Don't Settle for "Love"
It was a beautiful day in late September. The sun was shining, and there was an occasional cool breeze that comforted happy hour diners who sat under colorful umbrellas on the deck. The restaurant was very busy, but Terrance managed to secure a table in the far right corner of the patio. He was sitting there in his black tailored suit, sipping his water while waiting on Jessica’s arrival.
About five minutes later, Terrance sees Jessica squeezing through the crowd, and then stopping to look around for him. She was dressed in a form fitting black dress with black pumps, hair in a high bun, and soft makeup to complete her classy look. “Over here!” he said while waving his hand. He stood to greet her with a smile, embraced her, and then helped her into her seat.
“You look great!” Terrance exclaimed.
“Thank you, so do you! Look at us matching! ” Jessica giggled.
“I see that! We’re looking like a power couple already!”
Jessica laughed again, and began looking at the menu.
“I’m sorry we didn’t get to talk much during the first date, since I chose to take you to the comedy show. What a genius I am,” Terrance said as he hits the side of his forehead.
“It’s fine. I really enjoyed myself! Besides, that just leaves a lot for us to talk about now,” Jessica said, smiling and reassuring him.
They ordered their meals and the conversation flowed well. They talked about a little bit of everything; their upbringing, work, their current goals, and relationships.
Then Terrance asked a question that was simple enough, yet it completely caught Jessica off guard.“Have you ever truly been in love?”
That question stopped Jessica in her tracks, and she had to really think about it. When asked this question in the past, she would readily answer “yes” because she had been in relationships where “I love you's” were expressed. Nevertheless, with growth comes maturity; and she wanted to really think about it and give the most sincere answer that she could. The more Jessica thumbed through the archives of her mind and analyzed things, the more she realized that both, she and Terrance, were going to get a well thought out, honest answer to that question for the first time.
Jessica said, “You know…I would usually say yeah, sure I have. However, after thinking things through, I can honestly say that I have never been in love. Infatuated? Yes. Attached? A number of times. Have I truly been in love? I have not. Wow…”
Terrance replied, “I feel the same way.”
Jessica then said, “I realize that I would have been settling if I stayed in any of those situations, since I had not experienced true love. Even still, I did learn a lot about love from the people I have been with. I know what it should look like and what it should not look like.”
I don’t know about you all, but like Jessica, I usually can only, in hindsight, clearly see that most situations that I was involved in wasn’t love at all. A lot of times, we confuse lust and infatuation with love. For me personally, after the infatuation stage ends and the rose-colored glasses fall off, I realize that I was just settling for the semblance of love; a poor replica that was nothing more than forced moments and false happiness just to say “I got somebody.”
I have found myself in faux love affairs by immersing myself in the physical and what had become familiar and routine to me. It felt like love because this was who I was used to at the time, and I was comfortable in whatever routine the person and I shared, even if it was unhealthy.
The majority of my “fake love” experiences have not left me with regret, but with invaluable lessons. Like Jessica, I not only learned what it is that I don’t want, but I also was able to embrace and cherish the positive characteristics in some of those that I spent time with, that I would like to see manifested in my Mr. Forever.
The lessons that I learned, that I’m sure Jessica learned as well, are many, but not settling until you get the real deal has to be at the forefront. What I have learned is that being in love should feel fairly effortless when two people are positively contributing to the growth of the relationship, and want to be solely with one another. It should feel secure because honesty is the cornerstone of the relationship; where integrity and truth resides, so does trust. This is a bit cliché, but it is so true…you become a better person because of each other. Generosity is shown in abundance from both people involved. Things done for one another are not viewed as sacrificial, and no one is keeping tally of what he or she did for the other. Everything done is done out of love. When you are in love, the other person is your safe haven and happy place. They feel like home. All in all, I learned from various experiences that 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8 perfectly encompasses what love is and what it should be.
Life lessons have taught me that being in love is an incomparably, delightful experience. Even if you have not been in love, but have heard stories of true love and have learned what it should look and feel like, those things alone should be reason enough not to settle. To miss out on having all those wonderful things and more would be tragic. Ask yourself the hard questions, learn from your experiences, and strive for the best. Remember, settling for scraps does not keep you fed, they continually leave you starving.