Love, in Actuality
Recently, a devastated friend told me how her husband, of twenty-seven years, decided to end their relationship on Valentine’s Day. He cited that he was not in love with her. When she demanded him to elaborate on that pearl of insight, he said that the passion between them was gone and that he needed to be “in love” to be part of any relationship!
While she was whirling from the “What the heck just happened?” Syndrome, and I was thinking about what an absolute moron the gentleman was, I started to wonder why someone would give up a seasoned and tried relationship for something as elusive, intangible and fleeting as being in love.
Being in love! Ahh!! We have all been there (don’t lie to yourself). It is a roller-coaster ride. It is exhilarating and breathtaking. Here, there are mysteries and myths. The experience is full of expectations, mostly from the other person. But it also forces you to be better than yourself, almost like a super-self – a version 2.0, if you will. This, mind you, is hard work but who cares? You are in love!! You are exhilarated by the highs and devastated by the lows. But, hey! Reality check! Once the journey of discovery is over…that feeling is gone too.
Falling in love, in my opinion, can be compared to visiting an exotic and foreign land. It is fascinating and the journey stimulates the senses to a point of overload. You are enthralled by the novelty, by the unfamiliar uniqueness. You want to somehow absorb every detail and to envelop yourself in the scent. But as the patina wears off you realize that the enchantment wears off too and what was once fascinating becomes mundane and, at times, tiresome and monotonous.
Loving, on the other hand is what home is. It is warm and comfortable. Here you can be yourself without fear of judgment. With loving comes a promise and a deep dedication. When you feel as if you have arrived and are no longer a wanderer. It is the culmination of all trials and tribulations, when all the monsters are slain and all dragons chased away. Here you can hang up your armor and let your guard down – you are accepted as-is, all dents and dings included. Here is a place where you do not have to be at your best behavior to impress but rather a place where you, with all your faults and imperfections, are accepted and appreciated. And unconditional acceptance is what every heart craves.
Relationships are tricky. Teenagers wish for certain attributes in their (hopefully future) partners. There is a desire for people who are spontaneous, who are ready for any adventure at any time, A certain disdain for authority, a disregard for the sanctity of the status quo seems so attractive. With age comes the realization that the qualities that were so attractive and made us swoon in our youth are not the ones that will sustain a long-term, sane, loving relationship. An adult
person, man or woman, who is self-obsessed, defies authority and is ready to leave everything (job, family) for an adventure would make a crappy spouse not to mention be annoying as heck.
So the lesson, boys and girls, is that falling in love is like an explosion of fireworks! All noise and heat and whirling colors, and it just happens–no effort required. There for a flash and then gone. To sustain that love you need to keep the fires burning, and that doesn’t just happen. You have to make it happen.. with actual hard work. Staying for the long haul, that’s where the promise of happiness ever after lies. You may fall in and out of love but you will never desert or betray true love!