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Further thoughts on cake, ice cream and love

May 3rd, 2004 · 2 Comments

I’ve been thinking this weekend about the comments that Phil and Katherine left on my post Love or IN Love?. And the more I think about the difference between “love” and “in love”, the more I realize how little I know.

Looking back at my own life, I see that I did love Ted more than I was in love with him. I see the separation and difference. Yet at the same time, from where I am now, it seems less clear to me where one begins and the other ends. In this season I think I am more in love with my husband than ever, but I also think that I love him more than ever. They are intertwined, grown together, and I’m not sure how to tell the boundaries of “love” from “in love” in my life right now.

Love for me in the past with Ted has sometimes meant holding on to our marriage even when it wasn’t the way I wanted it to be. We’ve had a few rough years. Love to me is perseverance and endurance. It’s a shovel for digging and a rifle for battle. I feel like love was almost like a life raft, something to keep us afloat in desperate times. It’s been a choice but also simply a matter of survival.

To answer Phil’s questions…I look back at my romance with Ted and wish that I could have been more in love with him sooner. I was so afraid of the emotional “in love” and “delusion” of it, fearing the big fall and bubble burst, that I didn’t let myself fall in love with him too deeply, even when we were getting married. I wish I could have had more of that joy and passion from the beginning. Not, perhaps, from the beginning of our dating. I think that some reservation is wise when you don’t know whether you will be spending the rest of your life with someone. I had reasons for my fears, and perhaps my inhibitions brought a bit more clarity to my vision. But certainly as we were engaged and getting married, I wish I had been more in love. Then again there are times and seasons in life and love, and I hope and imagine that I will continue to grow more in my ability to love Ted and my ability to be in love with Ted. Perhaps in the future I will look back at where I am now and see how I could have loved my husband better in many ways.

This is how I see “love” and “in love” involving choice and emotion: Certainly love is a choice. I vowed I would love Ted “for better or for worse”. I’m staying here no matter what. I choose to fight rather than take flight. Yet I think that there is emotion involved in everything, including those I choose to love. So there is some emotion that is associated with love itself, maybe only simple fondness or joy, but still emotion. When I think of those I love, I have feelings for them. It’s a choice but not one without emotion.

Being “in love” also involves choice. I think I can – in some part – choose to fall in love. I see how falling in love is a mystery. Who can tell who will make the heart turn? Sometimes it can come as a surprise. Yet I also think that I can be in love deeper with someone I love – if I want to desire that person. If I make the choice. I like being in love. So if I’m hitting a little bump in the road, so to speak, in my emotions, I find I am choosing to continue in the giddyness and joy. I am choosing to pursue passion. It may not be a “rational” decision in that the costs are high. I’ve also disregarded emotions as being unimportant in the past. But in recent years I’m seeing that it is emotion that gives flavor and vibrancy to life. I can live in black and white. Or I can live in color.

Love is a choice certainly. A choice I made with an exchange of rings years ago. I think that falling in love, choosing the feeling, can be a choice too. Yet love remains mystery. Who can explain exactly how or why it happens? Who can say “hey, I’m worthy of this love!” or “I understand everything about it.”?! The more I write, the less I think I understand. All I know for sure is that I like my cake and ice cream. Yes, Katherine, it is wonderful to have both with my husband!

Tags: marriage

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Katherine // May 3, 2004 at 10:38 pm

    I had to go to counseling to figure out that feelings were important and useful and valuable. For some reason I used to think that only rational thought was worth anything, and that feelings had no real bearing on life. Go figure. Now I know that feelings tell us things we need to know about ourselves and our needs, if we pay attention to them and examine them as valid. Not that we always follow our feelings.

    Pursuant to your idea of choosing to fall in love, I believe one can choose NOT to fall in love also (as you seem to have). But I am thinking of it in another context – not with the man you are marrying, but with someone you DON’T want to end up marrying. For instance let’s say it’s important to you not to marry someone of a different faith than you, but you are attracted to someone who is…well you can choose not to let yourself fall in love with that person by not spending time with them. Oh bother, this was all badly worded, but I’m not a born writer like Julie.

  • 2 Phil // May 4, 2004 at 5:12 am

    Actually, Katherine, I think this is an interesting point I probably take for granted:

    “For instance let’s say it’s important to you not to marry someone of a different faith than you, but you are attracted to someone who is…well you can choose not to let yourself fall in love with that person by not spending time with them.”

    Incidentally, I think in some sense of the word we’re all friends here, so you really didn’t need to add the self-deprecating “but I’m not a born writer like Julie.” 🙂