There are very few topics that I get fired up about. My husband and parents might disagree with this as I am 100% myself around them and allow my frustrations to show through more. But in general, I don’t get excited or rather, passionate, about many topics. Many people love the rush that they get from debating, arguing, and ranting. And while I do love a good rant, in general I do not like the adrenaline rush from getting all worked up about a topic that I have no control over. What’s the point? You rarely see someone change their opinion after a long online rant, be it in facebook form, blog form, or comment form (allowing comments on news articles may have been the most poorly made decision ever).
Thus said, when I was trying to decide what to blog about this week, a particular topic kept popping up in my mind. It’s one that I don’t talk about very much. It’s an area in life that I have made a lot of mistakes in. I’ve been hurt and I have hurt others, but unlike many people, I learned from these wounds.
Yes, I’m talking about the deadliest of all human emotion: love.
I would like to start by clarifying what love is and what love isn’t. “But, Ann!!” I hear you say. “How can you possibly know what love is and what it isn’t to every single person in this world??” Because it’s really quite simple.
That’s right all you teenage, drama obsessed, love fools. LOVE IS SIMPLE. There are no love triangles. There are no complications. There are no secrets. It’s blissfully simple.
I’ve heard all the lines.
“I prayed and prayed, and it’s you or no one,” said by a seventeen year old.
“No one else will want you. They’ll just use you for sex.”
“Just give me time to figure it out.”
“I wish you’d get pregnant so I could force myself to settle down with you.”
“If I weren’t already with someone, I would fall in love with you.”
“It’s just not a good time for me to meet someone.”
“We’ll make it work.”
“My best friend is a girl; can you handle that?”
This is not love. There is no reason to waste your time on any of these lines. True love has none of these complications or limitations. And I get so frustrated when I read it in books and see it in movies and television. The media tells us that true love is so passionate that it overcomes all common sense and is treacherous and boundary ridden. But that it’s worth it, because it’s love. Lust, maybe. A crush, maybe. Chances are it’s simply because we think the relationships that burn hot and fast are the relationships that we should be looking for. Thanks Media.
When I met the man that I would quickly fall head over heels in love with, there were no complications. I wasn’t seeing anyone. He wasn’t seeing anyone. And while neither of us thought the other was “the one,” (a concept neither of us believe in by the way) we felt a connection and decided to at least spend some time with one another. And that was that. Almost four years later and we are still blissfully in love. We never had a honey moon phase that was the best time of our lives, and we haven’t had ups and downs, not in our love life at least. Life has thrown us a lot of curve balls. Please believe me, A LOT. We are not financially secure. We don’t own our dream home. We both curse every time we get a revised medical bill from our son’s premature birth. But our love has never been a roller coaster ride. It has remained smooth and steady since we fell in love.
Some people will tell you that marriage is hard. I’m sure that it can be. Okay, I know that it can be. This is not my first go around. But ours is not. He is my best friend and my ally. He is always in my corner and I am always in his. Do we give each other grief and tease each other relentlessly? Of course. But we’ve never had an argument. I hear you again “Sure, Ann. Whatever.” Do we have disagreements? Of course. We don’t see eye to eye on everything. But we have discussions, not arguments. And usually, we end up on the same page.
I say all this not to brag about my marriage, but to explain that these drama filled relationships that the media praises as passionate are in fact, unhealthy. As writers, we tend to feed the madness by anxiously including as much drama as possible. Who doesn’t love to read about a love triangle? (Cough-Twilight-Cough-Hunger Games-Cough) And yes, no book would be worth reading without a little conflict or drama, but I wish we could help the youth around us understand that they’re not looking for boys with swag, but no job, and girls who base their happiness on whether or not her purse is designer and read facebook posts instead of books.
A healthy and love filled relationship comes from two people who are already whole and secure individuals before they find one another. About a month into our relationship, I looked over at my significant other and said “I really like you, but if you left tomorrow, I’d be fine. I really like my life – you’re a bonus.” Can I imagine life without him now? Of course not. But he doesn’t complete me. He is not my sole source of happiness. I don’t rely on him for survival. He is simply the man that I love and the man I choose to spend my life with.
I want to see more books that end in these type of relationships. What’s going to happen if we continue let boys with swag be sexier than career and family driven men and girls in heels be sexier than girls who know how to maintain a home and take care of their family? Now, I’m not saying that those boys can’t be dashingly handsome and romantic while being career driven, and I’m not saying that those girls shouldn’t slip on a pair of heels while vacuuming occasionally just to see their husband’s jaw drop, but come on. Let’s stop feeding the madness.