Articles and Opinion
LOVE, DEVOTION AND SURRENDER
Jose Antonio Cangco
It may sound corny, it is corny but having love, devotion and surrender in your relationship may very well be the answer for saving a troubled love life and make your partnership interesting and fun again. (In 1973, Columbia Records released an album by Carlos Santana and John McLaughlin titled "Love, Devotion and Surrender". It contained tracks of praise and inspiration, not love songs).
If you are happy with how your love life is going, you are one lucky person. Not so many couples can say this for themselves or for their respective partners even, perhaps, after many years of being together inside or outside of the institution of marriage. But do not wait until your relationship reaches an all time low to understand the factors going into a successful relationship. Since women are more sensitive to changes around them, it is natural that you see the red flags first. If you give lots of time to thinking about them and then worry yourself sick where your relationship is headed for, you are not alone. Like you, guys are also as concerned as much to make things work out for the best, they just do not know how to do it.
Do not fret when the burden seems to be cast unto you, if it is always the female half of the pair who works harder to make their relationship a success. This is because, according to scientists, the female brain is more concerned with relationships while the male ego is geared toward results and ends like earning a living.
Understanding the psychology of love between the sexes, its development and the different phases until its finale is already winning half the battle. It takes two to tango; unless you have married or is committed to a repugnant Brutus as your other half, you can undo mistakes and make things to improve, albeit slowly, in your union.
Do not expect your guy to wax philosophical about love -- a lot of men do not even care that there is a difference between love and infatuation --they just outgrow it, waking up one morning to find out they have fallen seriously in love. Lucky you, when you know what love is and the phases it goes through because then you can comfortably guide your man in the coming years you will be together.
Love. There is a song by a different artist which says "love grows". What it does not say is that lovers have to undergo transition and changes. You can glean from old couples who have experienced these happy rites of passage together, and although they themselves may not be consciously aware of the transformation, these changes occur slowly, gradually, and in a very subtle manner. Yes, they have fallen in love, remained devotedly true to each other, and "surrendered" themselves to a Greater Power with a positive attitude, believing tomorrow will be better on their side.
If you have already started out wrong that your boyfriend or husband is one big hopeless case, then there is no moving fast forward for you. In fact, you have to start again -- keep your eyes clear and your mind open and find out where you went wrong. Now, it is not easy to transform a husband or to drop a boyfriend, but if you start with yourself, you will find opportunities for change you might have missed before. One of these is which he might just be waiting for you to take the first move or he might have no clue on how to go about relationship makeovers.
You see, girls, what your guy needs is therapy. It is like educating him again in the gentle art of caring and loving where he will be enjoying these new directions as you slowly guide him through the phases. For example, if you are watching a girl flick and you find the plot or sub-plot might interest him, summarize the situation in three sentences or less and ask what he thinks. Get his opinion. Respect it even if it is wrong. Do not argue with him. If you correct him right away, he might lose interest in joining you in such talks in the future. Remember that the male brain is primitive, under-developed and not wired for romance stories so like the signs say proceed with caution.
Do not quiz him on storylines with complicated twists and turns. In relationship stories, whether in real life or fiction, guys want things simple and well-defined like black and white, good or bad. Then never talk about these things for more than five minutes a week, it can easily bore him.
On the other hand, if your man is really thick-skulled and thinks that girl talk is sissy stuff and you are now wondering why you fell for him in the first place, there is still hope. You can begin your gentle prodding in the way of male bonding and friendship. This will open up his male chauvinistic brain and will jolt him into saying something like "Now, you're talking sense, lady". Continue with this and later on after he has mellowed with macho topics, shift to girl talk which he should not find new and strange anymore. Let him dabble awhile and allow him time to explore subjects like romance, tenderness and affection. Likewise, proceed with caution.
Devotion. This may be something new to you. If you love your guy and he loves you too, but neither of you are devoted to one another, then you have not yet really started on the second phase of your relationship. It is a slow developing process which happens after you have accepted him and he, likewise, has done the same.
There is no method to fire up the passion between you lovers and cut short on the years nurturing this phase so you will immediately become dedicated to each other. Not even with the help of your parents can you make things go faster. Like my friend, Yasser who met his wife through a commercial matchmaker, remarked to me, "If you don't know any nice girls, ask your parents to look one for you". Thanks, but this is one advice I had to pass.
Seriously speaking, devotion is deep affection and service, and if you want to learn more about it firsthand, take a trip to the provinces and observe how the male is more expressive of his dedication to his wife than his counter part in the city.
If you married or are currently dating a slick city boy, there is no difference. You just have to be a bit more patient because there are bigger, louder, and more interesting distractions in the city competing for his time. Girls, here is where a lot of you fail. Do not vie for his attention. Encourage him to talk about his interests and cuddle with him once in a while. But do not take too long, he might start to see you as a pest. The key here is not moderation, rather it is knowing when a little is already too much.
Surrender. This is not giving up life, limb and soul for your significant other. It means believing in some positive force or spirit that is greater than the sum of you both. Hardly any couples reach this last stage of surrender because most of them who find themselves in the second phase with a devoted partner for life simply stop there. If you have been happily married for 30, 40 or 50 years with the same man, would you consider yourself blessed and fortunate? I am sure you would, after all, it is everyone's dream to remain happily married ever after.
Now, maybe you are thinking "Hey! I'm not going to wait for 30 years to get happy. I want it to happen right now with the right guy. Is there anything I can do like maybe attend more social events or consult a fortune teller?"
Back in college, our professor was lecturing and looking at us over our trusting skulls, saying that love grows. I asked, maybe a bit brusquely, if it grows, where will it stop? He replied that it just keeps on growing. Now I know along the way, while the couple are undergoing the three phases of love, they will develop an almost complete and total understanding of each other.
Girl, if you have already understood the three phases of love before you found the right guy or are still searching for them after many years of marriage, always remember there will be many and new challenges and opportunities that will test your relationship, and make you as a person or couple stronger and happier. Love is just like a drop in a bucket. It will grow between you and your guy, and if one day you will find you are enjoying the same books or movies, laughing at the same jokes, and drinking from the same cup, then you will know your marriage, as the saying goes, is made in heaven.
So, next time you hear about "love, devotion and surrender", "love grows" and "good marriages are made in heaven" think again what is in store in it for you and your guy. Ask him, he might have an idea or two on what makes a successful relationship tick.