Ever since I was little, the idea of falling in love and getting married captivated me. I wanted to be the beautiful princess who was swept off her feet by Prince Charming. I will have to admit, I have probably read every single Nicholas Spark book. I could also never stop watching romantic comedies. However, as I grew older my hopes quickly began to fade. I realized that relationships never seemed to quite match the movies and stories told in books. There was always some married couple getting a divorce or some one being cheated on or lied to. How could the world create such books and movies with such a seemingly great image for love and fail to recreate it in real life? Well first, it is easy to get caught up in fantasies.
Our culture today idolizes hookups and leans on divorce and breakups when things get hard. So many times, couples, friends, and even family members can forget that love is something that is meant to last. The problem begins when we try to fit others into this perfect image and expect them to make us happy. It does not mean that we should lower our standards, but we should realize that we as humans have faults and we should never make it someone's job or our own to make another happy. Love begins with us choosing to find fulfillment and happiness for ourselves first in order to share joy with others. Two empty cups can never fill each other up, but two full ones will have an abundance to share.
Our capacity to love, lies in our ability to be a gift of ourselves' to another. Love is a virtue or a habit of doing good, and is never directed towards the self. This kind of love does not fail, but it's also the kind of love that is not easy. Love is not meant to be easy or else we could never grow in it. Love, I would argue, is the essence of our existence. We are made by love, to love, and to be loved. We desire love probably more than anything else. However, how many times has this so called "love" seemed to fail. I've seen more failed relationships and friendships in my life than I have seen long lasting and fulfilling ones. Why is this?
Many times the word love is being thrown around in songs and statements like it doesn't mean anything more then to describe a feeling. However, love is so much more, especially when you see or hear of people dying for another in the name of love. It is not that love fails us, but rather that we have failed love or to love. Love is more than just feelings of happiness. Trust me, people who love each other are not always happy with each other. Love is beautiful, kind, patient, and so much more than words could ever describe.
So how do we find the fulfilling and endless loving relationships that our hearts desire. First, we must understand what love is. Then, remember that love is not selfish. We must find fulfillment for ourselves and not expect others to always make us happy. This is why single life is amazing and should not be seen as a burden. Rather, it is a time for us to grow in virtue and discover who we were created to be and enjoy the time of friendship. Also, in relationships we must be wiling to forgive and make sacrifices. Again it is not easy, but when done, can be so fulfilling. We will find that in loving, we receive more than we can ever give. Sometimes it hurts and is difficult, but the relationships that last are the ones who are willing to work on them and not give up on each other.