Whether or not we’ve been in a serious committed relationship, we’ve all had some experience with relationships; wondering if you like your prom date more than a friend, thinking you like someone in your college ethics class, someone you’ve known all your life just now being attractive in a new way, or simply someone you just met takes your breath away. Sometimes, a relationship doesn’t end on good terms, and others, wedding bells dawn a new chapter for a couple. But through it all, it is only a failure if nothing is learned in the process.
Relationships can be intimidating and exhilarating all at the same time: exciting, fresh, new, terrifying, and wonderful all at the same time. The goal is to find someone that compliments you and your passions, learning from your mistakes, improving, and finding love.
“I really liked spending quality time together,” comments Amy Samuels, a junior at Southeastern University, when asked what went well in past relationships. “Also, doing competitive activities that brings out the crazy sides in both of us makes it tons of fun.”
For some couples engaging in playful banter or fun competitions make the relationship focus on having fun and spending quality time together. For others, it’s finding what make the other person “tick” that went so well.
“Figuring out our love languages and abiding by them,” states Sally Ibarra, also a junior at Southeastern University. “For example, my love languages are quality time and physical touch, so having good memories with that
person and creating a story to tell about our relationship but also having good memories spiritually like sharing our spiritual disciplines and creating that atmosphere for our daily lives.”
Whatever method you choose, it is vital in relationships to find what makes the other person “tick” and build a healthy friendship at the center of it all. Learning what the core of a relationship did not come overnight, and sometimes that comes from looking back and seeing we could have done better.
When asked about reflection on past relationships, and how they wish to improve on the next, this is what some had to say:
“I looked back and realized that I needed to be better at communicating and voicing my opinion,” comments Samuels. “The sooner you can communicate and share your emotions, the more you will grow spiritually in a relationship.”
“I had to learn that what you do and things you say look completely different in a relationship,” explains sophomore Derek Forehand. “I also learned that everything has a consequence, good or bad.”
“I’ve definitely found myself being self fish at times with certain areas of my life such as time an time management,” states Ibarra, who is in a long-distance relationship.
But take heart! What they’ve learned has helped them improve on the next,
and being honest with each other is key to growth, and moving forward to find that true love everyone talks about, the “fireworks” that we dream of.
“Short and sweet, love is a verb,” shines Ibarra. “God is love and if we follow that example we are on the right track. A level of intimate connection that you decide to take action towards.”
“Love is not this gushy, head over heels, and butterflies in stomach feeling,” comments Samuels. “To me those feelings are wonderful…but they are just feelings. True love is a choice and an action. It a choice to put Christ first and then your relationship. It is a choice to constantly put someone else’s feeling before yours. Love is not a game, and it is not a word that should be thrown around lightly. I feel like one will know they are in love, when this man can bring out the best in you, sees you at your worst times and supports you still, and brings you closer and pushes you to be the best you can be!”
For Forehand, love is “the decision you make to put someone else ahead of you and to value you them more than you value yourself.”
Whatever your definition of love is, whatever your past relationships lessons learned, or if you’re discovering love for the first time, look at love and relationships with hope, knowing that the future is bright.
Who knows, maybe you’ll find that love that makes your dreams come true, and at your 50th wedding anniversary, you can smile on the things you learned, enjoyed, and the love you found.