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Monday, August 7, 2017

Is This Love? - Part 1

Dear Bro Jo,

    I've recently returned from my mission about 3 months ago and have begun dating since I've gotten back.

About a month ago, I recently entered into my first ever relationship with an amazing girl.

I've grown to like her a lot over time, and I'd say that I even have grown to love her. I can see myself getting married to her quite easily. We've talked a lot about marriage and getting married and what it might be like if we got married.

The idea of being there to help her through anything she might be going through comes easily to me as well. Like, if she ever got sick, I'd be more than happy to help nurse her back to health. If she got fired from her job or something happened to her family, I wouldn't hesitate to be there for her. She's very kind, sweet, really funny, attractive, and I especially think that she'd make a good mother and wife. I actually feel like I trust her more than I've ever trusted anybody. We've shared a lot about ourselves with each other and every time I'm around her I feel very calm and peaceful.

    However, I feel like something is missing still...

    Maybe that's because it's only been a month, but even though I love her to this extent, I still feel like something just isn't there yet. I don't feel like I'm head over heels for her. In my mind, being head over heels for her would mean that whenever I'm around her, I'd get like butterflies in my stomach and I'd be nervous around her, but super excited and I would have really strong feelings towards her.

    True, I do get excited when I think of being with her, but not every time and it doesn't feel like it's to a huge degree. As I mentioned, I just feel calm and peaceful around her, like super comfortable, not the butterfly feeling I'm expecting. I don't have much dating experience, so I don't really know how I'm supposed to feel around her, but I guess in my mind I'm supposed to feel stronger feelings towards her.

    It's possible that it may be that I just don't love her enough yet. I suppose in my mind, I imagined that love kinda just happens right away. Like, I feel like I should have fallen in love with her head over heels by now.

     Is it possible that I'll fall deeper in love with her until I am crazy in love with her?

     Does it take time to establish that special connection that I'm searching for and to fall in love?

     Or is that something that happens right away and I've missed it?

     I really like her and I don't want our relationship to end. I want to keep trying to find that special connection that I feel like I'm missing. I'm just scared that I won't find it and that our relationship will end. But I like her so much!

     How can I find this true love (or that special connection I'm looking to feel)?


- Love Seeker

Dear Seeker,

We'll cut you some slack because you're fresh off the boat and have been raised in our modern culture where love has been twisted and confused.

The feelings you are describing that you have for her ARE love.

The things you "think" you're supposed to have and don't at this point in time ARE NOT love.

Infatuation, maybe, but not love.

You've fallen into the trap that is all too common, especially among today's Latter-day Saint Young Single Adults.  The "exciting / sexy / butterflies" feelings are what Hollywood has sold as romance.  Nice, yes, but unrealistic and unreasonable.

(Think for a moment:  how is the track record of the rich and famous when it comes to marrying one person and being with them for Time and All Eternity?  I'm telling you, my brother, they just don't get it at all.)  And even when it does happen in a relationship not only is it not enough to build upon, it doesn't last.  (Again, this is why Hollywood types divorce so quickly.  Once the "excitement" is gone there's no relationship there.  Their relationships lack substance and commitment, so after they've done the things couples are supposed to save for marriage they become bored and begin looking for the next infatuation, never realizing it isn't love that they're seeking.  Sad.  Really.)

First of all, your're right:  your relationship is very new.  However, perhaps because of the Spirit (which you may be so in-tune with because you're recently back), perhaps because you've matured into a clear-thinking adult (that's a good thing, btw), and perhaps because she is such an amazing woman . . . it seems to me that you've "skipped over" (also a very good thing) the immaturity that is so prevalent in young relationships.

There's no such thing as "love at first sight" . . . horny-ness, yes . . . a confirmation of the Spirit, sure . . . sometimes . . .

But love starts as a seed that grows stronger and more deeply over time.

And no amount of "so pretty and exciting that I can't breathe" is ever worth giving up the Trust and Selflessness and Sacrifice and Security and Eternal Together Forever Joy that grows out of the Love you feel now.

(Many a man - and woman, I suppose - has been lured away from something True by the Illusion of Something Exciting - read those words carefully, please - don't make that mistake.)

For now I think you should give yourself more time in the relationship.  See how you feel after three months.  And then, if necessary, after six.  If you're still unsure then, let's talk again.

(We can of course talk anytime you like.  Just making a point.)

- Bro Jo

1 comment:

Carissa said...

I think sometimes in dating we expect and want the craziness and the exhilaration but at one point I realized its actually anxiety we are describing. Why am i looking to be anxious around someone to know that I love them. The unpredictability and lack of security makes each possible interaction exciting and addictive almost when it goes well. Peace and calm are a lot more secure and stable.
This analogy helped me. We think we want a motorcycle. spontaneious, exciting, exhilarating! But really they are not safe and can be dangerous and lots of ups and downs and while exciting at first not good for the long term. At least I don't expect to have a motorcycle take care of my future family. Instead, I want a comfy couch. Consistent, reliable, safe, calm, soothing, home, responsible.

I am now engaged and it was not what i expected either. Its good and normal. Its so normal that it makes it weird, but its good. And i may have thought I would feel giddy and crazy and maybe at times I do, but really being with my fiance just feels good, normal and peaceful and I love that and I love him. Hope that helps.