A year ago- or maybe even just a few months ago to be more precise, if you would have asked me why I am single and what I am waiting and looking for in terms of a partner; my reply would be “my soulmate, a fiery passionate love, an instant soul bound upon first meeting..” I can go on and on about things I would say along these lines. It was mostly because I did stumble upon my male soulmate (or so I thought then before I outgrew him), I felt that I do not want a relationship that requires an effort to get to know the person and I did not believe you can learn to love. You either do, or you do not- and I deemed that some of us are wise enough to foresee that from the start (those of us that know ourselves, our needs, and are not out hunting men according to their looks, status, family name, or richness and calling that love). It was all based on the experience I was going through at the time, having met someone whom I felt I have known in another life and for my lifetime..we did not even have to talk to be connected soul, mind, heart, and body. The relationship seemed effortless, so full of love, undeniable chemistry, friendship, respect- it definitely did not remain effortless for long!
Now, I am no longer looking for my soulmate. Well let me correct, I am not looking at all. But I mean if I am to stumble upon someone along my own journey I would never choose to be with my soulmate.
The one thing that I would still agree on today is: I do not just want to be loved, I want to love. And not just any kind of love, but with my all and unconditionally. The love I know I am capable of that I see most are not. The love that is freeing and not possessive, secure from my own heart, dependent, and nurturing.
But why not be with my soulmate? Although my scenario was different, it was not a toxic love because he was my soulmate not at all- but due to other circumstances. But, the truth is I simply think a soulmate is too much to bear for a lifetime and surely not the right ones to raise a family with. Soulmates, they tear your world apart. Why? To make you the woman/man, wife/husband, and true self that you are meant to be. Only if you are open to receiving the lessons and not clinging onto them of course. They help you spread your wings. They free you to a greater truer love- you free yourself actually. They reveal your darkest side, your childhood wounds, your insecurities…they push you beyond your temperament and limits…they show you your greatest enemy even when it is yourself…and a relationship with a soulmate of the opposite sex if you have been with one is one hell of a roller coaster ride! It is too much of everything; unhealthy love, jealousy (for some), instability, passion, conditions (without realizing you give and take), too much of potent consuming emotions and an endless cycle. It is too much pain and pleasure all at once. You become the air supply to one another in the most deadly way. You will find that with a soulmate it is insane passion and fire, even at first sight for many. Well, that fire as great as it was at the start and even for years after eventually fades- you burn each other out.
Soulmates, they come into your life without notice, they reveal parts of you, and they leave. Other times, you must be the one to let them go!
What do I seek then? Well, a life companion.
By life companion I mean a man that has the character qualities I seek and have already developed in myself first and foremost, one that is emotionally mature, and that we have common core values on love/marriage/family/life.
I myself have a list of the qualities I look for, some I would withdraw, and others no way. Emotional maturity is at the top of my list. Then other examples include: honest/has integrity, wise, kind, committed and loyal, takes care of and values himself (mentally, physically, and emotionally), has faith, responsible, disciplined, intellectual, compassionate, a man of his word/promises, passionate,.. then there are the ones at the bottom of my list such as: adventurous, has a sense of humor, clean/organized, active, patient, grateful. I realized they are all traits we can inspire one another to nurture and not necessities at the start. I by no means put good looks, family name, status, or richness on my list. Well, if he is as good looking as I am even better haha but again, looks and money are nothing!
I believe the most important thing above all to find a true love that wins all odds and endures all the trials of years of marriage is that both partners must be emotionally mature. You need a mature love if you want it to last for a lifetime with your partner.
Maturity in love can stand for several things, I will list a few key points:
– It is entering a relationship knowing exactly what you want from yourself and another,
– It is being commitment to another as if it is yourself that you are committing to,
– It is being mature enough to know you need to make yourself happy and complete before finding another half,
– It is knowing that to be heard you do not have to yell and that you need to listen with the intention of just listening and not merely replying,
– It is giving up your need to be right and be kind,
– It is not having the say in the last word,
– It is knowing that not all days will be a honeymoon or walk at the park, that you need to break routine and boredom and actually work at it, (with that said it should not take too much work with true love),
– It is staying by her/his side when they are at their worst,
– It is active care- not passive ‘love’,
– It is looking forward to life together and growing together every day instead of apart and sitting staring at each other or escaping your marriage with your kids as a distraction,
– It is putting someone’s happiness, needs, and wants some days before your own,
– It is NOT losing yourself in a relationship and keeping your individuality no matter how close you two are,
– It is seeking to understand another instead of judge and choosing to fully accept them,
– It is entering an argument or fight with an intention of making things better and not just venting or blaming,
– It is being above all responsible for yourself and how you feel, and some days for your partner,
– It is caring only for what you put IN the relationship instead of what you take, you lead by example and treat him/her how you want to be treated,
– It is swallowing your pride and apologizing,
– It is staying focused on the bigger picture,
– It is grounding yourself in similar beliefs, for example, grounding yourself in God,
– It is being patient and tolerant when it’s the last thing you want to do,
– It is respecting, honoring, and cherishing your partner,
– It is being fully transparent and vulnerable,
– It is healthy attachment which means sometimes detaching,
– It is the giving of yourself.
I will end the list here. But you get my point? By being mature you will be determined to make things work. You will want the love to last and the relationship to flourish. You will not give up when you feel out of love or go astray. You will not go find solace in another person other than your partner simply because you have some secrets hidden or feel you have grown apart. You will keep your matters private not public. You will choose to cry by their side, laugh by their side, and be by their side no matter what. You do not take him/her for granted. You will see the person with your heart and not with your eyes- that is a mature love that can last.
What I have learned today is: Not only can you grow to love someone out of respect for their character, who they are at heart and soul, and what they stand for, but it is the best kind of love. It is also infinite. This is the love that you can build a strong marriage upon and raise families with. It consists of a strong bond of friendship first and foremost, thus great communication. With open communication comes emotional intimacy which is the purest strongest bond you can ask of your man- not all those that have sex as spouses are emotionally intimate sadly. You want your man/woman to seek you for comfort when it comes to talking, about everything any anything form the smallest most random matters to the biggest issues that haunt them.
Mature love is also a love where you do not necessarily feel the fire in every day and you do not feel ‘in love’, but you genuinely like the person inside out after the excitement of something new has gone and no matter the years passed. Yes, liking is greater than love when it comes to friendship.
Speaking of love, comes the mentioning of romantic love. I am a hopeless romantic, but honestly it is not for all people and it all goes down to ones character. I have met people that can gag at romance (I used to be one of them) and others that just suck at being romantic no matter how hard they try. So romance, it fades and it certainly is not essential to love or a relationship lasting. You can revive it here and there but that is dependent on the foundation you have built your relationship/marriage on. Romantic love sets unreal expectations we have fabricated growing up, particularly for us little Cinderella’s waiting for prince charming. It is all bullshit. Life is no movie.
You know what else I learned? I thought that if you do not have chemistry and an unexplainable attraction from the start that you cannot have it after. But actually, if you think about it, you can find many people you are attracted to for no reason- it is usually based on the ideals we have fixed in our mind about the physical looks of someone else, that and no more than our unresolved energies at points. We all have our perfect fantasies in human forms that is for sure! That said, I have come to find that indeed physical chemistry and passionate attraction can grow out of mature love. Personally, I find that even better than having it at the start. Because when you have all the fire at the start, you use it up sooner or later. Kind of like lust and infatuation, they wear out. But with chemistry and physical attraction that is progressing out of love, you initially become one at heart and soul before anything, and you will find that your expressions of love making are endless possibilities to experiment and not merely acts of body or to have a child cause ‘you should’. They become acute profound gestures and expressions of a love that is continual. You can make love without even having sex, but when you do, it is surely not just ‘sex’ but a sacred spiritual act on most days (I am saying most because of course we all have our days of just pure animal instincts acts, still with a true love, a quickie f* will feel different- no pun intended).
To conclude, at the end of every day what matters most is what the foundation of your marriage is built on. When it is built on romance and too many expectations of love, merely having sex, or simply raising kids, pleasing society and/or in-laws it is a shaky ground. However, if it is built on respect, trust, friendship, and a mature love- nothing and no one can diminish, break, or come in-between it. I do believe that love in itself is respect, I mean I cannot love someone I do not respect. However, many of us at our early years especially fall in love with the wrong ones that help us better ourselves if we choose to make use of the heartbreak. The truth is, not because you love someone than that means they are right for you and for a lifetime. To the contrary, you will encounter a few wrongs you ‘love’ till you meet the right one. What I want to say is, a connection that grows out of unalloyed respect for another person’s character, heart, and soul…that is their TRUTH, their flaws and dirty secrets and shameful pasts included…is a love that will blossom and flourish much more even after you have been with each other through the best and worst, at all your states, after all the years and even children if you choose to have them. Not just the love will grow, but so will your invincible friendship, emotional and physical intimacy, chemistry, and dreams both separately and as one.
So here I tell you, you want a marriage that lasts?
First, know that mature love starts with YOU and your own emotional maturity. Be the partner you want to be with and give the love you wish to receive without asking.
Then seek and choose the best friend you respect and so can grow to love.
Choose the best friend and lover that can hold your hand and face this world together the same direction.
Choose to be the love of your life before anything too. It means knowing you are responsible for your own self-esteem, love, and happiness. It is normal that we all associate happy feelings by being with our partners, and thus we assume they need to be the ones causing us this happiness. But that is your role to master.
If you want the key to a long lasting marriage you need to find your own happiness and source of love within you, even if it means creating it. You need to love yourself and navigate from that self-love on a daily basis. Once you do that and you have the right person beside you- you can enjoy love much more and for longer because you’re not confined to the expectations and burdens of thinking you need to make the other happy. Your marriage becomes a life were you share your own love and happiness with another, you find a person that complements them.
Because the truth is, some days love is not enough. Emotions are visitors, they come and go. And on those days, when love is not at its height, all that will matter is your commitment to one another, your friendship and so communication, your appreciation for one another, the quality time you make for each other, and showing and giving your partner the love you wish to receive. Lead by example like said.
I will end this with a favorite quote from a book I hold so dear by Kahlil Gibran:
“Let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.”