A few years ago I wrote an autopsy of love, on the intricate mindset of the “disease”. Like every Valentine’s day, I “bless” the internet with a flaming opinion on love and its problems, a fatal article that each year brings me a ton of people who, like me, believe that settling down with a partner often means truly “settling” and “down” as in lower your standards as in the hopes of finding a soulmate as in forgetting yourself. I beg of you not to see me as cynical because I am not, I am a romantic. A hopeful one might I add. And this valentines day I will not give you a moral on why you will not receive flowers this Valentine’s because this year is different – this year, I am in love. However, even in love, I am a fervent believer in why you should not settle down.
A declaration of huge magnitude for someone as traditionally romantic as me, I waited for my soulmate for a long time, “my person” with whom the connection would be so undeniable that even the stars would feel like making a wish upon us. I prayed for him and urged patience to my ever-growing desire to have a family and a “special someone”. He was special, from the moment we met to this day he was always a man like many will never be able to brag about being, he was always a pillar in my life in ways that are hard to explain with words.
Do not worry, this is not a love letter to him, this is a love letter to you, my reader, for you who might feel a little lonely today as midnight strikes for lovers or for whose relationship is still Valentine’s day every day. From the moment we met I knew, and as he is sitting in the living room right now, yawning over something he is reading, love in all its banality, I still know. I can not attest to forever, that would be selfish and unrealistic but, I can attest that I would seemingly love him forever. It was never easy, however, never. It is the curse and blessing of two people who have to grow together instead of apart.
Love is a magnifier
whatever is beautiful will become more of and whatever hurts still your heart will tear it apart. Love will amplify and magnify all there is to feel and be, it will challenge you in ways you are not always ready to be challenged into. There is something incredibly heartwrenching about love as a concept, there can be plenty of it as a noun but none of it as a verb which will result by the end of it. However, on days where love as the noun and the adjectives are missing, you will find yourself choosing love as a verb – if you are lucky and resilient – and in that, there is hope to be found. Love as a verb looks different to everyone, there is no right way to conjugate it, people often love one another in ways they would like to be loved or to the depths they have known it and/or allow themselves to feel it. Some of us mirror what we have known or on the contrary do the opposite, to ensure we never get exactly that. On days where love is none of grammar and only a magnifier to the deepest darkest parts of your soul, in there, you will find unconditional love, the choice and the action mixed with a “je-ne-sais-quoi but I am not going anywhere” type of feeling.
Love is intentional
To love someone is the biggest decision you will ever make, they are the ones you share life with. All of it. They are the ones you create with. And creating is intentional, it is something that both hands in you decide what you make out of it. Now imagine love was pottery, both hands in the dirt and the table is spinning, at the beginning it is fun, I mean it is new and making pottery is a whole lot of fun with someone you love. Together, you try to make a vase, you both talked about making a vase. You personally are making it round, he is making it square. Both of you are doing the same thing just not the same way, neither is right nor wrong, just two people trying their very best to make a stinking vase. Why is he roughing the edges and why is she softening the corners? because their ideas of a vase are different, even though they both know they want a vase, not a plate, not a bowl, not a cup, but a vase. That’s why they knew it would work, the plan was to make a vase. At some point one will have to stop and listen, maybe their partner won’t express with words that they are making a vase in a squared shape, but that person will have to pay attention to the movements, to the way their hands glide in the mud in order to make out nothing – something. And where there is an intention of understanding there is something created, and there is space for compassion, growth, and learning from the other so that finally a vase shapes itself out.
Love is kind
First and foremost and forever, love is kind. Whether you are religious or not, there is a passage of the Bible that stuck with me, since the first time I read it. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, which describes the qualities of love. The full passage reads:
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.“
It is easy, to believe the worst of the other, but what if we assumed the best instead? “Love is kind” means that love is characterized by its kindness, compassion, and generosity towards the other. Genuine love is not self-centred or motivated by personal gain, nevertheless, it seeks to uplift and support. It is considerate, thoughtful, and empathetic towards the other – treating them with respect and dignity. Allowing this grace towards your partner will change your dynamic, through and through. It allows you to see them through the eyes of someone who seeks to understand them rather than judge them for their actions, someone who does not want them to correct their wrongs but rather to build on their rights and challenge them into someone better reminding them of their values and what they stand for if they are out of alignment without a single judgement, it is assuming that their shortcomings are not the accurate representation of their character.
Love is resilient
At some point one of you will want out, sometimes obviously, sometimes quietly, sometimes in doubt other days in anger, you might even want both out at some point. But love, love is resilient. If you are lucky you will meet someone whose love does not quit, it does not leave or walk away, it does not fear, they might, they might be o terribly scared and hesitant, but their love is resilient, and they love you. Love is not enough, but a resilient love, that teaches and grows, will remain.
Love is a teacher
It is not always evident in the culture we are in but we do teach others how to love us whether it is by showing boundaries or by meeting the other in gladness, we teach them by saying and acting and figuring out our needs. Once someone told me ” it is okay if, a boundary is crossed and you think you can live with it, but then realise you can not, it is okay if, in the midst of learning to love him you learn yourself. It is alright if certain things work for you and someday do not anymore, you are not made of stone, you do not have to stay firm on everything”. Allowing myself this flexibility allowed me to accept and communicate better, it allowed me to show up better in the relationship being more accepting of him as a whole.
Love is letting go
Of the past of the wrongs, love is forgiving, love is knowing the other will not show up in the ways you need all the time but it is allowing them to show up anyway. True love involves releasing or relinquishing our attachment to someone or something when necessary, it sucks but it is true. This may involve accepting that a relationship or situation is not healthy or beneficial, and choosing to walk away or make changes in order to prioritize well-being and joy again. It can also mean recognizing that we cannot control or possess someone else, ” I do not need to possess you to love you” I once dropped, because it is true and allowing them to be free to make their own choices and live their own lives is the best decision one can make. Letting go can be difficult, but it is at the root of a successful relationship, no grudges must be held.
Love is devotion
“oh my … the very image of devotion” as the two lovers exchange a faint smile, imprinted with a mix of pain, fear and uncertainty. Love involves a deep commitment and loyalty to someone – or something – the vision, the happiness, the union. Devotion shows up in different ways by giving your full attention, laying your phone down, putting effort in making time and meeting the other in gladness, be present a little bit every day. Loving someone often comes with the faithful inevitability to make sacrifices, and prioritize them in our lives, when your whole life is not them but you build your life with them and in consideration of them. Devotion also implies a sense of faithfulness and dedication, as we remain committed even in challenging circumstances. Love highlights the importance of being fully invested.
I am not saying that love is always this perfectly laid out, unfortunately, is more often than not the opposite, but in the midst of figuring it out I hope you find yourself a love that does not feel like settling down but a love that feels ever-growing, a love that feels magnificent, a love that is intentional, kind, resilient, a teacher, soothing and devoted. I hope you find a love that reaches for peace even in war. And if you find yourself that lucky, I hope you find it in yourself to be the kind of love you long prayed for.
For what it is worth,
I love you
2 thoughts on “Why you should never settle down – suite”
Hi Aja 🙂
“want both” = *wanting 2 things*
“both want” = *2 things doing the wanting*
Perhaps a small difference, but small can sometimes also be significant (enough to warrant a comment 😉 )
ah yes, bless you thank you so much for pointing that out, I should read myself out loud :,) Happy Valentines Day