I wrote this post several months ago for my own private blog. With a couple edits, I thought it timely to repost it. Though this may be a redundant lesson, it's one which I fear is only given cognitive assent by most people. Post your thoughts below!
We are so consumed in our culture with the need to have an open drive-through for the things we need and desire. That is, we demand both immediacy and functionality. From politics and careers to religion and love, we set up certain limits that cry out “I want it and I want it now!” I can only speak as a twenty-four year old graduate student that is recently married, but I can also speak as one who has known what love is and what it is not based upon personal experience.
We have been shown the Nicholas Spark’s definition of love by the media. It is a love without complications, stress, sacrifice, and effort. It is a love divorced from the reality of financial hardships; it is a love divorced of argument and rejection; it is a love divorced from the notion of actually having to give oneself totally and completely to the other. We want love like we want our burger: our way. And if it isn’t what we expected, we throw it away and place a new order (most often throwing our frustration upon the establishment or the Manager!). But the simple truth is this: the only way for love to actually work is if we push through those real times of stress, argument, and redundancy with an overriding notion of giving the self to the other and continual effort.
Relationships are a lot like religion. They take effort–sometimes great effort. There are those moments that we feel the heightened sense of passion and romance (and we should take advantage of those and strive for those), but there are times–and will continue to be times–where that passion is simply not the name of the game. As in religion, there are two dangers which we can fall into: 1) Comfortableness; 2) Rejection. That is, we either become too comfortable with the notion that the romance and passion is gone or we, being so impressed upon by the notion that love is a mere feeling which should come to us by itself, reject it. How many people seek divorce or separation because, for some reason or another, they don’t feel that passion anymore (how many times do we get saved because we don’t feel God anymore?).
The simple fact is this: both of those dangers are a lack of effort. We must cease expecting that love will show up on our doorstep wrapped in a pretty bow ready to glow forever. We must be willing to give it the effort that it deserves, not less.