Love vs. Romance and Emotion
Last night, I had a long conversation with my wife. Wendy and I have been working through the love dare book one day at a time, and are really enjoying it. It has brought some hidden things to the surface for both of us. I’ve found that there are some areas that I thought I was pretty good at, and in fact, I still have a ways to go.
One of the greatest things that we’ve experienced from the book, is a greater understanding of what love is and what love is not. Love, is not an emotion. Love is that willingness to put your own life, and all of it’s desires and needs, on hold to care for and meet the desires and needs of someone else.
Let me interrupt the possible train of thought that has already entered some of the readers minds at this point. Love does NOT have to be separate from emotion and romance. For me personally, I find that loving someone causes emotion. Loving Wendy causes me to desire romance with her. In fact, I think that it’s really difficult and painful to love without emotion.
Here’s a key though. Love can be a one way street. It doesn’t have to be reciprocated to be given and given and given. You can love someone forever without ever receiving that same love in return. It is simply the choice to selflessly give your life in the quest of making another person’s life better. (Difficult not to use the illustration of Christ’s love. – He spent His entire lifetime on earth loving others, and it certainly wasn’t returned by everyone. Yet their lack of love for Him didn’t diminish His love in the least.)
To elaborate. Love can be a one way street forever, but romance and emotion must be returned in order to blossom and remain. True love will never fail. It continues throughout eternity. Romance and emotion are affected by so many momentary factors that they can be there one minute and literally gone the next. Those of us in long relationships can surely attest that it is difficult to enjoy a nice romantic moment when our partner is preoccupied with thoughts of work, family, sports, or any of a multitude of random topics that are capable of throwing a bucket of ice water on our best suave and seductive acts.
Even though there are rare cases of people maintaining a romantic interest in someone long after they have been rejected. (think stalkers…) These aren’t healthy, and they aren’t normal behavior. I would argue that they aren’t even real romance. Typically, if you try your hardest to win someones affection and emotions there are two results. Either they reject you, and you work through the accompanying heartbreak to find the next person that you are infatuated with. Or, they accept you and return the feelings and emotions on some level. This is where romance and emotion blossom into their fullest potential. It is a beautiful garden where true love often begins to grow.
Maybe what I’m trying to say here is that after 13 years of marriage, I know that there are times when the romance and emotional connection comes and goes. But, for it to be sustained, it requires both of us to make that happen. Love on the other hand, is a choice to be there forever with her best interest in mind. I know without a doubt that I love my wife. What we are working on at this point though is nurturing that garden of romance and open and honest emotions. Because when we have those times where it is both giving and receiving by both of us, it’s completely dynamic. It’s like riding on the wind. There are pains and joys, and they are shared.
When the choice to actively display and deepen the love that we share for each other is made by both of us, everything really becomes amazing.
Those are my thoughts for today. I think I need to process a little more and maybe clarify them before I take it to a publisher, but there’s a lot of depth in that little ramble.