Michelle: Lest you or anyone reading this think that the title above has something to do with me, let me tell you that the title comes from a forwarded email which talks about love and commitment in marriage. I’m reprinting excerpts of the write-up which I think should not only be food for thought for married people but for those who are single and/or thinking of getting married. The story starts with one woman who asks someone (presumably the writer of this email) a question that the writer said he or she usually receives during seminars he/she conducts. The questions: “How do I know if I married the right person?” The writer said that every relationship has a cycle. In the beginning, you fall in love with your spouse. You anticipated their call, wanted their touch, and liked their idiosyncrasies. Falling in love with your spouse wasn’t hard. In fact, it was a completely natural and spontaneous experience. You didn’t have to do anything. But after a few years of marriage, the euphoria of love fades. It’s the natural cycle of every relationship. The symptoms of this stage vary with every relationship, but if you think about your marriage, you will notice a dramatic difference between the initial stage when you were in love and a much duller or even angry subsequent stage.

DJ: A good friend used to tell me that 80 percent of life’s joy or suffering is from our relationships. In fact, my last relationship ended because I thought I was already tired of our telenovela-like situations. But she thought it ended because her brain started to work again. Ouch! There are couples who share with one another, information about their experiences but never the experiences themselves. It’s like eating cotton candy. It fills you up but there’s really nothing inside. A real relationship develops over time. It goes through very difficult times for it to come out stronger, better and real. An imperfect couple can still shoot for bliss given this imperfect world when they discern their choices well, when they choose to enjoy every moment for what it brought forth instead of judging or wanting otherwise.

M: The writer goes on to say that “At this point, you and/or your spouse might start asking, “Did I marry the right person?” And as you and your spouse reflect on the euphoria of the love you once had, you may begin to desire that experience with someone else. This is when marriages break down. People blame their spouse for their unhappiness and look outside their marriage for fulfillment. Extramarital fulfillment comes in all shapes and sizes. Infidelity is the most obvious. But sometimes people turn to work, church, a hobby, a friendship, excessive TV or abusive substances.”

DJ: A relationship can make two people buoyant with happiness. Sometimes, a weird sense of humor, a strange ideology or even halitosis can also bring out some jagged bloody bits of glass on one’s forehead. The point is being in a relationship brings with it a commitment to change not just the situation but ourselves as well, and to accept those that can’t be redesigned. Besides, it’s at times better to stop waiting for something to begin or end and rather discover what is happening in front of us. Being the right one is more important than finding the right one.

M: So, what is the answer to this dilemma? Sustaining love is not a passive or spontaneous experience. It’ll never just happen to you. You can’t find lasting love. You have to make it day in and day out. That’s why we have the expression the labor of love. Because it takes time, effort, and energy. And most importantly, it takes wisdom.

DJ: We can choose to continue just existing in a flatland, drowning in the same recurring pains, regrets and sorrows we hold deep inside us. We can also choose to see and love and nurture the relationship to its full potential. In all of it, we still are the authors of our relationships and creators of our history. Yup.

We can believe in love in all its cheesy glory just as we believe in unicorns who grant wishes and the little green creature who chases after pots of gold. But love is also gut instinct and a whole lot of common sense. In fact, it’s really more of a decision rather than just a feeling. Choose well. Decide well.