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"Falling In Love"

We’re reading The Five Love Languages with our home group. It is the second time Shawna and I have read it, but the first time for some of the couples in our group. It is starting to get good in chapter 3, so I want to start sharing from there.

The book describes the “in-love” experience as an obsession that isn’t true love at all. We lose interest in other pursuits, we do things we told ourself we would never do, we think our beloved is perfect and that this love will last forever. The fact is the “in-love” experience only lasts an average of 2 years before we land our feet back on earth and realize that our mate is human and little by little we begin to fall out of the “in-love” fantasy world.

For Shawna and I the “in-love” experience was just as the book describes it – an obsession. We thought each other was perfect, we never fought, we disregarded each others history (baggage), we spent money we didn’t have traveling and buying things we couldn’t afford, we got married, took the first jobs we were offered, and moved away from family and friends to start a life of our own. Not that all of that was a mistake in my opinion. We think most everything happens for a reason and we’ve learned a lot along the way, but as far as our relationship goes we can look back on about a 2 yr period that could realistically be called obsession.

Some researchers argue that falling “in-love” isn’t real love at all for three reasons – it isn’t an act of will or conscious (if you knew how I was living at the time I met Shawna you’d know I wasn’t looking to fall in love and settle down), it is effortless (doesn’t require discipline or conscious effort, it’s almost instinctual), when we’re “in-love” we’re not interested in growth and development any longer (we have a false sense that we’ve arrived). In fact some researchers even describe the “in-love” experience as a natural component of mating behavior.

Now that I’ve totally reduced being “in-love” to being horny monkeys we’re left with the question of what to do after the obsession has ended. Well, there are basically three options: accept a life of misery with your spouse, end it and go find another obsession (unfortunately in our day and time this is what people are doing but I think it is because they don’t understand the last option), we can recognize the “in-love” experience for what it was – a temporary emotional high – and now pursue “real love” with our spouse.

The third option is better for a couple of reasons. Dating sucks is one good reason, but the real reason is because EVERYONE has an emotional need to feel genuinely loved by another (not a need to fall “in-love”), to feel a love that grows because the other person chooses to love you and sees something worth loving in you. This kind of love requires discipline and effort that both enriches the life of the one you love and your own – because you experience the satisfaction of genuinely loving someone.

So how do we meet the deep, emotional needs to feel loved? That’s what the rest of the book is for – learning the Five Love Languages and understanding how to meet your mate’s needs by speaking the love languages appropriately. I’ll post more about that later.

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