Do you remember what it was like when you were young and you had your first inklings of love? Can you remember the butterflies, or the way you would wait eagerly until you saw that person again? In fact you wanted to see them all the time, and there wasn’t such a thing as seeing them too much!
And the kisses! Oh Lord, the kisses were incredible. That first kiss traveled all the way to your toes, and it was like a live wire ran through your body causing goose bumps to break out everywhere and your hair to stand on end. It was perfect. The absolute perfect feeling.
Despite ups, downs, and even a little heartbreak you found yourself still lifted by that perfect feeling of love. You craved it actually, and you finally understood the song Addicted to Love.
One day, before you realized it, you grew up, and you followed that feeling of love like a hound dog on a hot trail. You followed that emotional high, and it led you to the person you knew you would marry. (If by chance this hasn’t happened to you yet then just wait for it! It’s phenomenal).
Led down the aisle, floating on a cloud of desire, and flying on the wings of that crazy thing called love, you joined together with your helpmate for life in holy matrimony. The birds tweet-tweeted, and all was right with the world.
Then this crazy thing happened. Life.
Life happens, you know?
One day you realize that while you love that person more than the sun, moon, and even the stars that there are a few things you didn’t bargain for in this little adventure called marriage. You knew you were different, but the differences that you used to think were cute seem less endearing when you’re sleepy, sick, or still expected to keep a house, job, and children afloat, all while expecting yourself to look as attractive as the day y’all first met.
Kids happen. Your parents die. Things sag that aren’t supposed to, and hair grows where it never did before. Bills pile up, kids get sick, and important decisions have to be made. And even when you disagree on the important stuff you must maintain a level of decency since you’re roommates for life.
So what if I told you I wasn’t happy in my marriage?
See, when you first fall in love with someone it is driven by emotion. No matter how logical you think you are, or how level-headed you try to be the fact remains that it’s easy to be led by the emotion of love. In fact, it feels amazing. But one day you will look up from a stack of bills as children fight loudly in the next room and you will need so much more than that warm, fuzzy feeling in the pit of your stomach.
When life happens, and when the novelty fades you will need something deeper. And although the emotion of love is a wonderful, grand thing it should be so much more than just that. More than a feeling love is an action, and it’s a purposeful process that you have to want to give every ounce of effort and determination into to make it work.
Feelings will fade in the face of adversity. They will be swayed by turmoil and difficulty, but the act of love and dedication to that same person who made you swoon will carry you the distance. A purposeful determination to cherish someone through the ups and downs of life is the proof in the pudding, and that’s what real love is made of. There will still be feeling, thank goodness, but there will also be so much more.
When you first fall in love you are happy, but happiness is a feeling. It’s a fair-weather feeling that can be blown to and fro based on circumstance. It’s hard to be happy in the face of sickness, grief, or strife.
The good news is that when you love based on solid truth rather than mere emotion you aren’t limited by the feelings of happiness and sadness. You make the conscious effort to love unconditionally, with no strings attached. You don’t do it expecting anything in return; you do it because this person means the world to you. And in this you will still experience a wide range of emotions, but they will not determine the course of your marriage.
Recently I was commenting to someone about my marriage, and in my words I described my union as joy-filled. At the time those words just came out naturally, but moments later when I looked at them I was strongly affected by the gravity of that description. It was true.
I wasn’t simply happy in my marriage, but rather I was filled with an abounding joy. That joy, that purposeful love of my spouse permeated every fiber of my being, and the truth of my love for him bonded our marriage in a way my feelings could not.
It so happens that I feel very emotional about my husband. In fact I want to weep when I consider my love for him, and especially his love for me. I still want to see him all the time, and all the time is never too much. I still get butterflies, and I still feel an electric spark when his lips touch mine. But all that stuff is just an added bonus. It’s the real love I logically know I possess for him, and him for me that fills our marriage with joy. It’s this very real thing that directs my actions toward him, and ensures we will not be shaken when simple emotions fail.