Life, not love

It's about life, not love.

It was and is my dad's favourite line. Probably mum's too. Not that I was ever a hopeless romantic. But as teenagers do, you half listen and half think, how cold is that? Maybe that's how things worked in your times, but... just a bit outdated! They never tire of repeating the phrase. Whether we are sitting back lazily on the bed in our new house, in a quiet evening stroll beside the sea-facing resort pool in Bali, or chugging along a bumpy train in China. More and more this year, I have been thinking about this phrase, weighing up its truth, its value.

A: We did all the corny things that couples do, just sitting and holding hands. Beach, mountains, sunsets. It was nice, like being on drugs, all the time.
B: Or having a mental illness.
A: Now we see couples and laugh at them, ha. Well, you can't have that forever, the feeling fades. Unless you start a new relationship.
B: I guess you can't do that indefinitely.
A: Yeah, and it will never be the same as the first one.
A: He used to really love me, doing all the sweet things. He says all the right things now but...
B: He could do more?

Despite that, they are getting married this year.

We too laugh at young couples. Couples making out on open grass, blissfully oblivious to the other users of the busy park. Those glued tightly next to one another, so much so that they bump one another awkwardly and walk down the street in zig zags. The two in an adjacent table looking intently into each other's eyes, holding hands across the table, with an endless flow of soft sweet words and laughter. I guess they weren't too interested in the meal itself. Meanwhile, I eat in silence - looking intently at my mouth-watering, spicy crispy pork ribs, picturing how delicious another bite would be. Friends celebrating their one month, one and a half month, two months, three months, one hundred day anniversaries; that's nice, I say, but what I'm really thinking is, with that plus Christmas, Valentine's Day, birthdays and more, how many presents and special meals can you manage to buy in a year?!

As fire in a fireplace changes from hungry flames to a quieter glow, changes in relationships are inevitable. Perhaps necessary, because reality can't be held off forever. How quickly the buzz which is often called "love" gives way to "life". Doing life. Living with each other's imperfections, and somehow reconciling a growing realisation of differences in personality, backgrounds, interests, communication styles, ways of thinking, ways of feeling, basically everything. In handling daily life with studies, work, careers, household chores, church, children, property, finances, and more.

Life not love.

Mum and dad, is that what you meant? But, in a way, marriage is about love, as much as it is about life. Love, not the intoxicating feeling, but a quieter, selfless love that lasts and sees through the challenges of life. Also, I'm not old or cynical enough to agree with you completely just  yet - a little craziness, not every day not even every week, but once in awhile, would be nice.

love is more than a buzz
(Started drawing the original version of this whilst jotting down sermon notes!)


Ziph said...

I love your picture. :P

I can imagine that hanging in someone's house. (or the Louvre)

Love is such a ambiguous word.

I like your Dad's line. I guess marriage and any chronic form of love (e.g. children, other family) is about life. Their life becomes part of yours - you want the best for them.

Winnie said...

thanks ziph I got the inspiration from you, illustrating my posts :D

your phrase "chronic love" is great, implies some sort of chronic disease process haha

lina said...

This was a really thoughtful post, I really liked that line and can relate pretty much with your thoughts. We probably aren't old or cynical enough to agree and yes, once in a while would be nice... the comfort of living in each others life begins to be some sort of a routine so you just hope that there will be something a bit more just so you can feel what you felt at the start, to remind you that this can't be taken away and is the best thing ever...

Winnie said...

hey halina, thanks for sharing your thoughts. haha I miss how we used to chat about these things back in the days.

I guess no one can be at that stage where they're pursuing each other and having those feelings all the time, but once in awhile buzzes are probably a reasonable expectation. it comes with both people remembering to appreciate the other person, and putting in a bit of extra effort, to show love, care and thoughtfulness in how they treat the other person (which, I guess, is often forgotten in long term relationships)


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