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Preempting the New Year’s Resolution Madness

#8 Fall In Love

By Kayla Lemar
Teen Scribe

It’s month two on our journey of Preempting the New Year’s Resolution Madness, and I know you must be heartbroken because I skipped six of the top 12 New Year’s Resolutions, but how many of us can honestly say weight loss and budgeting are on our minds when it’s almost Valentine’s Day?  They aren’t on this girl’s mind (That’s for sure.), because this is my first Valentine’s Day with a boyfriend to share it with.

    What do we know about “falling in love”?  “Falling in love” is a mask for sharing your physiological fantasies, emotional effluviums, and mental melt-downs with somebody you think you care about.  In other words, “falling in love” is pretty much a hoax, because you rarely fall into heart-shaped pillows and rose petals without the residual thorns.  Mostly, you fall into each other.  And falling into another person is… never quite as pleasant as you think it will be.

    Honestly, falling in love should have some hazard warnings on the package.  Warnings like: BEWARE: THIS BOY HAS A ROCK FOR A HEART or CAUTION: THIS GIRL CONFUSES EVEN HERSELF.

    Each of us has issues.  That’s the nature of man.  And if you’re not prepared for those issues (not only your “lover’s”, but also your own) then you’ll probably want to fall out of love as quickly as you fell in.  It’s unfortunate that falling out of a hole is usually more of a climb.

    So what do you need to know to fall in love, and stay there? 

    You need to know how to love someone.
    You need to know how to be loved.
    You need to know how to communicate love in a way that the one you love understands.
    You need to know how love is best communicated to you.

    The Five Love Languages, by Gary Chapman, delves into the five ways humans (cross-culturally) give and receive love: 1) Words of Affirmation, 2) Quality Time, 3) Physical Touch, 4) Acts of Service, and 5) Gifts.
Some “lovees” receive love best by being complimented, others by enjoying baseball pitches with the “lover”, some by cuddling, others by having their bedroom cleaned, and still others by being handed a bouquet of freshly-picked flowers.

    That’s not to say that everyone with Quality Time as their main love language wants to spend that time playing baseball, or that everyone with a Gifts love language wants real flowers with real bugs crawling off the stems.  That’s where study and honest communication come in.  Discover who the other person is on the inside, and what he or she most craves.  Then, give that.

    Okay, so any parent reading this is going to cringe at that last statement, which is why there is a little bit more to being in love than just expression.

    Part II to falling and staying in love is all about boundaries.  What is a boundary?  A boundary is a fence with a gate you put up around your heart, your mind, and your body.  Why is it not a wall?  In general, the most intimate relationships are relationships where people can see into you.  That’s why there isn’t a wall.  Some circumstances (like abuse) merit a wall, but most of the time a gate is good enough for keeping people at a distance. 

    Don’t get me wrong: you want to let the one you love into your heart, your garden, your sacred place… eventually.  That eventually isn’t really an age thing; it’s more of a maturity thing.  Each of us reaches a season in our life where we are able to engage in a deep and meaningful relationship that has the serious potential of being forever.  Until then, it’s sort of like practice.

    If you’re not ready to be married: you couldn’t move out of your parent’s house, join all your assets and your burdens to another person’s, and thrive with that new life, then chances are you’re not in that season of serious potential. 

    Don’t sweat it.  I’m nineteen, never dated, and I’m just now getting there.

    The thing to remember is: you probably will not marry the person you are dating if you are not in that season.  You may not marry the person you are dating even if you are in season.

    How does that compute with giving a person all the things they need to feel loved?  It doesn’t.  What if your boyfriend wants sex?  Sex is a valid way of showing love.  The only problem is, when you have sex you let someone into the deepest part of you.  And if you do that too soon, loving someone just became the most painful experience of your life.

    We don’t have to go to that extreme.  Boundaries relate to everything… from limiting a seven hour phone conversation to a two hour conversation so we can study our math homework, to making sure you continue to develop other friendships while you’re “falling in love”, to having a good friend who can call, “hand check,” when that physiological bit takes over.

    Make sure you set up boundaries, because boundaries facilitate loving someone else.

    A friend of mine once defined lust as, “the fear of not having something, which makes us incapable of pulling back.”  Never put yourself in a situation where you will have difficulty respecting yourself and that other person, or where you are fearful that you won’t receive what you need, which leads to the other.

    One last thought to chew on: I care deeply about my boyfriend now.  We’ve been close friends for six months.  Neither of us had ever dated.  We’re pretty much like twins, so it’s super easy to understand what the other is thinking.  Even so, sometimes I look in the mirror and think, “I love Josh so much that I want him to be the best man he can be for whoever it is he marries.  Maybe that’s me, or maybe it’s someone else.  But I want everything I do in this relationship to prepare him for her, and I love him enough to make that my goal, instead of making this all about me.”

    Try that thought on for size.  Modify it a little.  Come to your own conclusions.  But never forget that all people communicate love differently, and all people need boundaries to facilitate love. 

    Oh yah… final mission: find a trusted adult and talk with them about your love life.  A newspaper article on falling in love is more of a preview, and every kid needs someone to help walk them through it. 

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