Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.
-Song of Solomon 8:4
What a beautiful verse which reminds us that love, when rushed can burn you but love when allowed to bloom on its own, can last a lifetime. It makes me recall the stupid mistakes I committed when I was young.
By the time I graduated from Grade 7, I’ve already had 3 girl friends. By 1st year, several more were added. By the time I was 26 and getting married, I’ve already had 50 relationships. I don’t know if that’s the Padilla blood in me but one thing is for sure — I had a problem distinguishing real love from infatuation and today, I realize that I made mistakes because I’m an action guy. I quickly jump into a relationship simply because “I feel” instead of testing what that “feeling” really is.
I know God allowed me to go through this so that I can help other people. So here are my tips for you, regardless of whether you are male or female, young or old. I hope that my children, as well as other people, can learn from this too.
- Build a friendship first.
A lasting romance will always have a good foundation of friendship. Most of the time, romance without a friendship base becomes a short term fling or even a one night stand. Why? Because you jumped into a relationship with a person you hardly knew. So during the time you’re expecting to love and be loved, discover your differences first. Sometimes, even your premature relationship cannot withstand that. It’s purely based on what you felt at that moment (which is usually wrong). Allow the “honeymoon” feeling or the excitement of finding someone to subside first before deciding on whether to take the friendship one step further.
Friendship is not a guarantee of a lasting relationship but you can be sure that a lasting relationship is based on friendship.
What I love about my wife is we mean it when we say we are best friends. I am proud of that. We have great time together and enjoy each other’s company. We always joke around that when we are old and weak, we know we’ll still get a good laugh just by talking.
Allow your relationship to blossom into a real friendship before deciding where to go next. When I say “real friendship” it means you being able to show who you really are without being conscious or afraid that you (that includes all your flaws, issues and baggage) might turn the other person off.
- Don’t entrust your heart to someone too quickly.
Mr. Big says it this way: “Oh baby baby, it’s a wild world. ?I’ll always remember you like a child girl. You know I’ve seen a lot of what the world can do, And it’s breaking my heart in two. Cause I never want to see you sad girl. Don’t be a bad girl.”
Sad but true. The reality is that the world is full of wolves waiting for its next victim to devour. You may feel secure because of the friends around you but the only person who can watch you 24/7 is yourself. Also, sometimes, even the friends who you count on to look after you are wolves themselves.
Trust people but not to the point of allowing them to hurt you – at least not during the early stages of a relationship. Through time, you will know who you can trust with your heart, your money, your secrets and later on with just about everything. However, they become trustworthy because they’ve proven themselves faithful over time.
- Don’t get attached …. Yet!
What is emotional intimacy? First, this is about sharing yourself. I’ve often said, my life is an open book! But not a single person knows 100% of me. I usually give 20% to each one so that at the end of my life, if you find 5-6 people who know different aspects of me and put them all together, you will find my complete story.
When you start dating, don’t share too much too quickly because you create an emotional attachment specially when you talk about your past love life. When you talk about your past, you talk about your frustrations and why it failed, then the other person suddenly avoids showing those traits and you get naturally attracted to that person’s facade.
Second, its also about the use of the “L” word and saying “I love you” casually, either verbal or even just via text (I can’t even say “I miss you” without meaning it!). Love is a very powerful word. It is far different from attraction, like, and most especially lust. So before you say 143, make sure you know what you are saying and mean it. In short, don’t tell someone “I love you” simply because you have strong feelings for them otherwise it loses its meaning and becomes something you just tell anyone.
I have to admit, I’ve gone to bed (many times) with people who weren’t my girlfriend. I’ve done it with people who I didn’t have any emotional attachments to or any attachment at all. Many times we’d agree that there would be “no strings attached”. But guess what, someone still got hurt.
Why? However you look at it, physical Intimacy (or even just holding hands) causes you to feel warm inside (that’s why God made the skin the biggest organ of the body and why babies want to be cuddled). The problem is, this can be very confusing. Physical affection can make you think your relationship is better or deeper than it really is.
Don’t be a step ahead in terms of physical intimacy. While still dating, don’t hold hands. Why should you when you’re just in the “checking if were compatible” stage? When you’ve formally committed to be in a relationship, save sex for marriage. This doesn’t mean doing everything else except that because the problem with walking on the edge is that it doesn’t take much to push you over it. Hopefully, you’re committed to wait for marriage until doing all those intimate acts. Don’t rush things. You’ll get there anyway. It’s like receiving your gift weeks prior to Christmas. If you open your presents right away, you lose the excitement on the actual Christmas day itself.
Remember: To stumble into the sin of sex you need 3 things – time, place and partner. Without one, sin won’t bloom. Make sure these 3 things are never present all at the same time or bad things can happen.
Let’s admit, sometimes we are with someone because society expects us to be with them. You know this when you go to a party and suddenly people will look for someone who we are regularly seen with. They are now associated with us. When this happens, we become pressured and try extra hard to be “it”.
Spare yourself of the trouble of having to explain things when they don’t work out. When people begin to ask, clear things up to them. Give them the real score and just distance yourself.
- See several people.
There is a saying “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”. A lot of people ditch their friends (and their life) when they start dating. Then they show up when they’ve broken up, counting on their friends to alleviate them from the pain. For your sake – DONT!!!! This is actually one of my major turn offs. I want to date a girl who is complete, not someone who is dependent on me. Let your partner know that before he or she came, you had a life and you intend to keep it that way. Relationships should compliment not replace your life.
Let me share with you the lyrics of “Somebody” by Depeche Mode. This hits the nail right on the head:
I want somebody to share
Share the rest of my life
Share my innermost thoughts
Know my intimate details
Someone who’ll stand by my side
And give me support
And in return
She’ll get my support
She will listen to me
When I want to speak
About the world we live in
And life in general
Though my views may be wrong
They may even be perverted
She’ll hear me out
And won’t easily be converted
To my way of thinking
In fact she’ll often disagree
But at the end of it all
She will understand me
This is exactly what I want and need. Someone who will go through life with me but will not lose her identity. Someone who will listen but not necessarily agree. I know you do too and guess what? Your future partner would want that as well. Love is not possible without respect and respect includes accepting you for who you are.
Also, investing too much time in a new person or relationship is not healthy (and is actually counter productive). You will become too dependent on one person. Don’t make the mistake of making one person your world because that person will not be always there (even if you end up marrying each other).
- Last and most importantly, always seek God’s guidance
Keep in mind you are looking for your life partner. Out of the 7 billion people in the world, how can you find that single person that God set out for you? Simple — pray about it. Until God gives you a clear go signal, you are to stay put regardless of how tempted you are to say yes. Remember, “Mr. Right” cannot come in if you are with “Mr. for the meantime”. So what do you do while waiting? Focus on being “Ms. Right.”
Let me end by sharing to you part of my love story.
I met Monique when I was bidding for an event for San Miguel. She was a producer for Livewire Productions and I was the president of WishCraft, Inc. The project was awarded to both our companies and we were asked to collaborate. She caught my eye cause she was good. I didn’t want her as my girlfriend but I wanted to pirate her into my company. We started going out to get to know each other. The first time we went out, I picked her up using a drop side truck (see picture) One day, after a few months of going out, I ask her out and she tells me she will ask permission from her boyfriend. I was shocked because she never told me about having one. Her only comment was “you never asked.” We still continued to go out, it wasn’t romantic anyway. We just plainly enjoyed each others company. Eventually, they broke up. One night after a couple of drinks in PICC, we both headed to the rest room. While inside, we discovered we went to the wrong one and at the same time ran out. Since the doors faced each other, we bumped into each other and ended up in each other arms laughing. That became our first kiss and hug.
Sounds like a commercial huh… that’s how it is when you allow God to write your love story rather than manipulate it.
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