Is it love that changes…or it is the person that changes?
I encountered this question when I was watching a certain drama recently. I had pressed pause and pondered the question for a little while. I had never really thought much about it before until I heard someone ask the question out loud.
It has been said that the only constant thing in life is change. Unfortunately, it is not always that when change occurs, we are prepared for it or willing to adjust to it. Thus, when we look back into our past…when we look back at all the failed relationships and all the broken marriages we wonder – what or who had really changed? Does love remain constant? Can love change? If so, what causes it to change? Do people change? What causes people to change? Is it something that can be prevented or it’s simply nature running its course?
How many times have you felt like you were so in love you would lay down your life if it meant protecting your love? Those moments…when our eyes see no one else but the one…when we feel nothing in the world can pull us apart…when we love without a reason except for our feelings…when together-forever is not just a promise but fact and part of our reality. Do you think you would be asking too much if you wanted things to remain like that, if not better than that forever?
The first time I fell in love, I did not picture myself having those feelings for any other person but that one. Loving another person at that time was not even a possibility! Yet today in my life, I am so in love with one man believing for a fact that I have never felt like this for any other person before. I look at how this man loves me and I cannot imagine him loving another like he loves me. This is my present reality…a reality I do not ever want to see change, ever. But the question is, is that even possible? Can you spend a lifetime loving the same person with your feelings intact to the very end? I want to believe so!
But the question still remains, what causes relationships to end; is it their love that changed or it is the people that changed? Firstly, I want to admit that it is very possible for love to change and by this I am referring to the many stages that psychologists have argued intimate relationships have to go through in their journey of love. That first time feeling you have…all those emotions you wish you could bottle up and take a sip from for the rest of your life. Unfortunately, because we are human beings packed with red blood cells, hormones and senses, we cannot help undergoing emotional changes in our relationships.
At the start of every relationship, there is excitement and expectation. There are things we want and things we expect. As time goes by, we get to discover all of this…the ideas we had in our minds start turning into reality or lack thereof. Sometimes we are disappointed and sometimes we are surprised when our loved ones deliver beyond our expectations. And sometimes we simply choose to be content with the life we have despite it not being up to standard. As always…time is forever moving and we are forever learning, discovering and going through numerous experiences. These too can change us as individuals and also change our feelings towards each other either for the better or worst.
The problem that most people make is never to expect change or refusing to adjust to it when it occurs. Using a very practical example – when a man starts sleeping around after his wife has given birth because he believes her body has changed or that she has been distant since giving birth. A little patience with her and support as she adjusts to her physiological and emotional changes is all it takes to make their love flourish. Any deviation from this is what will lead to a failed relationship. In this case, it would be the husbands inability to adjust to change, to live up to his spouse’s expectation to be there for her in her most trying times and to be understanding…it is these things that would make her believe he has changed and this will ultimately have an effect on her feelings for him. Likewise, if the man strongly believes that she is being unfair to him by not fulfilling her marital duties in bed (not taking into account any possibility of posttraumatic stress), from his point of view, it would be the woman who has changed. This too, if not properly communicated can result in a failed relationship.
Yes, we all want perfect relationships but the truth is that they don’t exist. The only thing we can do all throughout our relationships is to strive for perfection in what we do but never to expect it. We love abundantly, we give abundantly, we forgive abundantly, that we be understanding and all the while expecting the same from our partners. It is foolishness to expect things to remain constant. Of course this does not mean that we should love less or expect less. It simply means that we should keep in mind that how we felt about each other when we were strangers can no longer be the same once we become friends and family.
As time goes by, we will become too familiar with each other, never pretending and ever showing our true colours. However, although a familiar feeling is something that happens naturally, having a boring or less exciting life as a result of it is a decision we make consciously. Yes, it is very boring when every aspect of your life becomes routine and predictable – knowing that today when I go home she will welcome me by the door, take my bag, ask me how my day was, serve me dinner, go to bed, make love the missionary way, sleep, and when morning comes repeat steps 1-2-3, etc. As long as one does not strive to keep things exciting despite being familiar with each other, do not expect a happily-ever-after. The tendency to believe that just because a piece of paper was signed and the deal’s done then we no longer have to work hard is what leads our loved ones to walk away from us.
Personally, I refuse an ordinary love. I rebuke it in the name of Jesus! I want an extraordinary love and nothing less! I do not expect a happily ever after, I am neither a Cinderella nor he a prince in shining armor. But I expect my life to be filled with happiness MOST of the times. I want to be extremely in love even in old age. Therefore, I should…no, we should both work hard to have that because it doesn’t come easy. I should be aware that change is inevitable and change in itself has the potential to alter my feelings. I should be aware that one day my spouse will not be as energetic as he is today no matter how many times he hits the gym, that his head full of black hair will not always be like that, that he also makes mistakes, and that we will not always share the same views.
How will you feel if the man you love suddenly stopped buying you flowers or taking you to fancy restaurants because he either lost his job or because you both made a bad investment and lost out financially? Does it mean that he has changed as a person or that he doesn’t love you anymore? Or perhaps, does that mean you should change the way you feel towards him? I should prepare myself for the unexpected, to not always expect perfection and to be understanding when my spouse falls short of my expectations. And if I am not pleased, I should communicate this in the most respectable manner. It is a learning process, one I am willing to undertake for the rest of my life. Right now I believe I am falling short.
If ever love should change, it should be for the better – from stranger to infatuation, from hate to love, from mere love to a meaningful love. I want to love like that. I expect to be loved like that. So far, I am loved like that. And in the future, I hope to love more and be loved more, not less. Is that possible?