Love is Peace, not War

“You’ve won every battle, and I’m losing the war.” 


With every word that somehow managed to escape her pouting lips, she conjured up the courage to walk away. 


“Just like that, huh? You’re leaving?” 


His voice echoed down the hallway as she steadied her pace, fighting the urge to turn around to meet his gaze. She didn’t reply because she had nothing left to say.  


As she turned the corner, she felt the burdens of her relationship that weighed heavily upon her disappear. In a matter of seconds, the war she fought for half a year was over and she came out victorious, scathed only with a few scars that would later heal.


She didn’t know it then, but what she endured wasn’t love. 


A boy armed with weapons to use against her when his ego and overbearing masculinity felt threatened by her powers as a woman was not her soulmate.


A boy that made her feel like an option at the poultry aisle in a grocery store was not her prince charming. 


A boy that admired her free spirit but kept her on a leash so she could never venture far from his tight grasp was not her knight in shining armor. 


Contrary to popular belief, love is not meant to be hard. Loving someone and loving the relationship you’re in should come as easy as breathing. That’s not to dismiss the challenges couples inevitably face throughout their commitment to one another. However, no matter how difficult times may get, love should never be hard. Love should never hurt you. Love should never feel like a war. Saying “I love you” should never sound like a battlecry. If it does, it isn’t love.


Peace, on the other hand, is.


A year later, she found her fingers intertwined with another. His thumb traced the back of her hand as they sat in comfortable silence in his car, watching airplanes take off and land in front of them. The runway lights outshone the stars that harbored in the night sky, but she spotted one just bright enough to make a wish on.


“Please make this last forever.”


Without trying, her often wandering eyes that wanted to catch a glimpse of everything around her were glued only to him. She gravitated towards him with such intensity that only a magnet on a fridge could understand the strength of his pull. 


Despite being at her favorite spot, she found more contentment in knowing she was there with her favorite person.


The longer she was in his presence, the more she felt serene.


To her disbelief, her butterfly prone stomach was at ease. The butterflies she would normally feel fluttering around as a sign of her nerves were subdued. She felt comfortable around him, like she was returning home rather than venturing into the unknown. His kiss brought upon not fireworks, but a spark that could light up enough candles in formation of a heart, located in an empty field, only recognizable from a bird's eye view.


That’s when she had her epiphany: 


Love is easy. It’s something you shouldn’t have to fight for, because a lover that is meant for you will always be yours.


Love is gentle. It’s something you shouldn’t have to shield yourself from out of  fear of being hurt, because your lover would never cause you any harm.


Love is peace. It’s something you shouldn’t have to run away from in order to find solace, because your lover is already a safe haven.


It’s the things that aren’t romanticized enough in the media because relationships without an overload of drama loses its entertainment factor. The downfall of that is the normalization of toxicity found in relationships nowadays. Real couples watch movies and read books on fictional couples who argue daily “out of love” then consider their own fights to be romantic. Stories arise about celebrities cheating on their partners but are quickly forgiven in order to preserve the “love” the two share. Then somehow, in some twisted way, cheating becomes so common that it’s expected. It’s not entirely the media's fault for doing its job and providing amusement to consumers. It is, however, the consumers fault for eating it up and allowing it to influence their personal lives.


Do not get caught up in the idea that relationships have to be hard in order to be worth having. That the person you’re with should be hard to love in order to be worthy of your heart. Not everything has to be a challenge. Life is complicated enough as it is. Your partner through it all should not be another obstacle, but rather the hand you hold as you both overcome them together.


It’s okay to strive for a healthy relationship. It’s preferred, actually.


She knew that now.


Even if hers doesn’t last, she has learned the difference between war and peace. Never again will she choose the former. 


However, if that star she wished upon that night out at the airport could grant just one, she hopes that it’s hers.