I was sitting in the break room where I am employed with two of my female co-workers. We were all talking and they both brought up there relationships with their current significant others. The conversation went something like this.
Girl one: Oh there is trouble in paradise, that is for sure! I don't know what it is but my boyfriend and I have been fighting a lot lately. Something has really changed between us.
Girl Two: Yeah I know what you mean. The same has been going on with me and my boyfriend. It's like our feelings have really changed for each other.
Girl One: Yeah, I totally get it. I just don't feel in love anymore. The feeling is... kind of gone.
Both girls left to get back to work and I sat there at the table for the remainder of my break just thinking about everything they had said. It made me sad to think about the ways they were struggling in their relationships and how unfulfilled the were. But also, I couldn't help but realize that they were definitely missing a very fundamental part of what love truly is.
It is easy to see love as a feeling, especially when you are at the beginning of a romantic relationship with someone. It is easy to get caught up in the illusion of rainbows and butterflies and nice feelings. It is easy to see this amazing person you have entered into a special bond with as "perfect"... until suddenly a few months or even years down the road, you realize they aren't as perfect as you once may have thought.
I am in a very happy, committed, and loving relationship. In the beginning, I saw my love as nothing but perfect. He could do no wrong. And I think, he mostly thought the same of me... I think. There were so many good feelings. But the longer our relationship went on, the more that we both realized that we were far from perfect. I realized I had a lot of trust issues and overthought a lot of things about our relationship. I had to work hard to improve these things, and he had things he realized he needed to work on as well. We both had to (and have to) work hard at communicating with each other, and being 100% open and honest with each other. We had to realize that we are both totally human and completely imperfect. We both struggle with things and have to help each other out in order for our relationship to work.
I don't know about you, but I see a huge issue in society today. We are losing the true essence love to a culture that deceives us into thinking that all it is, is just a good feeling. Once the feeling "disappears", it's time to give up and move on to the next person who will hopefully give us the nice feelings again, instead of fighting for something good that took time, and effort to build.
I am by no means an expert, but this is what I believe my co-workers and so many others are missing. I believe we are missing the fact that while love can often give the illusion of a good feeling, it is an action, and actually a lot of hard work. It's putting the other persons wants and needs above your own. It's being selfless. It takes a lot of your time (and money) and energy. It's communication and doing everything you can to support the other person. Cheering your love on in their dreams and passions. It's late nights hashing out an argument. It's forgiveness. It's getting frustrated, and it's moving on. It's not giving 50/50 but 100/100. It's realizing that you are both HUMAN and will definitely screw up. It is being humble. It is realizing that you can't be everything they need, but doing your best to be as much as you can be for them. ...Oh yeah, love is also a whole lot of laughter and sometimes it's super weird.
Love is so much more than a feeling. Feelings will come and go, but true love, when treated right, is steady and strong. Whether it is in a romantic relationship, friendship or between family, love will persevere and remain firm. There will be obstacles that will come and the initial "feeling" of love will come and fade, the question is whether or not we are willing to stay strong, hold onto, and work hard for the authentic definition of love that will truly last a lifetime.