On Feb 12th at 4pm, under the warm glow of the afternoon sun and feeling the refreshing sea breeze, I got married to Jeremy on the beautiful Moloa’a beach in a small and intimate ceremony administered by my dad, on the island of Kauai, Hawaii. (photos here)
It is true what they say. Love comes when you’re least expecting it…. At least, that’s what happened to me.
Here is the tale of my love story and what I’ve learned – from finding love, to planning the big day.
Section 1: The Courtship
My Romance Journey
I have been a serial dater (that’s right!) for most of my early and mid twenties. In a quest to find self acceptance and approval through others, I had gotten into relationships for many of the wrong reasons: fear of being alone, financial and emotional security, reputation, feeling successful by association, casual sex that turned into committed relationships with the wrong people, etc.
In the game of finding love, I did well on the surface, but I resented the power it had over me. I would bounce back and forth between hating the dating game and vowing that I shall stay single, and staying up until 2am compulsively browsing dating profiles in an act of desperation.
While “How to Get Over a Breakup” was the number one requested article topic I’ve written on, it’s not surprising that a close second is the topic of How to Find True Love. Here’s an email from one reader:
“I’ve realized that one of my main goals is to find a worthwhile and long term relationship. I noticed you have entries on how to keep a relationship and on how to end a relationship so would you consider writing an entry on what you perceive to be the best way to find a worthwhile relationship. How to avoid making the same mistakes, overcoming fears, keeping up motivation after failure etc.”
– Gary (Dublin, Ireland)
Regardless of our culture, our level of education or economic status, at the depth of all of us are the same desires- to love, to be loved, and to be happy.
Of course we could add other desires to this list, like money and wealth and fancy things, but when you drill into these things, the reason for wanting them is so that we can appear more desirable, and will hopefully be loved and accepted.
If love is something so fundamentally important to us, then why is it that we have so many issues and misunderstandings in the area of finding it? I think the answer is simple, that most of us have never been educated in this fundamental area of our development. Chances are, you didn’t grow up with parents who were relationship experts, and we certainly didn’t study relationships in our high school curriculums. For most of us, it’s been an adventure in trial and error and learning through pain and heart-break. But is there an easier way?
In light of Valentine’s Day approaching this week, I am going to touch on one of my favorite topics of all time: finding love.
Over the past few days, I’ve attended a few social gatherings at which my interactions with other people provided me with a few new revelations. During these interactions I started to notice a peculiar social pattern; that a significant percentage of people are not that good at being social.
After one particular dinner engagement with my partner and another couple, I went home feeling completely uninspired and insignificant. Even after having spent 2 hours with this couple, I am fairly certain they still don’t know anything about me aside from the obvious surface details; my name is Tina, I am Asian and I live in Seattle. They have no idea what I do for a living, what my expertise is, how I spend my time, or where I am from. They were either completely uninterested in me, or they just have underdeveloped social skills.
Later, when I was analyzing the dinner engagement situation, I started to realize why I avoid spending time with certain people in my life, even some friends whom I like and respect. The answer is – they focus too much on themselves, and show a lack of interest in me.
It makes sense, doesn’t it? If someone doesn’t show any interest in you, why would you want to spend any of your precious time with them? I’m sure there are countless other things you would rather be doing.
I have a friend whom, despite her many outstanding qualities, will derail a social gathering by talking about herself the entire night without directing a single question to anyone else around the table. She dominates the table’s conversation by constantly initiating topics that revolve back to the theme of how brilliant she is. It actually is true, she really is brilliant. However, this gets annoying really quickly and obviously makes the others around the table very uncomfortable. It also has the net result of her getting left off of future engagement invites.
The interesting lesson here is that by observing how the behavior of others make us feel, we can tweak and improve our own social skill set. In this way, we can ensure that people leave their interactions with us feeling great, and looking forward to the next time we connect. Just imagine if all meetings ended like this, wouldn’t they also be more enjoyable for us?