebrate love as more than just chocolates and fancy dinners this weekend.
Happy Valentine's Day!