If there is one thing that I learned about seeking for love advice or any advice for that matter, it would be keeping my hands off of the reading materials and away from Mr. Google. Instead, choose talking to real people in your life. I prefer phoning, messaging or meeting my closest friends and seek their opinions. And so for this love month, I decided to blog about love advice based on real people’s relationship journey. One must understand that every relationship is unique and a set of relationship principle may be effective to one but not to the other.
I sent out messages to a number of friends and acquaintances (single, in a long term relationship, married and separated) and asked them to answer this:
If you are to give ONE love advice, what will it be and why?
The questions intended to get each participant’s “ultimate” advice based on their own experiences and relationships. After consolidating their responses, here’s a rundown of what they have to say about that thing called love:
1. Love yourself first.
Cliché as it may sound, knowing and loving yourself is very important. Enjoy singlehood for some time and get to know what you really want in life. Try being independent and learn to decide for yourself.
“How do you like your eggs?”
Remember that line from The Runaway Bride? In this movie, Maggie Carpenter (Julia Roberts) kept running from her grooms on their wedding days. At one point in the story, Ike Graham (Richard Gere) confronted her and pointed out how indecisive she was through her choice of eggs. Maggie cannot decide how she wants her eggs done. She has no clue how she really liked them. Her choice changes depending on her partners. If she’s with a man who likes poached eggs, then she likes her eggs poached. If she’s with a man who prefers a sunny side up egg, then her choice will then be sunny side up, too. She would just follow whatever her current partner eats or likes.
My point is if with simple matters like this leaves you confused, what more with your personal relationships? Being on the YES party and always going with the flow won’t always be the way. Yes, you have to compromise but the concept of compromise is very much different from being the submissive party. Fill your own bucket with love for yourself and by the time that love has come to your door, you will be able to share it with that special person.
*Candy was in a 4-year relationship with her beau and they got married on February 2015.
2. Love is all about the right timing.
Being hopeful when it comes to finding the love of your life is not bad, not bad at all. Sure, we can meet them in the most unexpected places and circumstances. However, if every time you meet someone, may it be in a bar or a friend’s party/event, you already see them as a potential boyfriend/girlfriend then stop right there my friend! Pardon my words but that is not being hopeful, rather it is desperation. To make it simple, do not rush things when it comes to love.
The society or our own circle of friends may really be a great source of pressure but just avoid jumping on bandwagons; not because everyone has a relationship must mean you should be on one, too. Take your time to look around and be friends with people. Stop hitting on every girl/guy you meet, because frankly, my dear, this is not a competition nor a race. I know that this is easier said than done, but unrealistic expectations will only lead you to great disappointments.
Isa and Anna are just some of those patient souls who believed in perfect timing. Isa and her husband have been friends for 10 years before they started dating and on their 4th anniversary, they finally said, “I do.” Anna, on the other hand, has been together with her longtime boyfriend for 8 years and been married for a year now. Though most of us hate the waiting game, we must not forget that good things take time. 🙂
3. Respect each other.
Respect is an important element in every relationship that we will have in our lives. A partnership without respect just won’t work. Without respect, there will be a lot of hurting. Love alone wouldn’t suffice because love and respect go hand in hand.
*Claire is in a relationship for 6 years.
4. Acceptance is the key.
We, as human beings, are not perfect. No one is and no one will be. And when we love someone, ACCEPTANCE plays a big part in the success of the relationship; accepting the things that have been existing even before we came into each other’s lives.
Photo courtesy of bluecoloursofnature
Loving them in their “present” selves is easier but what about the “other baggage” that they have? Are you ready to look past their dark history? Are you willing to embrace their “special” family or their kids from their former relationships? Will you stay despite their flawed personality? If you are ready for these then you understand what real love is. Unconditional love knows no limits and looks beyond temporal things such as physical beauty, sexuality, and wealth. Real love understands the past, the present, and the future.
*Danica is in a relationship for 6 years.
*Jen is in a relationship for 2 years.
5. Love is a commitment.
One truth about being in a relationship is that there is so much more than being lovestruck. You know, the “butterflies in my stomach” kind of things, or that big grin that you have on your face or the surreal happiness that you feel whenever you talk to each other. Yeah, those things fade in time. This is where commitment comes in. Real love is more than a feeling or emotion. “Love is a commitment; a decision that you make,” this is how Mama Lina (my mother-in-law), who has been married for 31 years to her first boyfriend, described it. Also, it is always a work in progress. Real love is not just superficial because, in reality, there is a whole lot more than giving gifts, flowers and having fancy dinners. Our lives are always vulnerable to changes. It may be financial stability, physical or health conditions but choosing to stay with them in their worst state, that is commitment. It is having that determination to work things out no matter how tough it may be.
*Dr. Lina Miclat has been married for 31 years to her first boyfriend.
Your love should never be offered to the mouth of a Stranger. Only to someone who has the valor and daring to cut pieces of their soul off with a knife, Then weave them into a blanket to protect you.
6. Clear Communication.
Relationships will always have to deal with conflicts, but the best way to do it is by going through the issues you have at hand, MATURELY. As they say, never let the day end without dealing with your problems. As a couple, see to it that you discuss what happened; determine the root cause and what must be done to avoid repeating them. And do not forget to apologize to each other.
*Lia has been married for 6 years.
Based on personal experience, I believe it is best to say sorry when you really mean it rather than apologizing just to appease the angry party. Lastly, it is important to learn from your conflicts as it will help you avoid having the same mistakes again in the future.
Photo courtesy of lunchclick.co
Communication process is designed where one speaks and the other listens, then each take turns. Simple as it may sound, yet it gets complicated because a lot of things are involved but nothing is impossible if you are willing to make it work.
7. Learn to compromise.
Having a relationship means you acknowledge that there is now another person in your life who will be affected by your decisions. If there are times when your choices are not on the same page, discuss it (again, communicate); lay down the pros and cons and understand how each option affects the two of you as a whole.
*Jeri was in a 3-month old relationship when they decided to take it to the next level and they’ve been married for almost 10 years now, with 2 kids.
Compromise means you are willing to meet half-way to arrive at the best, possible solution for both of you. It should be fairness and not complete submission or surrender to a point of losing yourself just to please the other person.
*Diane wed her longtime boyfriend (10 years) and they have been married for 3 years.
8. Keep the fire alive.
Familiarity breeds contempt.
After years of being together, you will notice how things change. This goes specially after you get married. As your priorities in life change and you focus more towards serious responsibilities, there will be lesser date nights and the level of physical desire and intimacy won’t be as fiery as before.
*Therese, married for 9 1/2 years with one daughter.
There are times when security also breeds complacency and it may make you take things for granted. When was the last time you told her she looked beautiful? Or when was the last time that you thanked him for picking you up from work? We do things for our loved ones because we care for them and showing appreciation makes a difference.
*Jay, married for 6 years with his then-girlefriend for 3 years.
The Simple Acts of Love
Don’t be afraid to be silly at times. Laugh and enjoy the light moments together. Laugh your hearts out! And if you can share funny videos and links on your Facebook page, why not share it first with your significant other? Who knows, it may pick them up if they are having a rough day at work. After all, laughter is the best medicine.
As much as possible, avoid complaining and pointing fingers whenever facing problems.
Blaming will never solve a problem. Instead of saying “it’s your fault!” try “let’s see what we can do..” Remember, you are a team n and a team work together.
Appreciate the small things.
Everything isn’t always about material things and grand gestures. It may be as simple as cooking something special for dinner on a regular day; having coffee together at your dining table or watching your favorite series together. You can always be creative and resourceful any time and you can do it in the four corners of your house. Like I said earlier, love is always a work in progress. Romance may fade in time and as you grow old but friendship remains until the very end.
Photo courtesy of Robin Polderman Photography
*Rhoel was ina relationship for 8 years and they have been married for 2 years now.
9. Believe in God’s plan for you
Prayer is the most powerful tool and I believe in that. Pray that you find the right person for you and believe that it will happen.
Photo courtesy of morethanamissiontrip.com
“If there is one love advice that I will give to anyone, it is to wait. This is one thing that has kept me whole throughout my journey in this life. Wait on the Lord. When you give your heart to the Lord and trust Him with your life, even your love life, He will save your heart. I believe as a Father, He wouldn’t want his child’s heart broken.
When a person follows his heart, every time his heart falls for a person, he will give a part or even his whole heart to that person, leaving him empty when that person leaves. This happens over and over every time he falls in love. When a person waits on the Lord, he is simply saying, “I trust you know better”. You might get bored while waiting, frustrated even, laughed at, but when that person comes, everything will be perfect.
Timing is perfect, the person is the perfect match, simply because the God who ordained for you to wait is the same God who ordained the other person to wait as well. He is working on each of you to become the person you need to be before He sends you to each other such that when you meet, you don’t complete the other person. You are already complete on your own and you won’t search on what’s lacking with you on the other person.”
Odz and her husband were high school sweethearts and they have been in a relationship for 11 years before they got married. Today, she is a mother of their only son and they have been married for 4 1/2 years.
I believe that there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to love because every romantic relationship comes with their own challenges and circumstances. Love, in general, is a source of strength and happiness. The road to it may not always be as smooth as desired, but what is important is that you value the lessons learned and continue to believe in it.
Love is many things, but it is never deceitful. Nothing toxic comes from genuine love. Remember that.