Seek to be (and Find) a Good Friend (Part 1)
Now don’t get me wrong. Romantic love can be wonderful! My wife, Julie, and I shared it all through our dating and engagement and still enjoy it after over 18 years of marriage… though not continually. Now it comes and goes.
“Oh how sad,” you might declare. “You aren’t still madly in love with Julie?”
Hmmm. Well if by “madly in love” you mean experiencing dizzy spells and tingling all over my body every time I think of her, then, no, I’m no longer madly in love with my wife.
But if by “madly in love” you mean I’m so wholly devoted to my wife’s well-being, I will sacrifice my own well-being for hers. If you mean my level of commitment to her supersedes all other commitments (save to my Lord), then YES, I am most certainly madly in love with my wife. Indeed, in a way I couldn’t have imagined back when I was experiencing the lovey-dovey light-headedness of limerence.
You see, the first “madly in love” is about chemistry, and is the unconscious byproduct of hormones and neurotransmitters acting on my central nervous system. The second “madly in love” is about commitment, and is the consequence of a conscious determination of my mind and will.
Now let me ask you, which “madly in love” do you want to be with your lover after 18+ years of marriage: the chemical variety or the commitment version?
More important question: What kind of “madly in love” do you think would actually sustain a relationship for 18+ years? What about 30? 50 years?
The fact is, the kind of love that holds my wife and I together isn’t chemical. It’s commitment. You will discover the same thing in your future marriage. Or you won’t stay married.
My wife is my best friend, and I hers, every moment of every day. This is true, whether we’re feeling frisky or whether we’re squared off across the room from one another ready to engage in round x of some conflict we’ve discussed more times than we can count.
Unfortunately in our “modern” culture, romantic love is not only expected to play a part of the dating experience. Romance is intended to BE the dating experience. So we date looking for that spark, yearning for that connection, longing for (and following after) those feelings. And then praying those feelings are reciprocated.
But if you want to develop healthy relationships with the opposite sex, and if you’d like your dating relationships to contribute to your emotional and spiritual health, then seek friendship first. And let the romance come if it will.
So seek to be (and find) a good friend. With NO ULTERIOR MOTIVES!
What do I mean by that last part I CAPITALIZED? Find out on next week’s Date Night Advice.
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