Destiny. How comforting it is to know that we all are destined to fall in love with someone. It may not be today, tomorrow, or a few years hence. But the idea of a special someone walking into our lives brought by fate into your arms is nothing short of magical. That is the reason why most of us choose to believe that someday, somehow, we will find that soulmate.
So, how would you know if that person is your soulmate? Well, let us all hear John and Haley’s story of a love that started over traveling and the Cranberries’ Linger. Valentine’s Day may be over but our desire of sharing stories this love month is not done yet.
Haley is not your typical career woman who is a hustler in juggling work and managing projects. Back in 2017, before all the stress of work gets the better of her, she decided to take a step back and make a quick escapade on the island of Bohol to take a plunge in its beautiful beach. It is just the right timing because the ASEAN summit was the talk of the town at that time. While John, a first-time visitor in the Philippines, is fond of our local beaches so he decided to check out Bohol.
The two stayed in the same hotel in Panglao, Bohol. And you guessed it right. One night, when they were swimming by the pool, they both connected right away when they had a conversation about their love for the band, The Cranberries. One exchange led to another and soon after, they were sharing their fondest memories of one of its songs, “Linger.” And that is how it all started. They decided to level up the relationship and became exclusive to each other a year after they met.
When asked what they both like to do as couples, you can see their mutual connection as they put traveling on top of their list. Discovering new places and trying out local dishes is their thing. Their bond even becomes stronger with a little competition over tennis players they are rooting for and of course, their love of spending time together over coffee while reading broadsheets, solving sudoku problems, and puzzles.
Unconditional Love, Soulmate, and Happiness. That is how Haley would describe John. When asked the same, John said “Intelligent, Beautiful, Funny, Caring. Four is the minimum I can answer but I can give more!”
“Coffee is part of our morning ritual. And this simple act of kindness also shows how much we deeply care about and love each other,” Haley said. We indulged as she shared about their time together in Dubai. “The last time we reunited in Dubai, we decided to stay in a hotel apartment where there was a kitchen and it felt like our little home. Before we even go to the hotel restaurant for our daily breakfast, we took turns in making coffee for each other depending on who wakes up first – mostly it’s me” Haley said. “Sometimes, I get too focused in writing on my gratitude journal, and John would just lovingly make me a cup of coffee even without me asking.” Haley continued as she recollects their Dubai travel.
John on the other hand describes their coffee time as an opportunity to bond and discuss their plans throughout the day. He also said that they have common interests in drinking their cup of Joe which makes them more connected to each other.
Kindness. Compassion. Humility. These are the lessons summed in three words Haley learned while being in a relationship with John. “Kindness because there will be times when you don’t meet eye-to-eye and would have different concepts and opinions about various things. It is important to always practice extra kindness when this happens. Remembering that you are different individuals with different sets of beliefs, different upbringing, different culture, and different values. You can always share your thoughts, emotions, and perspective without having the need to be right all the time, but simply to raise awareness and shed a different light on the matter.”
“Compassion because you ought to be gracious in forgiving your partner when they inadvertently hurt your feelings, but also make them lovingly aware when they do. Give them the time and opportunity to adjust and correct their actions. We all make mistakes, so it pays to show compassion when these things happen.”
“Humility because this is the recognition and acknowledgment of your actions when you’re the one who made a mistake. Being humble will teach you to apologize and learn from it through a change in behavior.”
“Communication,” John said, “is a key learning point because even though our long-distance relationship has been exceedingly difficult throughout the pandemic, we have made a conscious effort to video chat daily – with a coffee in hand. Even with our wedding being canceled, we smiled and laughed daily and thankfully managed to meet in Dubai recently.”
Lastly, we asked them their secret to a lasting relationship. Here is what they have to say. For Haley, it is “Practice kindness every single day. And always be grateful for your partner and for the love you deeply share. But before committing yourself to a relationship, make sure that you know how to love and respect yourself. You teach people how to love you by how much you love and honor yourself. Learn and understand your love language/s because that could be different from your life partner’s love language.”
For John, it is “To be kind, honest, and supportive to your partner. Also, Humor is a great addition to the equation. Try to make her giggle every day.”
Being in a relationship with someone from a different cultural and racial background can sometimes be difficult to maintain. However, it is the awareness and understanding that will help you both overcome this barrier and continue showing your love to each other. Indeed, love knows no border, race, or color. And sometimes, it is when the stars align that love finds you and you have nothing else to do but fall in love, stay in love, and grow in love.