That "In Love" Feeling
Re-posted blog from Fri, 18 Sep 2009
I just exchanged emails with a woman about infatuation, dating and the defining period of three months. Usually 3 months is when the infatuation wears off and the real person is pleased to stand up. In couples who continue on to marry and have good marriages the core values and virtues remain strong and even improve, deepening respect.
In others, that short amount of time begins to reveal a glossy paint job that's peeling. The wood underneath may be rotten. Or, realistically and commonly, the best efforts to master life long foibles can’t bear up much longer than a couple months. For example showing up on time (speaking of myself) erodes into the more characteristic trait—“always late.” People realize they are not the best match after all, given the real enchiladas.
It is not the elated feelings of infatuation, nor the deeper but fleeing feeling of being in love but the love from respect (quality person) that helps carry through to marriage. Even within the marriage, it helps carry them through the alternating fleeting feelings of love. Gary Chapman quotes an expert in his book, Five Loves and states the “In love” feeling generally lasts no more than two years. I heard Dr Dobson say it can begin ebbing even before a year of their meeting together.
I once read, “Love is a steady intent of our will toward another’s lasting good.” That is the definition that will carry a marriage through the years—not the feeling of being, “in love.” And that is agape love. God’s love to direct His best actions for our best good toward us irregardless of what space we are in. That is the love all the couples I know have said is the glue that held their marriage boat together through the seasonal storms without shipwrecking.
Once I spoke with a woman married eighteen years who described a scene in her kitchen—her husband dropped a crystal glass from their wedding. When she expressed distress and made a sentimental comment, somehow a tete a tete began. It culminated when he said, “I was never ‘in love’ with you when we married.” She was shocked and hurt, but prayed and determined to love him through her love for Jesus anyway. A couple years later they had some loving moments. She revisited the hurt she had felt from that night. He denied what he said. “I’ve always loved you.” Such is our human condition of “feelings.”
So I think of Fiddler on the Roof when Tevyah sings to his wife, “Do you love me?”
She answers, “for twenty five years I’ve washed his clothes, fed him meals, slept with him…if that’s not love what is?” Old fashioned, practical love that does.
In an age that dotes on romance and starry starry eyes, it’s good to remember love is from God. The best we can do in this life is love each other as He loves us and loved us through the love He gives us. In His fountain, not our own dwindling brook. The love of 1 Corinthians 13, that bears and believes all things. That does not keep a record of wrongs.
The love he showed by sending His Son was not a feel good demonstration. It was a determined effort and decision to love a people who were at the time uncaring. But love won out and what a difference our response is today than when we first met Him. So our human marriages can reflect that divine love… and some do!