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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Real Love is all about giving

Real Love is all about giving and giving some more selflessly to the other person, and to the relationship. You could also call it making daily decisions to love unconditionally.

I've always known that my CEB loves me but this weekend, he showed me how deep and real his love and commitment to the relationship is. In this memorable giving he raised not just my love for him to new heights, but also broke new barriers in his character and sense of self.

In my first post of 2011 (click here to read), I'd mentioned that I had made decisions in the 2 most impt areas of my life. The 1st decision was a job change, and the 2nd decision was to agree to marry my CEB this year.

As most of you would know or have read, my CEB and I were close friends for almost 3 years before starting a relationship in July 2010. Hence, we decided to celebrate the culmination of our journey together in marriage, by having the iconic Cartier trinity rings as our wedding bands. The three bands are interlinked to form one ti-color wedding band of gold, silver and rose gold (pink). Symbolically, the gold ring stands for loyalty/fidelity, the white gold ring ring represents friendship and the rose gold ring stands for love. (I suppose the diamonds set in the 3 rings of my band probably stand for eternity). These 3 elements - loyalty, friendship and love have been (and we pray will be) always present in our relationship.

Now, my CEB is a very staunch Buddhist while I am a cradle Catholic. I knew he was not comfortable with the idea of a church wedding but there was absolutely no way I would be married at all if my wedding was not going to be recognized by my faith, or worse, not blessed by the only God I had turned to my whole life. Although my CEB agreed to having a church wedding, he asked me more than twice subsequently if we could do without the same, and often downplayed its importance. :( And to compound matters, we had to obtain a certificate to get married in church by attending the C@tholic Eng@ged Encounter course - stay-in weekend (from 730pm Fri night)with 31 other couples in a seminary.

On Fri night, I was at the seminary by 720pm and we were the last couple to register because my CEB came at 8pm, just in time for the start of the program. When the priest started off by explaining that a marriage outside the church was not recognized by the church, my CEB scribbled a note to me asking to cancel the church wedding. Now, we both have hurt each other along the way of the r/s (not maliciously or deliberately even) but this request at the start of the course took the cake of everything bad he had done and could possibly do. To me, it was the end of the road for us with nothing more to be said. But after some written discussion, my CEB agreed to give the course a chance and discuss the issue of a church wedding after we had obtained the certificate.

I cried myself to sleep on Fri night, knowing this was the "make or break" point of our relationship. Unlike other occasions where he could storm off and apologise the next day, I knew if he walked out at anytime during the course, I could and would not want to continue the relationship. And to compound matters, we started Sat with a mass which wasn't about so much about relationship but about religion - the one touchy subject between us. So during mass and for the rest of Sat, it was extremely stressful waiting for the other shoe to drop - I never knew when my CEB would decide he had enough of hearing the word "God", and tell me that he was very sorry but despite his love for me, he really couldn't complete this course. Whether he would up and leave was out of my control and so in fear and desperation I turned to God, not to pray that he would stay but to surrender the fate of our relationship to His Hands. And I felt/heard God speak to me saying "Trust Me". And so I trusted that whatever God decided for us, was the best for us in the long run.

Then in the evening, the priest advised the group that although a couple may have differences and should work towards a compromise if they wanted to be together, no one party should ever betray his conscience and compromise his/her fundamental beliefs. This was when it struck me that if I really loved my CEB, it would be so wrong of me to make him go through a church wedding and this course if it meant betraying his conscience. And perhaps the right thing to do if I really loved him would be to let him go gently. And again, I couldn't stop crying because I didn't want to lose him, lose the us which we had built up, but it was only right that I should. So I blubbered to my horrified CEB (he didn't know what I was thinking and why I was crying suddenly) my thoughts and he said to relax and things would be fine.

On Sun morning, we were each asked to write a letter to each other and I prayed for God to guide my pen. For it wasn't just my CEB who were there to decide our relationship. I too had a right to decide if I wanted to and was ready to accept a person like my CEB as a life-long partner. I too had the ability to walk away from him and the relationship. And when it was time to exchange letters, I fully expected to read that he loved me but he just could not betray his conscience.

But instead, my amazing CEB's letter (like mine) was a short sincere declaration of his love and and his commitment to make our relationship work despite our differences. And instead of holding onto his reluctance at having a church wedding, he appeared to be fully reconciled with the idea of allowing our wedding to be blessed by the church and God ie he wouldn't be betraying his conscience in any way by this giving. And I believe God worked a further miracle when my CEB shared with me that he thought that there may be a God after all because of an experience he had.

So, the long shot is that - from a position where he was attending the course resentful and ready to find an excuse to leave, the CEB that was with me the past 2 days was a true partner who participated fully in the private couple sessions, and who listened attentively with an open mind to what the priest taught - about giving, about how love is a decision to be made daily, and how we should be life-giving to our partner etc. And, my heart is filled with thanksgiving to God because not only did he give me my CEB, but he also showed me through this weekend's experience that my CEB is The One.
And I would thank my CEB too for being big and generous enough to give the course a fair chance and to stay all the way till the end as a willing and happy participant despite the course's rather strong Catholic base (hymns, readings from the bible, mention of God and his importance in a marriage). My CEB is so wonderful in that not only was he able to put aside his reservations and resentment at being somewhere he would rather not be, but he was also open minded and courageous enough to offer to walk forward with me to receive the priest's blessing while I received holy communion in the final mass. The very same mass that he had asked me before the course whether he could, not attend. I truely admire my CEB. To me, that single act is testimony of real love, and testimony that there is a God and there are miracles.

We all know marriage is not a bed of roses, takes hard work, has as many if not more downs than ups, and involves sacrifices. It doesn't sound like an attractive proposition in reality to me. However, there is no one else in the world I would rather commit to and walk with on this journey than my big-hearted, generous and most admirable CEB who has shown me real love.

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