Life / Travel

Confessions of another hopeless romantic (and an excuse to post this during Valentines)

My hubby and I celebrated our 2nd Valentine’s Day with some home-cooked meal (specially made by the spouse), a cheesy movie, and our usual weekday chores. For some, you may think it’s too early for a young married couple to be stuck at home, on this annual expression of love and romance.

But then again, should relationships be defined by how a couple celebrates Valentine’s Day?

As a woman, and a hopeless romantic at times, I could have wished for a more elaborate Valentine’s Day celebration with my husband. However, I appreciated that one rose he gave me on the eve of February 14, that effort he took to make me feel relieved on that busy Tuesday night, that company he has provided for the past two years that we have been married.

On this month of love I’m dedicating this article to couples, married or not, old and new, and to everyone who is in love. Younger couples might learn something new from this article; older couples might feel that this may be a refresher. Singles may find a new way of looking at relationships. For the rest, it might just be a new perspective for you.

I’m not a love guru but I would like to share my ideas and points of view about the whirlwind experience we call, relationship. (With sources from: Renee Bartkowski, With this Ring, A Practical Guide for Newlyweds, 2007.)

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Develop a solid relationship. There are no perfect relationships. We may have heard  this cliché over and over again but it should serve as a constant reminder that our partner is entirely another unique human being. We will always have differences and we cannot change a person for who they are. Men and women would often say to their partners “You are incomparable”, “I won’t find anybody else like you on earth”. Shouldn’t we take these words more seriously and start applying it on our own relationships?  Our differences can be resolved with commitment, selflessness and respect. We should be working together with our partner to solve problems, be willing to give and sacrifice some things for our partner, and lastly, genuine respect for one another and the significance of marriage (or a relationship) are keys to building a solid relationship.

Stay in love.It’s exciting to fall in love. The feeling of being wooed for girls and making that impression for guys, is an exhilarating journey when going into a relationship. But what will happen if those butterflies in the stomach have slowly flown away across time? My husband and I are both home buddies but that doesn’t mean we cannot do something unusual within the comforts of our own home. Prepare a special meal with your spouse, play his favorite video game with him, read him a book, give her a massage, be creative in expressing your love for your partner. You would be surprised at how much he/she will appreciate those simple things that you do for him/her. And the best part is, you don’t even have to spend!

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Accepting your differences. Renowned counselor and author of the bestselling book, Men are from Mars, women are from Venus, Dr John Gray explored the multi-faceted characteristics, differences, and attitudes of men and women, and how these affect most relationships. One of his eminent examples was how a man sees a problem differently from a woman. Whenever my hubby and I argue about a problem, he sees things logically which I don’t. Sometimes, I tell him things that I worry about because I want him to know about the difficulties I’m experiencing and not for him to jump into solving it. Couples like us may have those difficulties, whether as two different sexes or as completely different individuals, but it depends on how you settle those differences to find a common ground. I realized that his logical perspectives in a problem made it lesser for me to worry about it too much. At the same time, he sees that my emotional clinging is a way of bonding together to solve problems that we have to face together.

Communicating effectively. As a journalism graduate, I learned about communication theories, models, and strategies. However, I still find it hard to communicate with the most important person in my life sometimes so I think this quote serves me well, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” Whether it’s over coffee, over the phone, in a subway, or just about anywhere, we women love to talk. But how much of that time spent on talking or trying to talk with our partner actually turns out to be a fruitful conversation? Does effective communication need to be verbal? Regardless of whether you’re a man or a woman, your partner deserves to be heard. And just as how my professor always told me, communication is a two-way process.

Handling the give-and-take of marriage (relationship).  As the book says, I too don’t believe that give-and-take is equivalent to a 50-50 understanding between couples. However, I do believe that spouses should put their 100% to make a relationship work.  In this case, isn’t it more fulfilling for both spouses to receive 100% of the love, care and effort that each other give in order to keep a happy marriage?

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Accepting each other’s faults.  Some of the hardest things to say are the words, Thank you, I love you and I’m sorry. As humans, we are restrained by our egos to accept the vulnerability of our own emotions. From those three words, perhaps the most difficult thing to say is I’m sorry.  It suggests a greater form of humility – accepting our mistakes. I admit I was once so immature at arguments. I have to win, no matter what it takes. It’s that pride of winning and proving my husband wrong that pulls me away from the true nature of why we are arguing in the first place, to resolve an issue as a couple and compromise. As a couple, we have learned to accept our mistakes and apologize after a fight. It not only helps us to cool down, it also enabled us to discuss issues objectively. After all, as the old dictum says, “To err is human, to forgive is divine”.

Getting married is a tough but worthwhile ride and I’ll be looking forward to create lasting memories of this journey with my spouse. To note, we may not have had a fancy Valentine’s but the post-Valentine’s celebration was a blast.

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