This Thing Called L.O.V.E
Ah February, the time when “love” is in the air and the prices of flowers skyrocket. Through the insistent, popular demand of my fan club of 1, (my hubby Joey), I’m back with my views on “This Thing called L.O.V.E.” . . .
When Joey and I stood at the altar and they pronounced us as “husband and wife,” a few friends gave our marriage an “expiration date” of two to five years max. Who could blame them? Joey and I were the most opposite of people.
Our set of friends were different, our childhood experiences were nothing parallel. I loved parties, he was a loner. I loved dancing, he avoided it. I enjoyed fancy meals, he used to wish meals were just pills that you could just swallow and be done with! He liked to “discuss,” I liked to walk out. He enjoyed working all day and all night, while I wanted to bond all day and all night. In short, we were two extremely different people.
At first, the opposite lifestyles look very attractive, the relationship feels exhilarating, and you find yourselves “in love.” But when reality hits you and you realize you did not marry your replica, even the fervent prayers of Mommy Dionisia Paquiao could not save us from the fights and arguments.
Yet here we are now, 32 years later, and still a “smoochie” couple. So “smoochie” that we almost got arrested in Israel for it years ago! (We did our usual kissy pose for the camera when a uniformed guard hollered at us. We were not aware that there was a mosque in the background and that PDA’s were a NO-NO!!!) Our bad.
So, on this month of Love, allow me to give you some words of advice on how to make your marriage last 32 years and more:
1) Love is a Muscle of the WILL, not the Heart.
Yeah, yeah, I know your heart skipped a beat, the first time you saw the man or woman of your dreams. Yes, you couldn’t sleep, or eat. Yes, your heart went pitter-patter. But skipping heartbeats won’t be there forever. In fact, to expect daily fluttering is unreal and unhealthy. Ask a heart doctor. It’s called arrhythmia!
Some couples separate because they say the warm, fuzzy feeling of love has gone. What they really expected was to live in Disneyland everyday, ride roller coasters and live happily ever after. Other marriages feel like Good Friday, lifeless and with no chance of Resurrection!
Honey, sometimes the “merry” in a marriage leaves. But that doesn’t mean it can’t return.
Love is a muscle of the Will. The question for you is: WHOSE Will is winning in your marriage? Is it the person who shouts the loudest? The partner who cries the most? That’s why marriage is sometimes called “A Battle of Wills.”
On our 2nd year of marriage, true to our friends’ expectations, our first marriage “ended” and a new one began. What a miracle! That was the year Joey and I both decided, “Lord, not our will, but Yours be done.”
Jesus became the third party in our marriage. It was the best decision of our lives. Because we are flawed, selfish people, we still have our disagreements. But in the end, we both lose our right to win and let Jesus have the last say.
So exercise that muscle daily: “Lord, I give you my marriage. Regardless of what’s happened, not my will, but Your will be done.”
2) Love is also, a Muscle of the “Won’t”.
Life is complicated. Your marriage doesn’t have to be. And nothing complicates a relationship more than adultery. This is why we put such a premium on loyalty and trust.
Yes, Derek Ramsay is a hunk; but Joey is the 25-year old hubby whose muscles climbed over our tall gate to save me when I almost burned our apartment down while cooking crispy pata. He charged through the thick black smoke, hollering for his wife and baby Joseph.
Yes, your old high school friend still looks very attractive; but she is not the one who bore and nursed your children, earning the Cellulite Badge of Honor with matching eye bags.
In this age of social media, watch out for the “tingles.” You know, the kilig, tingly, electric feeling you get when someone attractive is attracted to you? Because the feeling brings with it a danger to your marriage: the feeling where, all of a sudden, you are young and carefree and don’t want to be bothered by diapers, bills or marital obligations.
When you have no walls built to protect your marriage, your relationship is vulnerable. It’s like being out in an open field during a thunderstorm. What happens when a storm hits and a person feels the electricity? One doesn’t think, “Oh my, this feels so good! Let me dance some more in the rain!” So when you feel that tingly feeling, it’s time to duck! Take cover! You are about to get hit by lightning and electrocuted. The same thing applies in a marriage. Take cover before you fry yourself and others with you.
3) You Don’t Have All the Answers. So, Ask.
And that is perfectly okay. No one is an expert in marriage. The sofa of Steve and Deborah is, though. I should have kept that sofa. It saved our relationship countless of times. If you find yourself in a stalemate or a dilemma, get help!
Don’t go sit in a bar and tell a stranger your problems, go find your own version of Steve and Deborah’s sofa. Find a couple whose married life you respect and ask advice. There is no shame in that; only wisdom.
I recall a time Deborah told me, “Boy, when you guys fight, you really drag it out!” That was an eye-opener for me. Our arguments were often so full of drama. It’s what we were used to.
All of a sudden, it hit me. “You mean, there is a better and shorter way to fight??” I asked her. “We can actually just have a ‘mini snack, merienda-type of fight’ and not a ‘full all-night buffet fight’?”
Oh the things you learn, when you ask and ask often.
So what is this thing called L.O.V.E.?
Some define it as a Loss Of Valuable Energy
Others see it as Lots Of Violent Emotions
By the grace of God, Joey and I both see it as a growing Treasure Box: a Life Of Valuable Experiences, given because He first loved us, and continues to do so through the years.
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:37-39)