On Love: Love Him?

Still writing about love, as I’ve written before, many of us fall in love with the idea of love itself, instead of really falling in love in the person. And as a sinful human being, we also have the tendency to fall in love because we need to be loved, and not because we really love that person.

How many of us started a relationship because, “I don’t want to be alone, I want to have someone caring for me, I like him because he makes me feel good, I love him because he gives me beautiful things, I love him because he cares for me, I’m with him because at least I’m with someone, I love him because he’s handsome, sexy, have a bright future (which all will be great advantages for ME).”

The newest trend these days with tiktok videos shoved us on the nose with the idea (or perhaps the reality) of the materialistic girls (or boys), who demand expensive things from their partners. Who will be satisfied only when they’re pampered and exalted, with money, gifts, attention.

Is it really wrong to expect someone you love to show his love to you (in words, material things, time, attention, security, etc?) Of course not! I think it’s a crazy idea to limit ourselves to love someone in the form of sacrificial love only. “I want to love this man because he’s jobless, ugly, rude, inattentive and doesn’t care for me. I want to love him because I want to show him what love is, shower him with my love, give him my all, just because I love him.”

Ladies, if you meet a man like that and start to have this unhealthy idea to devote yourself to this useless man, run away, dial the National Mental Hotline number, find someone to pray with you, get help!

Love should be based on the sacrifice of yourselves for someone else – but it takes two sides to be in love (in a relationship). Even sacrificial and unconditional love from parents to children requires respect and love in return from children to their parents. And The God who even died for us to show how much He loves us, expects our full surrender in following Him – in order to make The Love complete.

I don’t know when such realization came to me. I was still young (and helpless) in my college time, when I hopelessly held tight to someone who was so dear for me. Someone who could see me for all I am. The very first person who didn’t need explanations and despite the thick cover I had over myself, he saw me. He saw what inside me. And he took my hand and pulled me from the deepest hole I was in. Someone I called garwa – garaning nyawa.

But too bad our love didn’t last. He released my hand, he said goodbye. The needy me had to go through a hard time to be able to let go. I’ve been in relationships before him, but nobody, nobody, really nobody could see me better than this man! 

The blow was too hard for me, and for months I felt crazy. I felt all the pain, the hope, the wish, desire, urge, to have him back. I wanted him back! I needed him!

I considered how to do it. I wrote emails to him (and never sent them. Oh mine, are they still in my draft folder?) I recreated conversations, I rehearsed things I wished I could tell him in person, I went to the chapel daily to pray for him, I couldn’t think of anything else besides: if I really lost him, I’m no longer me. I can’t live without this person who knows and lets me know how to be myself. There’s no way I can go through this life without this man. I can’t live without him!


Herkenbaar? Stupid, huh?

But it happened, it was real. I can even feel the desperation until now if I remember those hard months. I had to go through many counselings, had a sabbatical leave from my university and went for a retreat far from my family and home to take a deep breath and get a grip of reality.

Perhaps that’s when it hit me. Whom I love, actually? Is it me? Or is it him?

If it’s him, then why do all my questions revolve about me?? Why is “I” the biggest word of those cries? I want this, I want that, I need this, I need that? Is this about him, or is this about me? Whom do I love? Do I love him, or do I love myself, and I want to get it through him?

This story had been really long forgotten, from Singapore to The Netherlands. From a relationship to a marriage. From being single and then mingled. This man and all the love I had for him had lost all its significant meaning from my life, until…

Until I went back to my parents’ house for a holiday with my husband and two children. And went into my old bedroom, looked at the mirror and read…

Love him?

Fight for it.

Stay away if you don’t.

Because it’s cruel to ask him to stay

when the only person you only is yourself.

Love him?

I stood still in front of the mirror and read it again and again. What was this about? What did I mean when I wrote this? (and isn’t it amazing that the poem written using a marker was still there, even after 20 years later?)

Then I remembered, the desperate desire to have someone as mine. I took a deep breath and somehow felt relieved that I finally found the true one. But still, I asked myself, this time too…

Love him?

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