I should start by saying, I have a wonderful boyfriend and I am madly in love with him. Today’s post was not inspired by my personal life but rather by another blogger’s piece about falling in (or out of) love that got me thinking. She had read a book with her students about a married couple that always fought. During the class discussion one of the kids asked, “Why did they get married if they don’t like each other?” Pretty astute question for a young kid, right? Now, I don’t want to copy her post but I do want to share a quote she used. “It is impossible to fall out of love. Love is such a powerful emotion, that once it envelops you, it does not depart. True love is eternal. If you think that you were once in love, but fell out of it, then it wasn’t love you were in.” She then goes on to conclude that the couple who constantly fought in the book did so simply because they were never in love. Check out Missy’s post Why? for yourself.
Immediately after reading this final line, I thought “Ah, that is so simple and obvious. They were just never in love.” At first I was satisfied with that and ready to move on. But I have to wonder, is it really possible to conclude that they were never in love, just because they are always fighting now? I must admit I never read the book that sparked this discussion so I do not know all the details of this particular couple’s story. But I think a valid issue was raised. Can love change?
I do believe that real love is powerful and lasts forever, but does the relationship always have to last forever with it in order for it to be real love? While that is ideally the goal of marriage, other variables can get in the way. If a relationship suddenly isn’t working or healthy anymore, does that mean that somewhere the love was actually never real?
I know there are situations where people still marry for reasons other than love. Some marry for money, some are set up in arranged marriages, others because they want children and then there are those that even though it is illegal, marry with the hopes to obtain a Green Card. But I am only talking about those people who marry for love here.
American’s have the #1 highest divorce rate (50%) in the world. If we conclude that they, the couple in the book, were never in love because they always fought, can we therefore conclude that all divorces occur because the people involved were never in love? I do not think that is a fair assessment. As humans we are always evolving, always changing, forever growing. When we marry, our goal is that we grow together with our partner, for richer or poorer, for sickness and in health, etc. However, it is possible for two people to grow in different directions. I ask then, when a couple grows apart, does that mean they were never truly in love in the first place? Again, I don’t believe this to be true.
Despite growing differences, can couples constantly argue but still love each other? We’ve all seen that couple that is constantly arguing, we’ve heard of the partner that had an affair, or seen those people at a restaurant who sit in silence. But is the love really gone?
People cheat. It is wrong but people still unfortunately do it. The reason may be different for everyone, but usually the cause is that one partner is not fulfilled in some aspect of the relationship and they look elsewhere to fill the void. Is it a matter of love changing or personal needs not being met? Trust might be damaged, but can love still persist?
Have you ever been badly hurt by love or cheated on? How do you feel towards that person now? If you were truly and madly in love with them, do you hate them for what they did but still love them deep down somewhere? You might have a broken heart and hate what they did, and not want to be with them anymore, but does that mean you no longer experience love for them? On the flip side, the question can be asked, how can you hurt someone you truly love?
Think about your parents. You love them unconditionally, right? Despite that, kids have been known to say to their parents, “I hate you!” because they didn’t see eye to eye on something. Families argue and fight but that doesn’t mean the love is not there. Granted, love for a partner is different than love for a parent or sibling, but in the end, it still falls in the category of love. Let me give an example of family love- I am a Daddy’s Girl through and through. My love for my father is so deep that I have physical reactions when he is sick or hurt. One time while I was caring for him because he had food poisoning, I had to run to another bathroom because I thought I would be sick too. Instead, I fainted. Another time, when he dislocated his finger, I got him water, an ice pack and a cold washcloth. I then called my mother to come home. When she walked in, she asked which one of us had to be taken to the hospital because while he sat there sweating, holding his dislocated finger, I sat next to him with his washcloth on my forehead, dizzy, and green; all because I saw my dad in pain. Despite this deep undeniable love, we still fight sometimes. But no matter what happens, the love is and always will be unconditional.
It is difficult to answer the student’s question. Maybe there are cases where couples thought they were in love, but it turns out to be infatuation or something other than love. Perhaps the couple in the book really never did love each other, afterall. Either way, I think love is complicated, beautiful, and powerful. I do not think there is only one person who is “The One” for us, but rather the person we fall in love with becomes The One. I will never forget my first love. I was young and the way I love today is drastically different than how I loved back then, but that doesn’t mean Mr. First Love still doesn’t have a place in my heart.
I don’t believe true love ever dies. I think it is eternal. But the relationship itself might not be.