I had the privilege of teaching a Dating, Courtship, and Marriage Preparation course for more than 7 years. Those were “serious” classes. The students, young single adults ages 17 to 30 were taught the importance and role of sufficient preparation (spiritual, mental, emotional, physical, and temporal/financial) in the success of marriage.
In one of my classes, we were discussing the difference between real/true love and counterfeit love and a student raised her hand and asked if the “kilig” factor is an indication of love. I am not really sure what “kilig” means in the English language, but I know what she meant. If I were asked what it is, I’d say it’s the hard-to-explain feeling one feels towards the opposite sex. This is very common in young people and as adults, when we’re asked about this, we often say that it’s infatuation. Oftentimes we say “Oh you have a crush!”
After the class I did some research and found out that romance is defined in the dictionary as “a feeling of excitement and mystery associated with love”. So is it love? My answer to the question is no. Having said that however, let me add that it can be the beginning of something special.
In all my almost fifty years I’ve had my fair share of going through these emotions – the excitement when hearing the voice of the other person, the sudden rush of warmth when two eyes meet … And I’m sure it would be safe to say we’ve all been through that at some point in our teenage years. But one or two things are certain regarding this feeling we’re talking about – it can be temporary or permanent, and feeling it doesn’t mean you’re already “in love”.
In my own relationship with my husband, the kilig factor has never faded away. Up to now, after more than 30 years of marriage, I still feel that wonderful tingling emotion towards him especially on Sundays when he dresses up for Church. I still get that giddy feeling when he looks at me and gives me a wink, or when he looks so handsome after attending a church meeting (I don’t know why he just looks super handsome when he’s wearing his Sunday’s best …). I hope and pray that my daughters will find partners who will make them feel this way until they’re 90!
So here’s my two cents: Romance has to be present in the relationship before marriage. And to keep that feeling alive it has to be nurtured by both husband and wife. Both spouses have to work on the marriage to make it work, and both have to help in keeping the love alive. It has been said that love is a living thing, and for it to grow and bloom, it needs to be nourished. Feed it and it will grow. Neglect it and it withers and die.
The question is how? Well, think about the little acts of kindness both husband and wife can do for each other. Think about sincere acts of kindness, like being extra sweet and mindful of the unspoken needs of the other. A wife will definitely feel special, appreciated, and loved if her husband treats her kindly, or if he asks her what he can do to help her. Or if she needs anything. A husband will likewise feel truly loved if his wife will let him know that for her, he is the handsomest man ever.
Little acts of kindness … these are often forgotten and neglected as daily home, work, and family challenges mount. But these seemingly insignificant acts can, in reality, make life more happy, rewarding, and satisfying. And they can help keep that sweet, tingling feeling alive and kicking!
Image courtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee / FreeDigitalPhotos.net