I’m a romantic at heart. I love to see people find each other, to see a good relationship, or to see a marriage that I look up to. The problem with my romanticizing is that its not a viewpoint that always lines up with reality.
Although we want to think that love is easy, or is a mere feeling, or even a strong passion between lovers, it seems clear to anyone who’s been in a long-term relationship – and especially marriage – that love is most definitely a choice. Scott Peck, author of the Road Less Traveled, has said that he believes true love doesn’t even start until a couple is out of the honeymoon phase of their relationship, and he didn’t mean their actual honeymoon. Really loving someone happens when you choose to do things in their best interest, even when you don’t feel like it necessarily.
I’m not saying that the feelings of love totally die after a certain time point in a long-term relationship such as a marriage, but the high that comes from a new relationship (and infatuation) wears off eventually, and that is when it’s up to the couple to learn to really love.
Being the romantic at heart, I can even romanticize this real love (this takes skill)! When the infatuation period is over, and those feelings of a natural high are mostly gone from day-to-day, it’s romantic to me to make choices that lead to a strong, real love. Maybe I can romanticize anything… I’m sure many of you don’t think it’s romantic to be in a marriage and have to do the work of learning to truly love, I know when I was a girl growing up, this was the most unromantic thing I’d ever heard. I actually thought Scott Peck was wrong – or at least, I hoped he was wrong.
Now I know that loving someone truly is about the most romantic thing you can do. Real love creates a strong and passionate marriage.
Falling Out of Love
Doing the necessary work to achieve this real love prevents a marriage from dying. When people have affairs, they do it because they are either a sociopath or because something is usually missing from their marriage – a need is not being met in a very real way. Does it excuse it? No… but I feel for people who make this horrible mistake. The affair partner is a fantasy… it’s infatuation and addiction, never at the beginning is it real love.
It’s after the infatuation period wears off that the slow & downward spiral of falling out of love with each other can happen. Truly loving your spouse means that you take care of each other’s deepest needs… needs for security, conversation, sex, and companionship just to name a few. When these needs go unmet, the couple is shirking their responsibility to really love each other, and leading the door wide open to the vulnerability of an affair. It’s like emotionally or physically starving your partner to death.
The amazing thing is that when you do make those choices to meet each other’s needs and build a real, strong love together, you change. You might not have that intense feeling of infatuation all the time, but the trust and security that you feel from knowing how much you both care about each other leads to immense passion.
It’s intoxicating to be married to someone who cares so deeply about your well-being and emotional needs – it creates the deepest love which to me, translates to an even deeper passion.