What Is Love Exactly?

Does the magic always have to fade?

Maybe I am hopeless romantic, or maybe I am just too stubborn to let something I want slip away, but I do not agree with the idea that the intensity of love fades over time.

Maybe I am hopeless romantic, or maybe I am just too stubborn to let something I want slip away, but I do not agree with the idea that the intensity of love fades over time.

Anyone who has been in a relationship has probably experienced what I am talking about.

That window of time where a relationship is new, and one’s partner is the most amazing person in the world. Every stolen glance, every kiss, every brushing of a finger tip, every conversation; every interaction feels so good and inspiring.

So many thoughts are focused on the emotional and physical intensity of the new frontier this new person represents, the intensity feels like an endless galaxy of happiness.

So what’s the problem?

In every relationship others have told me about, along with every one of my own relationships, there comes a point where that magical, heart pounding intensity fades and makes way for something people tell me is called “love.”

What, really?

So let me make sure I understand this correctly.

Finding the true love of one’s life means that the initial spark, which coincidentally is the same spark that existed with others, fades away just like all the other emotionally intense sparks before them? Only this time when it fades something tolerable, but permanent and sort of boring is the result?

Um, no thanks!

Typically, when the initial spark of a new relationship wears off, there is often not enough of an emotional connection or deep intimate bond to hold people together. This sudden drop off in intensity then becomes what people everywhere have classified as a “normal” stage of a relationship.

Why is it considered okay that people feel less passionately about one another at any stage of a relationship?

God’s love is not defined as having ebbs and flows, it says that he yearns for us intensely.

James 4:5
Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us [yearns] intensely?

To put this verse in context, it means that God does not want to have any equals in the relationship, He wants us to love Him with excitement, just like He loves us. Passion and dedication are the necessary components to keep any type of emotionally intense relationship healthy and flourishing.

So what are the most common things that cause people to become emotionally and physically cool after a while?

In my experience, this happens most when couples start taking each other for granted and don’t make a point of staying emotionally close. Relationships aren’t like the laws of physics, they change–sometimes suddenly, but mostly over time.

If human beings were incapable of maintaining a hunger for things over extended periods of time, then I could see that the wane of a relationship could be an acceptable evolution of a couple’s life together.

But come on, people stay enthusiastic about their hobbies their entire lives because they continue to invest time and effort into them.

People can watch football, play golf, eat food, exercise, or do whatever they like for a lifetime. They wake up and get excited about the Super Bowl, a big tee time, a fishing trip, learning new technologies, etc… So why don’t people wake up every morning enthusiastic about another day of interacting, and growing with their partner?

It’s because people take each other for granted, and ultimately stop appreciating one another; hence the sense of boredom.

If someone played golf for six months and never got any better, would they keep playing? I doubt it.

If someone watched the same football game over and over would they be just as excited to watch it? I doubt it.

See where this going?

So why do people tolerate a relationship not getting any better? The only way to keep things fresh is by pursuing ourselves and our partners, and making sure we don’t get weighed down by life’s distractions.

When people don’t get excited over their partner emotionally, intellectually or physically, I think this is the worst point of a relationship. This means both partners, or just one of them, is no longer participating in the relationship in a manner that will keep the intense pace going.

North American society has not trained people to be adept at emotional awareness, let alone emotional vulnerability. People are rarely able to articulate their own emotional desires, and are often poorly equipped to have an honest dialog about their feelings with either themselves or their partners.

Understanding, and exploring intimacy with a partner means so much more than just an intense, chemically intoxicating connection at the beginning of a relationship. It takes effort to keep this going, but I have found that it is totally possible as long as you are truly in love with your partner and keep the passion alive well past the “best before” date–just treat your partner like they are the most important person in your life, and constantly show them, not just tell them, how much you love them.

There!

One last thing, just remember that it’s easy to chase every pretty face that passes by, not because there really is potential there, but because human beings tend to look for something “better” when they are not content. Physical attraction is only part of a healthy relationship, but without a long-lasting, deep rooted emotional bond no physical beauty could ever keep someone happy forever.

No matter how attractive someone seems at first, if there is no friendship and mutual desire for a deep relationship, the person will get just as annoying to be around as everyone else before them.

So don’t get distracted emotionally or physically from your partner, make sure to respect the bond between you and stay focused on each other as if your love was a bubble that only the two of you exist in.

But above all, pick a good partner in the first place, and be brave enough to love them with total freedom and vulnerability once you find them!

Facebook Comments

comments

17 Comments

Click here to post a comment

  • Your last insight was right on target: pick the right one in the first place…and to me that right one would be a true follower of CHRIST…one already walking In CHRIST, not just professing to be a believer, but actually walking the walk, not just talking the talk.

  • Does the magic always have to fade? I agree that it doesn’t have to fade, however, what causes the flames to die is that some partners forget why they fell in love.

    For example, when my husband and I were dating, I felt like a million bucks. He treated me like a princess, as if every waking moment of his life was spent thinking about me. His behavior and actions towards me were major components of my falling in love with him. Seriously, how could I let this perfect stranger go – who had vowed to spend the rest of his days living and breathing me? No way! He was a keeper. I was high on his priority list and that made him irresistible to me.

    Now after over ten years of marriage, things have changed – particulary his behavior. I no longer feel like I come first. So, I’m disappointed, to say the least.

    I was once “brave enough to love…with total freedom and vulnerability…” Now my heart has begun to build a wall of protection, due to constant disappointment. I once felt like the most important person in his world, now I feel invisible. Unlike you, he let something he once wanted slip away. Now I don’t know if I can settle for less than what I started with.

    Being devout Christians doesn’t mean that you don’t fall out of love. I still believe that all things are possible with God. But I’m really hurting during this phase of our marriage. Only God can change his heart and have him desire me the way he once did. I can’t force anyone to love me. I refuse to. If what brought us together doesn’t keep us together, it is no fault of my own. I know I haven’t changed, but he has, and it’s seriously damaging our relationship. We communicate with open hearts, yet his words do not match his actions.

    So, I say all this to say, the magic doesn’t have to fade, but once it does, if the proper precautions and drastic measures aren’t taken, the “magic” may not be recovered. Both partners must be vigilant, otherwise the “yoke is uneven”.

    • Hello, thank you for sharing with such honesty. You have been married for ten years, do you feel that the drop in intensity was due to a particular reason, or series of reasons? I am not sure what the exact nature of the issue is, but my perspective on marriage is that God gave us a very good example in the Bible by referring to the believers as his “bride.” God has done so many things to show us that he loves and cares for us. Whether through sacrifice, His presence, blessings, correction, or flexibility and compromise, He has provided mankind with a very clear example of what it means to love with a steadfast heart. Most importantly, we have been taught to love others as He has loved us. This means being equally as steadfast in our commitment to honor and love those around us, especially those who are close to us through marriage. I believe that as God said:

      Hebrews 13:4
      “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.”

      This verse is a very important reminder that marriage is to be honored and respected, for a vow is made with God as a witness. If one looks at the Greek text, it lists the word “Adulterer” in this passage as “someone who is unfaithful.” As Christians we should be mindful that God considers anything that comes between Him and us as “adultery.” Whether it is money, work, friendships, entertainment, etc… If we put other things before Him, then the relationship will ultimately suffer, just like human relationships suffer when people are not keeping their focus on their partner. I hope that in your open hearted communication, there is clarity as to why the distance between you exists; do you feel like you know why the relationship is in the state it is in?

  • Well, to be frank, I believe the drop in intensity is due to some intimacy issues that we’ve been experiencing since the onset of our marriage. Because he has refused to get couple’s counseling, I’ve been dealing with our issues on my own.

    In the early years I thought I was to blame, however, more recently I’ve come to terms that the problem does not originate from me. Over the years I have reached out to various professionals on my own, in order to maintain some level of sanity. However, if we both cannot deal with “our” issues as a team, I don’t know how much more of this I can take. I feel like I’m fighting alone. There is no I in team, and we are supposed to be one (bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh)…But I’m at my wits end.

    Call me naive or gullible, but I don’t believe in my heart of hearts that there has been any indiscretion. But, I feel like Leah, instead of Jacob’s precious Rachel.

    I feel like a volcano ready to explode. I’m so angry and frustrated with my/our situation. I didn’t get married for this. Although I’ve honored my husband and protected him I feel I haven’t been given the same courtesy. I say this because I don’t believe he’s done everything within his power to set things right for us. Whereas I’ve jumped through many hoops to set the crooked paths straight. Bottom line is, I’m fighting to keep the little magic that’s left, but I’m doing it alone.

  • It sounds like there is a contrast between the person you married and the person they became, both in the early and later stages of the relationship. No matter what happens, I believe that loving someone is an ongoing choice that we have to make continuously throughout the relationship. Are there issues that create a scenario where he is unable to truly accept love and be intimate with someone else? It is easy to win someone over at the start of a relationship, but it is very different to love them over time. He may not have had any solid role models growing up for how to maintain a healthy, loving relationship.

    What does God say when you wait on Him?

  • Hello again. I really want to take the time to thank you for all your input and concern regarding this matter. I feel like you are being led by God to minister to me, so thank you for being available.

    Now, to answer your question about what God has been saying to me…Although, I’d like to run away, annul the marriage, and start fresh…I feel that the Lord is asking me to wait, just a little bit longer. But, Lord permitting, I would prefer not to wait for more than six months. Life is too short and I don’t have any children. As I quickly approach my forties, I cannot afford to wait much longer. I don’t want to have any regrets for staying with a man that doesn’t want me. The next few months I will be waiting for signs of improvement, without any persuasion or coercion from me.

    I’ve said my peace. He knows exactly where I stand (except for the anullment part). If he won’t have me, or kindly let me go, I will be forced to leave. Unless God intervenes and physically obstructs my way, regrettalby it will be time for me to throw in the towel. Unless he can utter, “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine…”, I will be set free to go.

    The word of God says that “all things work together for those that love God who are called according to his purpose.” As long as I continue to put God’s will above my own, honor and obey Him, it will be well with my soul. Although disoppointed and afraid of the future, God continues to be my hiding place. I will continue to trust Him, even when I can’t trace Him. The word says, “He is faithful, even when we are unfaithful for he cannot deny/disown Himself.”

    I’m going through this for a reason. To God be the glory.

    • Hello, thank you again for sharing. As part of our Christian fellowship it is very important to feel like we can reach out and seek counsel from each other. I greatly value the opportunity to have this discussion with you.

      Regarding the sense that you are to wait, I would caution against putting a timeline on this. The Israelites were told they would be led into the promise land, but they were never told how long it would take–they obediently left Egypt anyways. Maybe they didn’t think to ask, and just went thinking everything would be great in a short amount of time; we tend to do this in and outside of our relationship with God a lot.

      This brings up a very interesting topic that I am going to write about tonight, as I feel that the idea of Christians divorcing for reasons outside of infidelity is a very interesting topic. Jesus said that if we look at someone lustfully we have committed adultery. It is clear that by the spirit of the law, emotional and intellectual infidelity is grounds for divorce just as physical infidelity is. When looking at the scenario of a person desiring something/someone else more intensely than one’s partner, it must be regarded in the same way that God regards things that come between us and Him–as flat out idolatry.

      This hasn’t been stated, but what is the nature of the lack of intimacy, is it emotional, spiritual, physical, intellectual, or a combination of these? You mentioned that you felt there was no indiscretion, but in what way?

  • I’m really excited to share these concepts with my college all-women’s bible study group- we are ALWAYS talking about relationships, at least I am 😛

    • A good relationship is so incredibly difficult to find, but when we, and our partner, are ready it just happens. I love hearing girl talk about relationships though, I hope you and your friends have some good conversations and enjoy not settling.

  • Love your article.My husband and I have been married 45 years and are more in love than ever.Most people now a days do not make it to 10 years, they want someone else,so their life can be exciting again like when they were first married.Let me tell you my husband and I are working side by side self employed for over 30 years .How many couples can do that. Most couples can not even work together to do the chores. Why my husband and I built our home together side by side. Yes we went through tough times like all couples.And there are sometimes I wanted to give him a good knock on the head but I never let divorce come into the picture.He tells me he loves me even more today than when he married me.He tells me I am beautyful every day and always does some little thing that makes me happy. He says he loves to see me happy. About two years ago we started our own website
    http://www.healthylivingwithnaturalsupplements.com/
    we enjoy doing it together. For over 25 years we had a woodworking business,day and night we worked together. Think positive about a relationship or marriage. Look at the man you are dating and ask yourself would I want to be married to this man for the rest of my life? Does he make me happy, is my heart full of joy when we are together.If not then God has someone else in mind for you .He is out there and he will come.He came through for me,He will come through for you if you allow Him too.

  • Hi Hurting but hopeful,

    I have been married 32 years this year-we have separated, came close to divorce, got back together and guess what – I know in my heart that God placed my spouse in my life. But, there comes a time when the communication begins to break down – especially with men. Men’s ego gets in the way especially when it comes to intimacy there are many things on a mans mind that he does not want to talk about with others only his loving wife. Although, husbands may seem to be damaged goods- reaching out in deep love is so important through conversation – much conversation. A man can feel totally worthless but if his wife who he depends on and loves communicates with him there is a healing that takes place in his heart and mind. Many times wives never see this side of their husbands because God created man to stand strong. But, I believe that when God made Eve from the rib of Adam – Adam realized the immense love of God toward man in giving him a soul mate – the two becomes one.

  • SOLICM – Just wanted to express my sincere appreciation for your thoughtfulness and words of encouragement. I especially enjoyed the remark, “reaching out in deep love is so important through conversation – much conversation”.
    However, in my case, I feel my marriage is beyond repair. I’m mentally and emotionally exhausted. I’ve reached out so much, that I’m all stretched out and bent out of shape. My innermost resources have been depleted. In times past, the word divorce was never part of my vernacular, but in recent months that is all I find myself contemplating – how and when will I take the necessary steps to end this nightmare.
    I’ve never felt so humiliated and rejected in my entire life. I’ve endured over 10 years and now it’s time for a change, while I still have time to recover and move on. I don’t want to look back in 10 or 20 years, regretting my youth and missed opportunities of happiness. I’m no beauty queen, but I’m no Jezebel either. I’m a child of the Most High, the King of kings – surely I deserve better.
    I didn’t ask for much, and perhaps that was the problem. Some have commented that I’ve been too low maintenance…but that does in no way mean than I’m not high priority. I just want and need to be loved and appreciated. Not to be coarse or suggestive, but I want to be someone’s steak, not chopped liver. The loneliness and sense of abandonment is killing my spirit. I don’t believe in my heart of hearts that God has called me to this. I crave a relationship where the magic never has to fade. But in my case… the magic was short-lived/never existed on his part, nor will it ever. It’s only by the grace and everlasting love of God that I stand here today, with enough gumption to move on. “Forgetting those things which are behind, I press on toward the prize of the mark of the high calling…” I realize that God does not favor divorce, however the emotional abuse is totally ungodly, and I won’t stand for it.

    ***Nathan, thanks again for this outlet. You have no idea how your blog has been a such a blessing 2 me.***

  • Hello. I am not against Christians getting a divorce if the spouse neglects their partner consistently and over an extended period of time. Also, I endorse it wholeheartedly if there is infidelity. Even God withdraws and leaves people’s hearts and lives when He is not welcome, He set the example for us to follow in all things, marriage is no exception. You are in my prayers, and I am glad you have found support here amongst your family.

  • I hope and pray that “Hurting but Hopeful” has kept the faith and is finding healing.
    When we are first in a relationship we tend to have blinders on and see only the perfection of the other person. It is only after years of being together that we begin to see those ‘imperfections’ that really did exist all along. When entering into any situation I pray for God’s wisdom and understanding, I pray also for discernment. I try to look for the good in a person but without the blinders on. I have been married for 17 years to my husband. Is he perfect? Certainly not, yet neither am I. When I fell from his high pedestal he had me on I think I fell onto that large bubble he had our lives inside and POP! We have learned to live together loving the great things that we first loved each other for, but accepting the annoying imperfections that came unexpected later. Believe me there were times that the only thing that has held us together has been the Word of God, but I know that that’s the best reason of all.

    • Hello. I giggled at the honesty and frankness of what you wrote, and that is not totally uncommon from what I understand. Other than pairing people up to have a story book romance, I think sometimes God pairs people up who can teach each other a lot as they both go through their independent, but congruent, growth processes. When people stick together, and explore each other in ways that perpetually treading on daisies can never teach, I think those relationships are the most meaningful and deeply binding.

  • somone please tell me, how important are our feelings?feelings change with our emotions.emotions are part of being human.how can we change that?
    my hubby and i have been married for 3yrs now.we go quite a while without being intimate sometimes.he says that when he is stressed its just not there.i have discused with him on many occasions that it is very important to me.also that when we arent intimate on a regular basis i dream about other men.i fight it so hard during the day but i dont know how much more i can take.
    the only thing that keeps me in this marriage is God.i dont believe in devorce.i have comitted adultry with my thoughts.not just in dreams.i know its not right and it hurts knowing that i have let God and my husband down.i am human and i cant do this without God.he is the only thing that has kept me going this long.i am not strong enough to keep this up.i know that i need to search God more on this matter,but the hunger to want our marriage to work has faded so much.i do ask for Gods help and strength but thats all i can manage to get out.
    please can someone help me.i have no one else to turn to.you are my only hope.i am too embarassed to bring it up with my pastor.and i dont have any close christian friends.my family is christian but they have all been divorced and i have a hard time believing that they know what they are talking about.

    • Hi Stephanie,

      Thank you for sharing, you are not alone! How long do you go without being intimate before you would consider it a long time? Also, do you feel that you and your husband are close outside of the physical relationship, because I have found that there is no replacement for emotional intimacy as it leads to all sorts of interactions. Trust and honesty will always be the key for maintaining a healthy relationship, along with very frequent communication. Many people I have spoken with say that the physical intensity of a relationship tends to diminish over time, but I just don’t see that this is true with emotionally invested, intimately connected couples. Are there things in the relationship that make your husband unhappy or that cause fights or is that he just withdraws from the physical side of the relationship? Most of all, ask God that the issue is, not just for strength to endure it, that is a critical part of overcoming any issue!

/* ]]> */