A Love Struck Nation

Karen Quiñones-Axalan
Posted February 12, 2019 from Philippines

It's the time of the year when red hearts flood commercial spaces in the Philippines. 

The prices of flowers especially roses spike up, together with chocolates, desserts and cards. 

The owners of coffeeshops, concert halls, movie theaters, restaurants, hotels and malls are smiling from ear to ear. Business looks good on days approaching Valentine's Day. 

Filipinos are hopeless romantics. I could say we are a lovestruck nation. Having a special someone is part of the life goal. There seems to be a constant search for someone to love in this side of the world. It shows how local films earned millions from love stories and how viral the love songs are. Social media is filled with memes about seeking, finding, pursuing or losing love.

There is nothing wrong about LOVE. The problem comes when we have a distorted idea of love. 

If you visit the Philippines, dear sisters, don't be surprised to hear people say "I love you" often. It's good to hear that three magic words, but proving them is another thing. 

Love is more than an attraction to a person. It is not just a feeling. It is an action word of showing importance to another person. As a noun, it is a decision or a commitment.

Where is LOVE in the rising number of teenage pregnancies and single mothers? 

Where is LOVE when men become fathers to multiple firstborn children from different mothers?

Where is LOVE when the impregnated women are left alone in raising their "unwanted" children?

Where is LOVE when there is abuse within the relationship?

So many questions to ask to test those declarations of love. 

I've been in relationship with my husband for almost ten years. We'll be celebrating our seventh anniversary this year. I learn that it takes preparedness and maturity to enter marriage. We are raising two children. The eldest has special needs. It is not the happily ever after the Fairy Tales promised. Marriage takes real, mature LOVE.

Young lovers cannot see the reality of love. Weddings are grand celebrations in our country. It's the highlight of the undying love for each other to be celebrated and witnessed by family and friends of the couple. Sadly, they invested and prepared for the wedding more than the marriage itself. After the honeymoon period, reality strikes. No one is putting their best foot forward anymore. Disappointment comes when their “ideal” partner is as ordinary as they are.

 My heart breaks for those young people who blindy enters relationships in the name of love. Attraction and the thrill of finding the one is great, but commitment for the relationship to work  requires deep work. It means accepting your partner for who he/she is and being his/her safe space; that when things go wrong, both of you work them out with respect. 

If I could speak to younger ladies, I would tell them to love themselves wholly first, to fill that lack within them and pursue their passion and become their own version of what a woman is. Don’t rush in finding someone to love.

If they were wounded and abused in the past, I would advise them to process their healing first. Because finding a man to love or be loved cannot heal that wound. It is like putting a Band-Aid to a broken limb. 

I know what I'm taking about because I entered marriage thinking it was the next thing to do on society's checklist. I thought I could just block my traumas away and moved on to a new civil status. But marriage is not the answer. We cannot run away from unresolved issues. The more we block them, certain circumstances will trigger them back. 

It is a blessing that my husband has been instrumental in processing my healing journey and I to him. We didn't start as romantic partners who date on Valentine's Day. Our wedding day was a simple gathering. We're two misfits who established shared goals and values. 

It’s disturbing that many relationships and marriages today lead into heartbreaks and depression. We read news of suicide cases because of rejection, friendzone, breakups. 

Dear sisters, Love lives within each of us. The first recipient must be ourselves. It is not selfish; it's necessary for we couldn't give what we do not have. 

 

 

Comments 23

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jlanghus
Feb 13
Feb 13

Hi Karen,

Thanks for sharing your wise and very true post. I agree with everything you said. I married at 22, thinking that was the thing to do, and that I had found my soul mate. I felt like I could mold him into who I wanted and that he would fulfill the emptiness in every aspect of my life. Yeah. Hmm. I think this idealism is slowly becoming outmoded in the media, families, friends, and relationships. At least I hope so. I knew there would be hard work, commitment and compromise involved, but I didn't really know what that meant or entailed until I was in the relationship. I knew my parents were hardly the best role models. If I was 22 again, I would definitely follow your advice first, and learn to love, honor and respect myself first, and I would also become more independent. Then, I would manifest/seek out a partner who loved, honored, and respected me, was honest, responsible for their actions and also wanted to be their best selves (read this recently and it totally makes sense). Because I wasn't looking for that then, and accepted quiet a bit less, I'm now having to backtrack. That's fine, but there is always the element of uncertainty since it wasn't initially considered. And, I also think that knowing your partner's "love language" is also important. While I don't recommend the book, I totally recommend the concept that your partner will almost definitely have a different way of expressing love for you, and both parties have to acknowledge this and express their partner's love language, otherwise, ultimately the marriage will suffer greatly.

Hello, Jill,

Thank you for your thoughtful response and for sharing your reflection on your marriage. I think many women can relate to you. I even thought getting married at 30 years old is matured enough. But now I know, it's not about the age but by being whole and healed as a woman.

I'm proud of you for your commitment to work your marriage out with your husband. On the love and relationship part, I have mentors (because love, courtship and marriage are common topics in our country) so I can say we were somehow prepared. Parenting special needs children have a high rate of divorce, but Grace kept us stronger together.

Yes, we know about love languages. We are intentional in filling each other's love tank. What is your love language, Jill?

Mine are words of affirmation and quality time.

There is also a meme I found on Self-Love Language. I'll post that to share to our WP sisters.

Thanks, Jill.

jlanghus
Feb 14
Feb 14

Hi Karen,

You're welcome:-) Exactly on it not mattering on age. Plenty of people get married multiple times or later in life, and still can't figure out how to make a marriage work. I definitely don't think most people realize going in how much work it will take, on both parties, to make it work and thrive. It doesn't have to be hard work, but it does take work. That's great that you had mentors. I don't think a lot of people do, though. They just repeat what their parents had, or did, without questioning a lot of it. Seems to me, anyway.

That's great that you've heard about the love languages. What did you think of the book? I was impressed by the principles but not the outdated viewpoints and misogyny. My love languages are the same, actually, with some personal touch, too, since I didn't have a lot of that growing up.

Cool. Okay. Looking forward to seeing it.

Hope you're having a good one:-)

Hello, Jill,

I haven’t read the book yet, but I’m familiar with the gist of the five love languages. It’s based from the author’s experiences on counselling married couples.

Oh, nice to know about your love languages.

Yes, when I can find time to write about it.

Thanks, Jill!

jlanghus
Feb 17
Feb 17

Hey there cutie:-)

Nice, new haircut, there:-)

Yeah, it's pretty straightforward to me.

You're welcome!

Haha. I wish I could color it, too. Thanks, Jill.

jlanghus
Feb 18
Feb 18

You can! Have you tried red or blonde highlights? You could even go the whole hog, but it would be a lot of bleach. I know all about that...ha:)

You're welcome. Hope you're having a good one!

I could easily do that when I have someone to assist me in bleaching and coloring. Otherwise, it's very expensive to have it done at the hair salon.

Thanks, Jill!

jlanghus
Feb 19
Feb 19

Oh, I see. What about a beauty school? I used to do that growing up. Either that or it's time to enlist your hubby...ha:-)

What is a beauty school, Jill?

jlanghus
Feb 20
Feb 20

Where beauticians learn how to cut hair, etc. Where they get their certification. It's cheap because they're learning and need to practice. The downside is you can get used to someone and then they leave. A lot of times, though, they are happy to continue working with you once they have complete their certification.

Ohhh. I’d love that. Thanks for the idea, Jill. :)

jlanghus
Feb 20
Feb 20

For real.... let's see it!!

You're welcome. Love to help sisters in need...ha:-)

Haha. Sisters in need...of new hair colors. :D

jlanghus
Feb 20
Feb 20

That's right:-)

Sis. Salifu
Feb 13
Feb 13

My dear sis. I love the last sentence of your very much "Love lives within each of us. The first recipient must be ourselves. It is not selfish; it's necessary for we couldn't give what we do not have. "

This is so amassing and on point during this February month weird things happened actually.
Thanks for the food at the right time, I hope a lot out there at least will draw a lesson or two from it.
Regards

Hello, Sis Salifu,

Thank you for your words of encouragement. I'm glad that this post came at the right time for you. This is how connected we are. One day, you might write something that I would need in a particular moment of my life. Keep writing, too.

If you need to share what you are going through, please don't hesitate to message me.

Paulina Nayra
Feb 13
Feb 13

Oh dear dear Karen,
I love the last paragraph. Women, young and old, should be reminded to take care of themselves. Who else will?
Happy Valentine's Day to you and hubby. Today is a special day for me because I am able to log on to my old account at World Pulse and hoping to write again soon.
See you after Valentine's.

Ate Pauline

Hello, Ate Pauline,

Thank you for reading! I am happy that you've retrieved your old WP account. Thank you for reaching out to me. I am looking forward to your stories. Happy Hearts Day to you and your family, too.

See you soon!

laison sylvie
Feb 14
Feb 14

Thank you so much sister, am so thrilled with your write up.

Thank you for your encouragement, sister.:)

Sharon Bhagwan Rolls

Hi I was struck by the description of the Valentine's Day theme which is just the same here in Fiji including being decked out in red ..which had me thinking how do we also get the mass movement to commemorate "Thursday in Black" which is the reminder of the violence that persists behind all the "trimmings" ... thanks for sharing!

Hello, Sharon,

It's nice to know how similar Fiji is with our country during Valentine's Day. It is a great idea to participate on the "Thursdays in Black" movement. That is not yet popular in the Philippines. Thank you for your insightful feedback.

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