Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Sentimental Seventeen

“We are told that people stay in love because of chemistry, or because they remain intrigued with each other, because of many kindnesses, because of luck. But part of it has got to be forgiveness and gratefulness.”
- Ellen Goodman

"Love doesn't mean anything if you're not willing to make a commitment."
- Nicholas Sparks

There is no better way for me to describe how our roller coaster relationship had survived almost two decades (November 8) than with the quotes above. It all started with the word "commitment".

It never crossed my mind when I turned twenty that my single-since-birth status would take an unexpected turn. I was, after all, a member of the NBSB club (no-boyfriend-since-birth), and my mother was actually getting concerned about it. Then, one night, everything changed. A few minutes of casual conversation with a total stranger turned into recurring chats, email exchanges and telephone calls. A month after which we decided to meet and the rest, as they say, was history.

Never in my life had I met a person whom I felt very much connected with, considering it was our first encounter. We were both comfortable with each other as if we've known each other for a long time. I told myself that this would just be like the other platonic relationships with all other guy friends I have (some of whom I was friends with since I was a little girl). He was sweet and thoughtful as they were but there was just something more about him. I couldn't pinpoint what it was then, probably because I was sort of in denial (of how I was feeling for him). 

We enjoyed each other's company a lot. The calls, emails and chats became more frequent than they already were and the meet ups became a weekly ritual. He made time for me even with his busy schedule as a young professional (and despite the distance he had to drive to get to my campus) and I looked forward to spending time with him, a breather to my university life.

The time came when he had to let me know of his intentions and I was forced to face my biggest fear - I had to admit to myself (and, eventually, to him) that there was this intense, inexplicable feeling I have never felt before for someone else. There was a battle within me (head vs heart) whether I should give in to my emotions or not. I have always been good at keeping a hands off approach when it comes to bf/gf relationship. I had this mindset that most guys have commitment and loyalty issues (except my close guy friends, of course). I've witnessed friends who cried over irresponsible guys and not engaging in relationships was my way of protecting myself from possible heartaches caused by such failed relationships which I've seen friends suffer from. In the end though, I succumbed to the callings of the heart and prepared myself for the unknown.

Ours wasn't a long story, rather it was a short and sweet courtship (if you can even call it that). The all-important word that swayed me was "commitment" - a term that would scare out the insincere but make the earnest stand out. It was a promise to always love and cherish each other, and only each other. To always be loyal no matter what, to always work things out. It made me feel secure that it was what he deemed important in getting into a relationship, not just empty words of love. To me it meant he was dead serious. I caved in and ventured into the mysteries of the unexplored - the life of being in a bf/gf relationship with him.

Through the years I learned that saying "I love you" is just the first phase of a relationship. It's an empty promise without commitment. It's commitment that makes couples work hard in keeping their relationships. It's commitment that separates lasting, loving relationships from the rest.

I'm grateful for the gift of a loving and committed boyfriend (for 17 years) and husband (for 14 years). May we always be guided by the endless cycle of gratefulness and forgiveness through the years. And may we always be reminded of the commitment we made to each other when we decided to begin this journey together.

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