The program, “The Bachelor” certainly changes the concept of romance, doesn’t it? Over a number of seasons of bachelors and bachelorettes we’ve seen lots of “romance”—dating, kissing, competing ad nauuseum. When you are competing with others over a relationship doesn’t it get complicated and superficial? It seems so to me. We’ve seen the final choice bring stress and doubt and end up in the tabloids as a failed romance. There have been a few weddings and a couple of marriage that are still intact. The questions comes to my mind, “Do they love each other or do they just want to win?” Can they build a relationship that works and can they create a romantic love that lasts?
It’s hard for the audience to tell what’s going on because the at-the-time bachelor or bachelorette says the same thing to and about each of the men/women. At the end of the series he/she is supposed to ask one of them to marry him/her. There couldn’t have had more than six dates with any one person unless we see only the proverbial tip of the iceberg. The filming spans approximately thee months. Is that time for a lasting relationship to grow? Perhaps. Perhaps not. (My guess is that after the program has aired and the couple can begin to live a more “normal” life they can begin to build the relationship in a meaningful and deeper way.
What happened to getting to know each other first? What happened to seeing how compatible you are on all levels —emotional, physical, intellectual and spiritual? Have we come to believe that marriage and commitment are jokes? I believe most people have more common sense than this but those who don’t can easily believe that love is like this and get carried away in a whirlwind of lust and romantic ideas. But when there are bills to pay and diapers to change, things don’t look so rosy.
We seen to be confusing love with infatuation. But at it’s best love is confusing—in fact it’s almost impossible to define and describe. It’s easier to say what it isn’t than what it is. “I just love pizza” certainly signifies a different kind of love than “I love Jim” or “I love Julie” and certainly different from “‘Til death do us part.”
In a committed relationship, there must be more than physical attraction, great sex and fun, fun fun if it is to last. The ingredients to a successful love relationship and lasting compatibility may vary somewhat with the culture and with the couple but generally they are:
- A mutual cherishing one of the other. When you cherish something you value it and care for it—it is precious to you. If you do not cherish your significant other do not proceed into a committed relationship. This precludes the need to “overhaul” your mate in any way.
- Mutual respect
- A sense of humor and the ability to laugh an one’s own foibles.
- A forgiving spirit
- A balance of power and responsibility
- A desire to give to rather than take from your partner
- A commitment to make the relationship work and have a mutual plan for success
- A “fight plan” so that when tempers flare and trouble ensues there’s an agreed-on plan to deal with it in a loving way.
- Meaningful loving gestures and deeds on a daily basis. Find ways to show you care. Little things add up to wonderful positive feelings.
- Appreciation for who your partner is and what he/she does. The appreciation needs to be expressed often.
- Maintaining mutual interests and having individual interests as well
- Find ways to answer the question, “What do you do when it stops being new?”
Notice that I didn’t talk about great sex. If those qualities are present the sex has almost got to be great and, if it isn’t at the time, both are able and willing to find ways to make it fantastic.
With these ingredients present a relationship can grow and deepen over the years and you can be one of those beautiful older couples walking down the street holding hands and smiling at each other.
Is there anything more beautiful than that?