If what I describe in this post is truly how many of us “fall in love”, then I think that this post will be relevant for people at all relationship stages, whether you are single and looking, in love, or already married, possibly wondering just where the feelings went…
I’m going to try to write this post without giggling incessantly into my screen (she giggles further!) OK then, calming right down, taking a deep breath…. Firstly, I know I’m always apologising on these blogs. However, I feel another apology is in order. And that is for writing my previous post while in a state of near delirium (and editing it a day later, in the same state!) When am I going to learn that I must not write these blog posts late at night, when I’m mentally exhausted?! This Huggie-Wuggie thing gets me excitable anyway. But that effect is compounded by mental tiredness. My thinking, rational, coolheaded brain shuts down and I can’t think clearly, I can only feel and all my many feelings eagerly pour out… Dear me!
To be honest I’m also writing this particular post kinda late at night, but not as late as that….let’s see how this goes then. I am going to try to be more sober in this post and over the course of today I’ve been struck by a powerful impulse (prayer?!) towards sobriety and I immediately embraced it because it was clear that this is exactly what I need.
The subject of this post is actually something that occurred to me a few weeks ago, possibly a few months ago. It helps me to understand my own self in thinking about love, attraction, etc, and I hope it might also come in useful for anyone else who also dreams of being hopelessly in love with their eventual spouse.
I’ve been twisting these issues over in my mind for so long, and this is what I believe I have finally understood: I have the kind of romantic nature that makes me feel as if I was born to be hopelessly in love with my eventual spouse. This is my self-proclaimed destiny that I have eagerly embraced for many years. Over the years I’ve been building up a mental /emotional impression of my eventual spouse and marriage to the point where now I am already desperately in love with this mental image, both of the man and of the marriage. “Mental image” is the wrong phrase here, I can’t think of a better way to express it. I’m not saying I’ve built up an image of what the husband might physically look like. Rather an impression of the way he and I would interact together, how he would talk to me, how he would hold my hand etc…And I’m already totally in love with that. When I say that I am totally in love with it, I mean that thinking on that stimulates feelings of joy and excitement and optimism within me so that I cannot wait to realise these hopes. So now the impression exists in my mind, and without realising, what I have been looking for is the person who is going to fit into that image. (You know how people talk about marrying the spouse of their dreams?!) Which is why I already know that when such a person shows up, I will be desperately in love with him! It is after all just the relatively simple matter of transferring the existing feelings from the mental image to the real flesh-and-blood man!
I think that this might also be why I personally cannot really accept the idea of marrying someone who does not fit into this ideal, or who will not hold my hand that way.
Thinking on that today helped me regarding this issue of sobriety. It occurred to me that the reason I might be behaving as if I’m out of control with the blog post directed to a real person, is because mentally/emotionally I’ve been looking forward to pouring out my heart to my husband without any reservations whatsoever. It occurred to me that if I mentally cultivate sobriety in my expectations of my marriage, then that sobriety will also translate to my blog posts. Furthermore, in my thoughts on marriage, I’ve got to remember that neither he nor I will be perfect, there will be misunderstandings between us, times when neither of us wants to hold the other’s hand…mutual frustrations, irritations…in short I’ve got to inject a sense of realism into these expectations, in a way that still allows me to look forward to a gloriously happy marriage.
It also occurred to me that, if this way of thinking is quite standard, then this might be the reason why people fall in love with one another in the first place – and then also fall out of love with one another. If this image already exists in my head, then the reason I will “fall in love” with someone is because I feel he corresponds to this image. However, after years of living together etc the point might come when you decide that your spouse no longer corresponds to the impression you have in your mind of what it means to be in love, or perhaps it is the mental impression you have that itself changes.
So if I were to ever tell him “I love you so much!”, it would be a big fat lie. The actual truth would be: “I think you correspond to the mental image that I’ve been building up for many years of my dream spouse. To the extent that you continue to correspond to this image, I will continue to consider myself in love with you. However if you were ever to deviate from that image…!”
Thinking on this a few things occurred to me. When I get married, I have to throw away those mental images in favour of my actual husband. It is to him that I will be married, not that mental image; it is to him that I must be faithful, not any impression that I have allowed to build up over many years.
I guess now the challenge is to open my eyes to truly see who my spouse is, to not try to fit him into a pre-existing mental image, but to evaluate him on his own true strengths and merits. Long-term marital success will depend on remaining committed to one another, no matter how we each develop. This means remaining committed to the real man. This thing of building up a mental impression has been going on for so many years that I feel I’m going to need some divine help with this. It is now such a habit that I don’t even realise when I’m doing it.
On one hand, I guess this is the way “vision” works for anything; that you need to see it, you need to visualise it, you need to imagine it; it has to be real in your imagination before you can realise it in practice. I think that here the danger is that you’re dealing with a human being with his own human initiative, prerogative, will, dignity and feelings, and his own ideas of who he wants to be, which can change at any time. It is not like you’re dealing with an inanimate object like the architectural plans for a house, that you can essentially manipulate as you wish. And the way he might develop as a human being, the character he might acquire, is not something I can truly control at all, but rather pray towards. So to me it makes sense that I have got to start uprooting this mental image from now, from right now, and rather open my eyes so wide to see the man, to see who he is, and commit to him, and trust God that He (God) would pour forth mutual love, grace, commitment and patience between the two of us, and that He would also help us both to continue striving after Him (God) all the days of our lives, and in that striving to remain mutually committed to one another. Amen! 😉
1 Peter 1v22:
Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart.
PHOTO CREDITS Photo of roses by Snapographic on Pixabay