Love and Time

See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land.  The fig tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance. Arise, come, my darling; my beautiful one, come with me.”   Song of Songs 2:11-13

We are wired for love.  It is written in our DNA.  Apart from love, humanity would not be what it is. To be human means pondering the unending quest to finding true love. The notion that we fall in love, in one giant swap, skin and bones and all is an illusion perpetrated all too well by Hollywood fantasy writers.  True love takes time to grow, like a plant.  Haste  the process, kiss the life goodbye.  Indeed, good plant life, or animal life, or human life for that matter needs the right conditions to flourish, to bring forth fruit, to excel at being life.  The romantic love you envision, the one that spurs butterflies in your stomach, yeah, the love you want to invest in that special someone, can only thrive along several parameters. Mere feelings won’t roll the ball. Pure excitement can’t sustain a life anchored to loving others, but an iron-willed determination to make it work, to stay committed and connected, to self-sacrifice for the sake of the other.

Love is a skill. It is driven by the will.  Our lack of skillful, conscientious loving is kin to the litany of heartaches and heartbreaks that turn humans into despots and haters. But learning how to love isn’t taught in K-12.  We know everything from genetic engineering to laser beams, but we haven’t quite figure out how fall in love wisely, to engage one another mindfully in the fine art of love. I can not churn out a love recipe here for you. Every loving experience will be unique to each. One thing though, that I can underscore, is that worthwhile love takes time. Take time to be a skillful lover.  Vesting it all in a dash of frenzy runs the risk of spoiling the plot and burning you out.  Save your sanity. Don’t fall head over heels for someone when first getting acquainted.  Do you get the strange sensation she is the one and only, that the stars are aligned because you met this or that particular cute creature?  Hmmmm. There are millions of people in God’s blue world, how certain are you he or she is the One and Only, the last water bottle in the desert?  Keep on breathing! Don’t suspend judgment. Give it time. Romance isn’t the place where emotions should trump reason. If you think you have fallen for the one, question yourself: Do you think that what you are experiencing at the moment is the real thing, the embodiment of your romantic longings?  You don’t know that. No one knows.  Give yourself a challenge by staying cool headed and objective. Placate those butterflies in your stomach. If you are reckless and launch yourself like a fool, without limitations and reservations, without questioning your motives and your goals for the relationship, then your romantic prospect might think there is no longer anything to prove to you.  Offer ample space for your prospect to discover you, to dig deep into your soul, to unpack your heart and mind.  Do likewise, but go at it cautiously, being mindful that this person in whom you have set your sights needs to be understood in all the ways that count.  A main flaw with modern dating and marriage is that we latch on to virtual strangers.  People are all too eager to take shortcuts.  But let me underscore that there is no such thing as falling in love at first sight.  With all due respect, we must look twice, or thrice.  Forget instant love.  You can’t cook a lasting relationship in the manner of microwave popcorn. Rather, approach romance like a long, slow savory stew.

If you go on declaring your love all too prematurely and carelessly, in a trivial way, then you are giving away the fight all too easily.  Let your prospect fight for you. Engage in a little hide and seek.  Give people space and be patient.  Don’t over compliment, over-do favors, calls, gifts, texts, visits, etc. People do get smothered for a lack of air!  Remember the tiny plant?  It needs water, oxygen, and warmth, but not to the extent that it will drown or burn.  Human kind being what it is, we tend to lean on complacency, self-satisfaction, and entitlement.   We take things for granted.  Never, never, never allow yourself to be taken for granted by a romantic prospect, and don’t dare going that route either.  This person might be the best treasure yet, treat it as such.  The problem with complacent lovers is that after a while they no longer feel the urge to pitch in to the relationship, believing that, well, since you have been all too eager to be a puppy in your loving, you are in the purse!  They got you.  Unless you have exchanged marital vows, don’t let anybody conclude that you are captive under the belt, wrapped over their little finger.  Unless you have committed each other in love, you belong to no one, really. If someone says “I got you!” it’s probably the police. It doesn’t follow however that you are to enlist as a full time member of the player club.  The problem with players is that they only play games. And games end shortly, before moving on to a new one.  Don’t fall victim. Avoid becoming another casualty, and please stay away from the ploy of playboys and playgirls, users and abusers, those devoted to seduce and destroy all in the name of lust masquerading as love.

If dating and contemplating a serious prospect, back away a little. Be missed. Skip a text and a phone call here and there.  Don’t always be available. Be scarce. Remain a challenge to your prospect and hence you will increase your value.  Your prospect should think they could lose you, any time.  Don’t become a trophy too early on or risk cheapening yourself.  People value those things the most that cost them dearly.  Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.  Over revealing yourself too soon may place you in the dispensable bin, because frankly, we get bored with what is familiar and ordinary. No one can’t treat you as ordinary if the intention all along is recruiting that person who will help you write your greatest love story.  If neither of you are mutually special and extraordinary, then what are you doing? Give it up and move on.  Love is not a trivial, dispensable thing.  Love is God’s greatest invention and as such it should forever awe us into giving our best.

Keep the mystery and suspense rolling.  Stay cool, calm and collected. Refuse the temptation to cast yourself as a savior, romance god, or the fountain of seduction.  People can see through pretensions, pick up artists, and scammers.  Be yourself because there’s only one of you. But be conscientious in your approach. What is it that you want? Do you really want him or her, or simply something about them?  Ask the questions, but also keep some quiet. People should be allowed to reveal who they are instead of you nagging and prompting them to. Again, allow for dignity and respect by letting people be who they truly are, instead of imposing an agenda of your imagination.  All said, let the waters of your passion run, not like a flood, but like a small spring, slow but steady. At the proper time, you can discover for yourself if this relationship is safe for love, and thus, to let it run like a flood. In the meanwhile, save your best wine for last. Don’t gulp it all like tequila shots.  You don’t want to be drip either, else your prospect will get the unsettling message that you don’t care. And not caring isn’t an option, ever, in the pursuit and attainment of true, lasting love.

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