We live in the age of instant soup. We get what we want, when we want it. We don’t wait for anything. I see this in relationships as well. We relate to each other on an impulsive, selfish and emotional level. Better to just go to a store and buy a wife, husband, or friend than build a relationship on such sand. Relationships, whether romantic or friendship, are daily work. Sure they have fun points, but they are not something that just happen. A true relationship is a decision, not this emotion driven drivel touted by media. Emotions change several times a breath, yet most of us build relationships on feelings. And we wonder why relationships die?
Love is not an emotion; it is a convicted decision to accept, trust, forgive and cherish a person for who they are. If a marriage ends in divorce when things get difficult, they were never in love in the first place. Love and lust are completely separate. Emotion may be a catalyst and a enforcer, but it cannot replace logic and compassion. Emotions will fade. Emotions will die. We will not have the same feelings toward our friends or spouse as time passes. Does that mean we love them less? If love is a convicted decision, no. If love is just an emotion, yes.
In our consumerist society, we always think we have the option for something more or better. We chase after the phantom of perfection: the perfect marriage, perfect life, perfect home, perfect complexion. People are not products. Just because they may be temporarily broken by an event doesn’t mean to toss them out for a shiny new model. People are not cars to test drive. Too many of us are 2 year olds. We throw fits when we don’t get what we want exactly when we want them. I have seen many s0-called adults throw temper tantrums. In America, at least, adulthood is a regression. A 2 year old cannot form adult relationships.
Each day, a relationship requires communication and other-thinking. The greatest downfall of relationships is selfishness. If two people only seek for themselves, a relationship never truly forms. A true relationship is between two people who think more about the other than themselves. They are not self serving, nor are they self sacrificing. They give because they want happiness for their partner. A smile is all they seek in return. In such a relationship, both people only seek the best for the other. They don’t allow emotions to rule them. They act out of calm compassion and reason. Romantic relationships only last when they are grounded in friendship. Sexual desire will end. When it does what will you have left if you are not friends?
Ok, so here are my rules for true relationships:
- Decide upon reason, not emotion.
- Daily express love and appreciation.
- Be patient.
- Be compassionate. Don’t leave someone when situations are difficult. They need you the most during those times.
- Be aware of your behavior and speech. A thousand I love yous cannot replace a single hurtful word.
- Be other centered. Seek not your own pleasure
- You cannot change anyone.
Now, I know the real world is messy. It doesn’t do much good if you are giving but your friend or date is a taker. It is best to just directly lay the problem before your friend and calmly discuss it. If it ends the relationship, it ends the relationship. Really, all relationships are already ended. They all contain the seeds of their ending whether it is selfishness or the reality of death.
You cannot change anyone. This is one of the largest mistakes people make. People must want to change in order to change. All you can do is support and help someone in their efforts, but they must make the change themselves. It would be nice to get into someone’s brain and just pull or tweak this or that. Of course, that is their job. Women in particular fall into this misconception. It bares repeating: People only change when and if they want to change themselves. You cannot and will not change them.
Love and friendship are not products to buy or trade. They are close to a job to work at everyday. Selfishness has no place in either. Emotion is just a reinforcement of the decision to love. Relationships based solely on emotion or so-called chemistry will end. Romantic love requires people to be best friends first in order to last. Finally, compassion is the foundation of all relationships.