May 13, 2009
"That Loving Feeling"
Anonymous OP-ED: "We all dream of "falling in love" and being totally swept away in a wave of passion and excitement. We are certain that when we meet our destined one we will know without doubt in our hearts that this is "the one."
We all dream of "falling in love" and being totally swept away in a wave of passion and excitement. We are certain that when we meet our destined one we will know without doubt in our hearts that this is "the one." We have this vision in our minds of how it's supposed to be, and when reality fails to live up to our expectations we are certain something must be wrong in the relationship.
We struggle to understand why our surrounding world hasn't suddenly burst into shades of extravagant color, why our hearts are still beating calmly and not pounding wildly with excitement. Why is it that the ground is just as solid beneath our feet as it was the day before? Where is that dizzy floaty sensation of pure and complete happiness? Where is that profound feeling of sheer bliss and unbelievable joy? Surely something must be amiss...
Many suitable and potential relationships fail to succeed and continue to marriage due to unrealistic expectations that either both or one of the dating partners possess. In our times today when we are so easily influenced by the secular world and their perception of love and romance, that it has captured our imagination and our ability to view beyond it. Subconsiously, it has weaved its way into our lives, corrupting our minds into believing that if we don't feel that magical feeling, then there is something seriously lacking. We fail to see what's important by getting so wrapped up in trying to capture that feeling, we put all else aside, that we don't focus on the greater picture.
There are some people who experience strong excitement at the early stages of dating and then panic when that fades seemingly without any explanation. It's important to be cognizant that love functions in stages. This initial excitement is simply the first level of love and attraction, and once this fades to the next level, does not mean that the relationship course isn't proceeding the way it should be. Rather it is a sign that the relationship has moved on to the next level which generally leads to feelings of contentment and ease just by being with the other person. Naturally there has to be an attraction, a genuine liking towards the person until in time this leads to forming a connection, a bridge of understanding between two people.
Dating is to prepare us for marriage. It's laying out the foundations of what's going to lie ahead and seeing if we have the right ingredients to make the relationship blossom into love. Love isn't something that is born. It's created through a feeling of contentment and satisfaction that comes from being with another person and over time leads to something stronger and deeper.
When people decide to stop dating a person due to lack of excitement, they excuse themselves by saying that the person is everything they could have possibly wished for, but they feel an absence of feeling that is holding them back from getting engaged, most times not even giving it a chance to grow into something more concrete. We live in a world where everything is instant, where immediate gratification of our wants and desires is not only a possibility but has become the normality. Everything is available at a touch of a button. From instant contact via cell phones to direct internet access, the consistency of time almost ceases to exist. Our minds have become so accustomed to immediate results that when a person doesn't feel that instant connection, that instant romance, he/she walks away without giving the relationship the right attention it needs in order to develop further.
Certainly one has to feel a connection with the with person he/she is dating. When speaking about an "absence of feeling" obviously this does not mean to say couples should get engaged based on zero feelings. On the contrary, one has to feel an emotional connection to some degree in order to visualize a lifetime together. However in some cases, two people meet, and and there is a deep emotional connection, both feel they have what it takes to build a healthy and successful marriage based on mutual respect and concern for each other etc. Both recognize the special qualities in one another and feel relaxed and comfortable in each other's company. They share common goals and values and both feel they're heading in the same direction. But this still leaves room for doubt in one of the partner's mind as to whether this is really right because he/she is waiting for that magical feeling to take over them. When this happens it's essential that the individual himself turns to guidance from an experienced person or mashpia who will hopefully help him/her see things differently, and clarify his/her perspective before, G-d forbid, ending what could have been a very successful marriage.
We often hear people talking about the shidduch crisis that has taken the world by storm. We struggle to come up with miraculous answers that we hope will put an end to this major catastrophe, but possibly the answer lies closer to home than we care to admit. It lies within each and every one of us in this position to honestly ask ourselves if we are being realistic when it comes to understanding ourselves and our expectations.
On this note may we merit to see many more simchas, and we should all find our true soulmates now!