Since my early childhood, I’ve been in love with the notion of being in love.
I blame two factors for this old-fashioned romantic frame of mind, the first of which can be attributed to the warm and fuzzy fairy tales of damsels in distress and knights in shining armour told to many a young girl.
My generation, and that of my mother’s and my grandmother’s, have grown up reading these soppy stories. “Happily ever after” is a guarantee and all we need to do is wait patiently for the hero to ride up on his powerful steed and sweep us off our feet.
The second factor to blame is of course Hollywood! I echo the sentiments of my fellow blogger, Laughing.Loving.Eating: “Hollywood: you lie!”. All those classic Doris Day, Judy Garland, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers movies of yesteryear have taken their toll. I become all soft and mushy at the mere suggestion of a man courting a woman. My mind conjures up thoughts of elaborate romantic gestures, public declarations of undying love and perfect moments of pure bliss.
No-one prepared me for the harsh reality of love and relationships. It’s the thirteenth fairy tale never told to little girls: Prince Charming sometimes never arrives, and if he does he’s often late for his appointment.
Relationships are hard work and very seldom a bed of roses. This is what I’ve learnt in my thirty-five years:
- Love is an ideal concept characterised by feelings only. Real love is a choice – every morning on waking, you make a choice to love your husband/partner.
- Compromise and communication are two key pillars in a relationship. Without either of these, a relationship will never reach its full potential.
- Complacency and apathy are stealthy relationship assassins. It takes daily effort to keep a relationship fresh, exciting and harmonious.
- Sex can be likened to a candle: the flame burns bright and strong at the beginning of a relationship, but eventually dies down to a small, warm glow … which still, by the way, lightens a room.
- Every man has a knight in shining armour in him, but is far from a knight in shining armour.
- A husband/partner should never be expected to emotionally fulfil a woman completely. A woman needs good friends to share her life with and a support structure in family and friends to keep her strong and balanced.
- A relationship is not defined by how great the good times are, but how you get through the bad times.
- A husband/partner doesn’t need to know everything! Sometimes, what you think is insignificant or of no consequence, could actually hurt him or create insecurity if he knows.
- You don’t need to do everything together. Having your own interests, style, hobbies, friends etc. is healthy.
- Most importantly, learning to love your husband/partner in the way he understands – and vice versa – will make the biggest positive impact in any relationship. Dr. Gary Chapman’s “The 5 Love Languages” is truly an eye opener.
- Are You Comparing Your Partner to a Movie or TV Character? (donnienicole.com)
- Do we “need” love? (ask.metafilter.com)
- On Love… (and in defense of romance) (projectexpansion.wordpress.com)
- What Makes Love Last? Marriage Researcher Reveals the Secret (self.com)
- Romance Required? (butterfliesanddragons.wordpress.com)
- Dating Checklist: Questions to Ask Yourself Before Falling In Love Again (psychologytoday.com)