I’ll be honest, I miss the butterflies. I miss the excitement of falling in love. Being in love is not so much exciting as it is, well, plodding. Choosing. Remembering. I never used to understand why women were such suckers for cheesy romantic comedies. The implausible story lines, the (often) bad acting accompanied by even worse writing…there was nothing there for me. But now, I kind of get it. Even though the bad acting and bad writing is still enough to keep me away, I get it now. We miss the butterflies. The romance. We want to find some way of resurrecting it, or at least, escaping our reality into one a little more exciting and emotionally stimulating.
I’m not sure when exactly the butterflies left. I’m thinking sometime between saying “I do” and moving to Indianapolis a few months later. Regardless, the infatuation period does not last long. I longed for this man, desperately, I wanted nothing more than to be with him for the rest of my life. And then I was, and real life started, and that was good. That’s the thing–it was good. It is good. The desperation and heightened period of the infatuation, of the falling in love, it’s not sustainable. It’s not even the highest good, or the highest form of love. Yet we keep attempting to get back there, don’t we? We see the magazine covers exhorting us to keep it new, fresh, spicy, sexy. And when the butterflies are replaced with sleepless nights, crying babies, and emotional exhaustion, we wonder what’s wrong.
But the butterflies phase couldn’t last forever, could it? Neither will whatever phase you’re in now. Mine is definitely the sleepless nights and accompanying emotional exhaustion. I know that there will be future moments that are more exciting and romantic. But rather than trying to escape this phase, or resurrect the last one, like society pounds pounds pounds into my psyche that I should, can I not choose to press forward into whatever being in love now can look like? The falling phase is over. I fell, I chose, I committed. And I believe that the beauty of living love with this one person, even when it is not accompanied with butterflies in my stomach at his every appearance, is more powerful and compelling and meaningful than the infatuation I felt when we first fell in love. Because that is. the. truth. The real truth, not the counterfeit appeals to my emotions that make “fresh” and “exciting” the highest good.
Love is not always exciting. Love does not always feel good. Love does not always make you happy, in the moment. But when you choose to love, and to go through the motions when you don’t feel like it, I believe that you are really loving in that moment, it’s not faking it. Not only that, you are also creating more love for the future. Because in reality, the real, spiritual reality, there’s always a right now and a not yet. Right now I am loving my children and my husband by going through the motions even when I don’t feel particularly enthralled with them. In the future, I will feel more in love with all of them, because I chose to commit and stay invested even when I didn’t feel like it.
Love being patient, kind, not envious or proud or rude, or selfish and insistent on its own way, or resentful…love believing and hoping and enduring? That is not exciting. That’s not sexy. But that IS love. I want that in the long run. Even though I sometimes miss the butterflies.