What if we were wrong about love?
What if it’s not black and white and it has a larger grey area than we thought? What if love isn’t about you and it’s about the other person? What if it’s not about your happiness, but about unselfish actions? What if it’s not just a robotic choice, and not just butterflies in your stomach, but both? And what if true love means choosing to love someone even once the butterflies are gone? Even when that person is making you angry, and you’re fighting constantly, and they’re driving you up a wall, and they aren’t holding up their end of the deal in this relationship?
What if we stopped being afraid of being the one who loves more in our relationship?
I was talking to a friend, and I said that “I’m not happy anymore” is not a reason for divorce. He said, “But isn’t that the point of love? To be happy?” And I thought, That’s a love of pressure to put on one person for the rest of your lives. Think about it. What that’s saying is, “I’m going to entwine my heart and soul with yours, become one with you, and promise you the rest of my life. But I just want you to know that if you don’t make me happy for the rest of my life then I’m leaving you.”
Talk about pressure.
But that’s what almost every marriage or long-term relationship has evolved into. It’s all about the other person giving you something. It’s a contract with them. “I’ll make you happy, and you’ll make me happy, but when either of us stops doing that, we’re done.” What it was meant to be is a covenant. Which says, “I’ll give you myself until I die, and even though you’re pledging the same thing, I know that some day you probably won’t hold up your end of things. And that’s okay. I’ll still be here, I’ll still love you.”
And I think that that pressure that we put on each other, the pressure that we put on naturally selfish beings, to constantly give to us, to fill our ever-lasting need, even when they’re possibly getting nothing in return, is what breaks relationships. It’s a totally unrealistic expectation.
Happiness, joy, excitement. These are all by-products of a loving relationship. But in and of themselves, they do not make up the entirety of love. I feel that that’s what we’re saying when we equate being in love to being happy.
The happy times are what people share with their friends, what they post about on Facebook, what they take pictures of. Nobody wants to take pictures of or post about (okay, people do post about it, but that’s a different issue) that huge fight they just had where he stormed out the door and didn’t come back for three hours while she sat at home crying. Nobody seems to want to share that date night that went horribly wrong, or the total lack of date nights they’ve been having.
People want to share smiles.
But any relationship in your life, whether it’s a marriage, your family, or your friends, isn’t only composed of smiles.
I just have to wonder: we have the “all smiles” expectation for romantic relationships, but then when it comes to friends and family, we are much more lenient and we are much more expectant of hardship, tears, and pain.
Maybe that’s one of the biggest problems.