It is that time of the year, yet again. Valentine’s Day, Lovers’ Day, Chocolates Day, Singles Awareness Day, Anti-Singles Day, Singles Mingle Day, Feast of Saint Valentine, whatever you call it. The disgust for commercialization aside; I still find values in this second most celebrated holiday around the world following New Year’s Day.
The most commonly heard buzzwords around this season are none other than love and relationship. No matter what ethnicities or nationalities you come from, love is a universal virtue, recently amplified by western cultures by associating it to romanticism and archetypal representations.
Nonetheless, the definitions of love vary from culture to culture, from people to people. What is love? What makes relationships work? I am turning myself into Dr. Phil this issue and will try to figure out what the core elements that keep relationships burning are.
Relationship is construction
Mainstream cultures have taught us that love could happen at first sight and that being in a relationship means constantly feeling “in love.” The moment that warm and fuzzy feeling inside us fades, we begin to feel detached and lost. A feeling-driven relationship makes us feel good; however, what makes most relationships work is trust and mutual attractions. For all of us who have been in a romantic relationship, we know that biological drive doesn’t drive our passion too far in a relationship. Bodily desire may bring us together, but it is the work we put into relationships that will keep things going. So, keep building, keep working in your relationship.
Relationship is communication
Communication is key in any relationship. Love is more than just a few touches and smiles and eye contact. Love languages come in many forms. Some people enjoy physical contact (cuddles, pets, hugs, etc.) while some appreciate verbal acknowledgment. Whatever it is, people in relationships need to get connected. Communication is key to many successful relationships as people are collectivist creatures. Stay open with the people you love and don’t discourage difficult conversations. Always try to put yourself into their shoes to understand where the people you love are coming from. Just remember, you can only benefit from communication if you appreciate them. The moment you turn your listening ears off, communication stops and negligence embarks.
Relationship is commitment
In the first point I mentioned work. Relationship means putting oneself into a committed context. Yet, commitment doesn’t mean all-time happiness. When you are committed into a relationship, you are opening possibilities for discouragement or disappointment. The fact is, we cannot avoid those aspects of an imperfect humanity. Since people have flaws, we are bound to making mistakes or what could be seen as wrong in our lovers’ eyes. Hence, staying committed in a relationship means being accepting and understanding. Staying committed also means that you train your mind to not give in to temptations and undesired confrontations. Know that it is normal for human to be allured by lust or temporal excitement, but we should make a conscious decision when faced with situations that are trying our commitment.
Dr. John Adams and Dr. Constance Avery-Clark of Coral Springs, Fla. say that there is “not just one right type of relationship.” There are multiple styles that associate with happiness and longevity. There is also no measurement for a good relationship.
Just remember that neither our momentous senses nor “feelings” are the best indication for a good relationship. From a constructivist perspective, I contend that we give life into love and relationship by making meanings out of what’s happening around us. So, buying a bouquet of roses for your lovers may mean “love,” but what it really is, is simply an act of giving.
The above are merely guidelines for those who are working out a relationship. Determine for yourself what works best and what doesn’t. At the end of the day, Dr. Phil is not going to sleep in between you and your lover to help solve your issues.
To all of us observing this Hallmark Holiday, I wish you good luck and a charming day.