So, I follow a female minister named Kim Pothier (@RealTalkKim) and she posted a picture of her and her husband and wrote the following caption on it, "True Love Isn't Found, It's Built!" Those six words spoke volumes to me. Kim isn't the author of the quote but she was the first person that I ever heard quote it. This quote really deflates the fantasy that many of us have about love (especially women). You know, the fantasy that our prince charming will find us, sweep us off of our feet, and we will live happily ever after. I'm not saying that you won't find a good partner or that you won't fall deeply in love but what the quote highlights is that true love won't just happen on it's own, it takes work from two committed people!
See, what we call love is really just fluff! We usually equate love to the butterflies we feel when we first start a relationship...it's new...it's fun...it feels good. Unfortunately, this "feeling" only lasts for about 18 months max. It's not love you are feeling but simple biology. Don't believe me? Read on!
"When we enter a relationship, Mother Nature provides a bunch of brain chemicals that help us bond, fall in love and eventually propagate the species. During the first six to 18 months of a new relationship, there’s an increase in levels of dopamine, testosterone, PEA and norepinephrine. Some of these chemicals are kissin’ cousins of amphetamines, so we can find our hearts racing when we think of our partners and even become flush and perspire. We find ourselves able to stay up all hours of the night and get anxious when we don’t get a partner “fix.” Over time, these addictive brain chemicals slowly reduce and our “normal” selves emerge to once again think about friends, family and jobs and not just focus on our partner. This is a new stage in a relationship. For many couples, when they feel the butterflies flitting away, they assume love has flitted away as well.(www.twoofus.org)
We equate love with a "high" and when the high lifts, we think the love is gone. Actually, the love doesn't start until the high lifts. This is why you have so many "serial daters"...they are chasing the high! I must admit that when I first got married, I had a misconception about love. I thought marriage was going to bring back the butterflies...and it does...but only temporarily. You quickly realize that people were right when they said "marriage is work." I remember feeling like I was being punked because I didn't feel like the girl in The Notebook. All sorts of crazy thoughts entered my mind, like "Did I make a mistake?" It really took the holy spirit, time, and godly wisdom from other married women, to help me understand that love is not a feeling but rather a choice! I had to choose to love my husband on a daily basis regardless of how I felt. And as we all know, feelings are fickle. When I changed my perception, my feelings changed as well. The biblical intendment of marriage was never to make us happy but to make us holy. You can't build a godly marriage with the world's concept of love. If you do, you run the risk of your marriage ending around the same time as the high.
Every marriage is unique so I can only speak from my own experience. However, there are some universal truths in marriage. There is no such thing as the "perfect" marriage (if someone says otherwise, they are lying...lol.) You can absoutely have a happy and healthy marriage but you will have to put in the work. There aren't any shortcuts to love. Much like a delicate flower, your marriage must be catered to...you have to water it, expose it to sunlight, give it nutrients, and so on. Of course, I'm using these examples metaphorically but you get what I'm saying. I am convinced that the divorce rate in America is over 50 percent because of our misconceptions about love and the institution of marriage and our need for instantant gratification.
Do you want to get married one day? Well, here are a few pointers:
- Be the person you want to attract. You can't expect someone else to have what you don't have yourself. Preparation is key.
- Pray for a partner. Many people want to be married but don't ask God for it. The bible instructs us to pray about everything...
- Be patient. Impatience can cause you to make rash decisions and miss out on what God has prepared for you. Wait on God!
- Celebrate the love of others. Does it seem like everybody's getting married but you? Well, I've been there! Your day will come so don't be a hater.
- Practice forgiving. Just trust me. It will make sense later.