Some Thoughts About Love

Recently, I was posed the question, “is it possible for people to fall out of love or were they never in love to begin with?”  Since asked, I seem to find myself thinking about it a lot; the concept of “falling out of love”.  I think that the phrase is referring to someone who has lost their romantic feelings for someone else.  This is based on the premise that love is romantic feelings for another.  If that’s the case then I think, yes, you should expect for this to happen.  Every relationship has a honeymoon phase and once that comes to a close, you need to determine whether or not the relationship is worth working for.  The love of your life will do things that annoy or disappoint you, just as your family and friends do.  However, my definition of love is different.  I define love as doing what’s best for your beloved.  Therefore, love is an action and not a feeling.  When the honeymoon phase of a relationship is over and the feelings are gone, you need to decide what’s best for your beloved and for yourself.  If you find peace in the decision that the relationship is not worth continuing, that is okay.  That is the purpose of dating.  That is choosing what’s best no matter how hard it feels.  If the foundation of your relationship is strong enough to withhold adversity, then it’s time to choose to work through it because you’re both better versions of yourselves together than apart.  That being said, the concept of falling out of love is incompatible with my definition of love because it means that you chose to stop doing what’s best.  If that’s your decision, then you never loved in the fullness of its definition to begin with.  This is completely different and extremely magnified in the context of marriage.  Marriage is the choice to actively love someone all the days of your life.  It means when your spouse did that annoying thing for the millionth time, you still scrape the ice off of their car for work the next morning.  It means while experiencing emotional distance within your marriage, you remove yourself from tempting situations and work harder than you could ever imagine to repair what’s been broken for the wellbeing of yourself, your spouse, and your children.  

Two years ago, before my friends understood why I actively rejected the hookup culture and all of its empty promises, one of them asked, “did something happen in your family to make you like this?”  She was alluding to some sort of brokenness to lead me to lose hope in love.  “No,” I replied, “the opposite is true, actually.”  I had the privilege of growing up surrounded by selfless, authentic depictions of love and marriage.  I heard the story of five and six-year-old neighborhood friends turn to to high school sweethearts.  The man I get to call my uncle then served in Vietnam while she patiently awaited his return so that they could tie the knot.  Forty-four years later, the woman I get to call my aunt then patiently awaited and endured a double lung transplant ten hours from home while her husband learned to make her coffee and sandwiches just the way she liked them.  I spent a week in the hospital at my grandmother’s side, witnessing my grandfather weep for 59 years together not being long enough.  That’s why when my peers saw only the counterfeits of love, my eyes saw a bigger picture.  I choose to love my spouse before we meet.  Practice makes perfect, doesn’t it? And if anything’s worth it, isn’t love? The habits and sacrifices of now are undoubtedly overshadowed by the joy of later.  That way, when it’s time to make the big sacrifices, falling out of love is no option for me.