Our society today has been too inclined with instant things: instant noodles, instant coffee and sad to say, instant love – fling, as people nowadays would call it. According to the Urban dictionary, fling is a deliberate short-term relationship, sexual, between a couple; this relationship, accordingly, is just a sexual relief from stress and worry; just sex and attention, no deep personal involvement required. Although, one may not be able to fully qualify this kind of relationship with love but it is what the people of today call it. This essay does not really aim to define what love is, but to describe the traditional and old fashion way of attaining it.
To begin with, I am going to be presenting the old fashioned steps in arriving at love which I learned way back in my grade school days. According to my teacher, arriving at a deeper kind of love involves six steps: acquaintance, friendship, courtship, going-steady, engagement, and marriage. This is what she calls the love-chain.
Every relationship begins with acquaintance. During this step, one begins to know each other superficially. It is the introduction of parties, one knows the other by name; usually, a third party is involve here; the so called “bridge”. It is the meeting of hi’s and hello’s, a casual talk may be present but still both parties may not be really comfortable going into the details of their personal life. Although it may only be the initial stage, but this stage could last a life time for some relationships; the couple may only be until this point and could no longer arrive at the next step.
Following the acquaintance stage is the friendship stage. After being acquainted to each other, the couple slowly, if the circumstances will approve, begin to talk, have longer talks, until both of them becomes comfortable with each other and will slowly feel at ease. Their meetings become more frequent than the acquaintance stage; they will slowly value each other’s company. They will soon be sharing with each other some experiences, may it be significant or insignificant, these experiences will become the foundation of their friendship; the more experiences they share with each other, the stronger their friendship becomes. This is the most important stage of all; if experience is the foundation for friendship, friendship is the foundation of every relationship; the stronger the friendship, the stronger the relationship becomes.
Once the friendship develops between couples, the next stage of the love chain is the going courtship stage. Of course this stage is not for everyone. This stage sprouts from the intensity of the couple’s friendship and the level of attraction between the two of them. During this stage, one of the couple, usually the male, expresses his love for the other. If we will try to put it in our own dialect, this is the stage wherein the other will suyo (an act of pleasing and gaining the trust or the love of the other person). This stage usually takes place in a day, a month, a year, or even a lifetime. This is the so-called waiting area, or the port in a certain relationship. When the beloved response to the call of the other, then we can now move on to the next stage.
After the response of the beloved to the call of the other, the couple is now in the stage of the going–steady. This is the stage wherein the couple will try to be exclusive to each other, share private moments with each other, and let the romance freely spark. Here, the commitment becomes explicit; the couple becomes obligated to each other, to be responsible with each other. Here, the loving relationship becomes stronger and the couple begins to know each other deeply.
Moving on, we have the engagement stage. According to Fr. Jaime B. Achacoso, there are two types of engagement: the Informal engagement, which follows the moment when a man explicitly proposes marriage to a woman and at least an approximate time frame for such is agreed upon privately between them, and the formal engagement, the stage after a man formally proposes marriage, for a specific date, and such is communicated to relatives and friends. It is the stage wherein the couple begins to prepare for the long-run. They make all the necessary adjustments they needed for their married life; adjusting things which they have not settled during the going steady stage.
And last but not the least, the married life stage. This stage is seal with a sacred promise of a life time commitment of the couple to each other. During this stage, the couple stays together and lives together in a single house. In its early stage, the adjustment period becomes more crucial. Couples will learn that the person they have married are not the same person they were with during the previous stages. But eventually, they will need to settle things up, lower their pride as much as possible, they will need to understand why things are no longer as sweet and as romantic as it were before. Once they will understand how to understand each other, married life becomes what it is supposed to become.