I can’t quite believe that I am sitting here writing about love and relationships between couples. Actually, I had to live and suffer through some of the agonies of love, so that somehow these words, ideas, and thoughts could surface.
So – just between you and me – this blog is also a relief. Let’s start with this fact: All, absolutely all human beings, at one time or another, have suffered or will suffer for love.
Personal relationships, especially love relationships, are complicated, or at least we believe them to be.
Let me ask you some personal questions.
Do you have a partner?
Are you married ?
Do you have a “significant other”?
Are you on your own?
Are you planning to fall in love one day?
Love… Ahhhhh How beautiful it is to fall in love! How beautiful it is to meet someone you feel attracted to, the excitement produced by the first kiss, or when someone you love whispers in your ear, “I love you”.
Well, if this is so beautiful, then: Why the hell do we get married?
Why is it that every time I make a comment in praise of marriage, married people are the first to jump and to make jokes, saying it’s best to live first and get married later. You’re too young . . . . . . Live your life, Have fun!
I don’t mean to say that marriage is easy, but the way some couples describe it sounds more like the purgatory. But what’s all this about? Is it more about surviving a relationship, rather than living one?
We shouldn’t fool ourselves: love is a human need; it’s a sensation that brings us closer to the divine, and it’s maybe the most convincing reason for our own existence. If we know that love is so wonderful, then… What happens to relationships? Why do relationships fall apart? Why do so many of them disintegrate with time?
Look: here are some typical examples from before and after marriage:
Before: What a beautiful little head you have! Come here; put it on my shoulder.
After: Move that big head of yours! You’re cutting off the circulation to my arm!
Before: Oh, what a lovely beauty mark you have! I love it; it’s so sexy!
After: Get away from me with that wart. It’s disgusting!
In México there’s a saying: “A man opens the car door for a woman only twice in his life: first, when the car is new, and second when the woman is new.” OMG !!!
Many a true word is spoken in jest. Why do these things happen in a marriage?
I think this is a matter of perspective. There’s a huge difference between falling in love and loving; that’s why the first thing I want to do in this blog is to note this difference.
Falling in love is the sensation produced by the mixture of conscious interest in another person and an overload of oxytosin and endorphins. These hormones are produced by our body due to the influence on our genes of thousands of years of accumulated instincts, including, among others, the preservation of the species, that is, our animal need to reproduce. Ok, let’s just say it: SEX.
This sensation that we feel when we’re in love, as if we were floating in the air, is the result of these internal drugs that, in fact, chemically make us “high”.
This process, this accumulation of physical reactions, is only the first step. It’s like finding an incredible piece of land that, the minute you lay eyes on it, you realize that you could grow all kinds of wonderful things on it.
This discovery excites you, and you begin to dream about how good the harvest will be. The future that you paint in your mind is wonderful. During this first stage, I can assure you that you don’t think about the difficulty of the process of working the land. We build castles in the air, no matter the obstacles, because love can do anything.
Later, we realize that the land requires a lot of work and sacrifice. You must keep vigil and dream your dream that is contained within it. There is no land that seeds itself or works on its own. After having visited a few plots of land in your youth, you suddenly find one that you like. You explore it; you go back to see it again a couple of times, and it really demands your attention. You start to feel that you want it, and that’s when you have to make a decision. Is this the land where I’m going to spend my entire life? That’s a hard decision to make.
Moving on to the second stage, where we have to make an investment, we are suddenly seized with doubt. As is normal in any investment process, we spend a lot of time analyzing all the pros and cons. We scrutinize and dig into the history. We ask about previous owners and results – if it suffered from disease or frosts? what was harvested before? if anything went wrong and why?
If everything sounds okay at that point, and we make the decision to go ahead, we go on to the third stage: planting and implementation. It’s time to get to work. If you really want to see a good harvest from your new investment, you must have the right attitude. You can’t start by saying “I’ll try.” An investment such as this requires that you give one hundred percent along with an attitude of not allowing for the possibility of defeat.
If you only give a half-effort, you’ll get half-results. And there’s no such a thing as love in halves. The love you dream about doesn’t leave room for intermediary tones.
This land, your investment, requires all of your efforts, devotion, and tenderness; otherwise, the seeds won’t grow as they should, and your half effort might lead to the ruin of your harvest. The success of your harvest doesn’t depend solely upon the effort that you make; you should be aware that there are natural adversities, and you should be willing to take care of the land during stormy weather. It’s at this point that you will realize how much you love the land and how much you believe in it.
Remember! After the storm comes the calm. Don’t think that adversity will never strike you; storms are part of nature and the order of things. The secret is to be strong, yet tender.
Fear leads to doubt; doubt leads to mistake, and mistakes can be very expensive.
If you keep the image of a successful harvest locked away in your heart, you’ll be able to solve any problems. In love, nothing is impossible. When you see a storm coming, you may be tempted to flee to other lands and calmer winds, but in reality, it does no good to search elsewhere. All plots of land need work, and all of them will experience a storm sooner or later. If you spend your time searching from plot to plot for the perfect piece of land for you, most likely winter will catch up with you, and the chance for sowing seed may be frozen . . . forever.
Temptation and the ecstasy that searching and conquering produce will always be there; it’s audacious; it’s unconscious; it happens spontaneously. But this emotion also disappears when we realize that we need to contribute work, sacrifice, and personal devotion. The secret is to find pleasure in the act itself of working the land. If you decide to live your life as an observer, enjoying the moments of excitement, the first date, the first kiss, living immersed in the fantasy stage, you’ll be okay, that is fine too, it is your decision, but you’ll never experience the joy of bringing in a rich harvest, and no land will ever be truly yours.
One day when I had quarreled with my partner, I left home and went to the movies on my own. Instead of choosing an action movie, as I would typically do, I saw a cheesy romance movie with Nicolas Cage and Penélope Cruz. In one scene, the father of the main character questions his daughter (Penelope Cruz), after discovering her love for an Italian soldier (Nicolas Cage) who is part of the force occupying her Greek island:
– Do you love him?
-When you fall in love, it is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake, and then it subsides. And when it subsides, you have to make a decision?
-You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part because this is what love is?
-Love is not breathlessness. It is not excitement. It is not the desire to mate every second of the day. It’s not lying awake at night imagining that he is kissing every part of your body. – No, don’t blush. I’m telling you some truths.
– That is just being in love, which any of us can convince ourselves we are.
– Love itself is what is left over, when being in love has burned away.
I must have looked just like she did in the movie and said to myself: Damn! This is not very encouraging. But then the character on the screen added something else that made me think or, even better, that sparked my curiosity:
-Doesn’t sound very exciting, does it?
Yes, indeed, I thought, as if he were speaking to me. Then, answering my thought, he said:
– But it is.
Do you think that you could begin to imagine that that is how you will come to feel with Captain Corelli? I think the old man in the movie was exactly right. He referred precisely to the pleasure that a farmer can feel when he gets up early at daybreak, breathes the fresh air of the morning, feels the dew on his face, and then works from sun to sun. He enjoys the effort of his work, and when he goes to bed at the end of the day, it is with a feeling of satisfaction that he is creating something in partnership with his land. I also believe that few people dare to discover how thrilling it can be to work at this level, how exciting it can be to love someone. You can fall in love many times, but to love… is something else. I assure you that many people die without having had the privilege of feeling such an exquisite miracle.
To love is within everyone’s reach, but it is a challenge that few people dare to take. It implies total devotion, rivers of sweat, and much effort. Why do you dream as much as you do? How many of your fantasies do you turn into realities? How many of these dreams have you shared and lived out with your partner? Don’t hesitate: take action, and do it today. Take up the plow; get to work, and if you still haven’t found your ideal piece of land or still lack encouragement, hurry! Because there’s no pleasure more satisfying than harvesting your land at the daybreak of your life.