I was a teenager when I first heard that true love waits.
Coming from a religious background, growing up in a Filipino home, it meant no sex before marriage and staying patient before The One comes along.
“True love waits no matter how long it takes, as long as it’s your heart’s desire. It will come at the right time.” That’s what they said. My 20s came around. It passed me by but didn’t stay around. The 30s began. It seemed rather unavailable, often hard to find.
I’m one of those women whose true love came when they’re older, what aged people say as the prime age. I am now in my mid-thirties.
I recently made new friends through biking and most of them are in their twenties. Are they wondering why I’m not at home with a husband and a child? The dream of getting married and having kids at 25 has gone past me and I never ran after it when it did.
Here’s what I learned about true love from the time that I learned what love means and what it’s not.
I learned that love can appear true in photos, but the opposite in private.
I found out that men and women stay in fake, abusive, superficial relationships even when they know it’s not their place to be. It leaves them bruised and damaged, in their skins, hearts, and minds, and yet, they choose to stay. It is not entirely their fault.
How do you move on from a love you thought was true, but, after a few months, turned out to be a fraud?
This takes time, wisdom, and positive relationships to figure out.
True love, now, to me, is no longer confined to the concept of romance. It is no longer just about the gifts, the courtship, going on nice dinner dates, and dressing up to look good in front of each other.
Now, I see love as a decision to make every day. You’ve heard this a lot. And you have because those who have found their true love gathered the same thing! Here’s an article by Mark Manson to prove it.
True love is forgiving, even when it doesn’t feel like it’s the right thing to do. Sometimes, forgiving makes us uneasy, as if we’re allowing someone to run over us. But more often than not, it’s the best thing to do.
True love is accepting your partner’s childhood trauma, anxieties, quirky food tastes, questionable habits, and poor sleeping patterns. It’s welcoming his family, job, and hobbies into your life. You take not just a peek, but a big leap into his world without judging his past and fearing the future.
True love is being there for your partner in times of need, want, tragedy, and isolation. It’s facing the odds together even if you become each other’s odds a few times.
It’s filling each day with hope, despite the storms that pass and ravage that stone-coated steel roof you built.
True love is accepting your partner’s mistakes, knowing that another will come in the next few days and still you carry on.
It’s sticking to your commitment when trouble comes one after another.
It’s changing minds and accepting that we’ll jump from one belief, perspective, and opinion to the next in the years to come.
It’s about keeping the relationship intact by tackling difficult conversations and using proper language.
I learned that a relationship is never, ever defined by the social media-worthy photos that tell everyone things are going well. Yes, they prove things happen, but they never show what goes on between those frames.
It sometimes brings with it anger we took home from toxic relationships we harbored until we were smart enough to let them go.
It brings us to face the biggest demons we thought we had conquered a long time ago.
It takes us to places we’ve never been before — from the darkest of dungeons to the highest of heavens.
It shows us extreme versions of ourselves — to the most joyful, irrational, rash, impulsive, dramatic.
True love is a lot to take. It is also wrapped in simplicity, flowing with ease.
Its plainness can get boring but not enough to keep us away.
It will keep us guessing, captivated, and awestruck, when it finally shows itself.
Everyone wants true love.
To some, it’s the reason for living, a reason to wake up to another morning. To others, true love is like a perennial flower that, once in a while, blooms, and then dies, only to come alive again after a year. To a few, true love is accidental, never unexpected, but welcome when it’s there.
Whether it comes from a partner, a dear friend, a caregiver, or a parent, true love keeps our hearts beating, our lungs expanding, our hands giving and receiving.
I was a teenager when I was taught that true love waits.
Now that I’m in my mid-30s, here’s what I know for sure. True love does not wait. It comes even whether we do or don’t. And when it does, we are bound to admit that true love is worth waiting for.
This article was first published on Medium.