Love: More than an emotion.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my marriage lately. I know, when we hear the “I’ve been thinking about my relationship” line, it usually leads to something negative. Not this time. At least I don’t think so. See, I’ve been thinking about where we started and where we are now.

In the last letter I wrote to my husband (or one of the last ones), I mentioned our first kiss. I remember pretty much every detail of it, but what I remember most is how he kissed me: like he had been working up to it, like he had held it in and couldn’t wait any longer, like his life depended on it. It was passionate for a first kiss.

But that is how our relationship has been from the start. Passionate. Now, please don’t go thinking that kind of passionate; I don’t go divulging my love life to everyone. No, what I mean is just vibrancy, love, longing…emotional passion.

The dictionary defines passion as “extreme or compelling emotion” (it’s a noun). Passionate, on the other hand, is an adjective. Now, my Webster’s New World College Dictionary has 3 definitions for passionate. The first: having or showing strong feelings. The second: easily angered. The third: resulting from, expressing, or tending to arouse strong feeling. So, “passion” and “passionate” revolve around strong emotions.

I asked him in my letter if and how he remembered that first kiss. I imagine he does. I have yet to hear back since it was just mailed, but I am curious to know his reality of it, what was going through his mind.

But I’ve been thinking about that passion I mentioned and about how it changes over time. Not that it goes away; it just changes. You hug, you kiss, you cuddle. You fight. Maybe you go to bed upset. You make-up. The passion is still there in every hug, every kiss, and even every fight (there’s always some sort of passion in a fight). You wish you could go back to that innocence, that feeling of first love, that passionate first kiss because it was fresh. But we can never go back.

And you know what? That is okay. Say it with me: that. is. okay. Do you want to know why? Because you grew up, you matured; the relationship matured. You learned each other’s faults, bad habits, and pet peeves. But you also learned what makes them laugh, that you have a constant best friend, and that love is much more than just an emotion.

Love is a promise. My uncle delivered a message at the church he is a pastor at during their marriage series: love is an intentional act of faith. I believe that is why the passion changes: because you realize that your marriage is not just a bunch of legal documents, but a covenant, a promise to each other.

So, over the last few months, while I have had time to think to myself and evaluate myself, I have realized that not only do I love my husband, but I made a promise: for better or worse, ‘till death do us part. Yes, our first kiss back together in a week and a half will be passionate, but that passion has never gone away. But that reminder, that we made a covenant, is what makes me realize that the passion we have had has always been there.

1 John 4:7 tells us “love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.” I love, so therefore I know God because God is love. See how that works? But it also means because God is love that we have to give up our marriage to Him; we cannot love with Him. (Honestly, I owe these revelations to my uncle’s message.)

So, again, as I prepare to see my husband in 12 days (as of today), I remind myself that we are passionate, but that we must also be passionate in our faith in order to keep that passion in our marriage. Yes, I look forward to that passionate kiss of being reunited. Yes, I look forward to the closeness we will rediscover. But I also remind myself that the dynamic of our relationship has changed, and that is okay. I remind myself that I cannot go back to the first-love passion, but I can hold onto the passion that we have as a couple who has been married for (almost) 3 years.

And you know what? While that first-love passion was wonderful (I won’t lie; I remember it all well), this passion now is amazing. Because I know this man better than anyone, and I am still learning about him. Because he is my best friend. Because we have the faith to know that we are each other’s, no matter what. What could be more passionate than that?

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