When we fell, we fell far. I couldn’t get my eyes off of him. He couldn’t get his thoughts away from me. Falling in love came hard and fast and deep. So we went in the only direction we could – further. Further into each other, further into commitment, further into love. We signed our names as a pledge, we put rings on our fingers as a symbol. We vowed ourselves, our lives, our bodies, our hearts, to each other. We were married.
They say the passion won’t last. That the chemistry and attraction that drew us together – pulled and yanked us, rather, that magnet that shoved my heart towards his – it wouldn’t keep us going. It would dissipate. Two years, maybe three if you’re lucky, and then it’s up to brute force and teeth gritting to keep trucking on through this whole marriage thing.
So for a year or more I waited with dread for the day that they said would come. The day when I would wake up and find myself lying in bed next to this man and wonder what I got myself into and why I had ever chosen this guy to spend all the days of my days with.
And then one day I did wake up. I woke up to the realization that the fate of my marriage did not need to be left in the hands of some statistician to dictate whether or not I fell out of love.
All relationships are moving. There is no such thing as a static relationship. You are either moving forwards or backwards. In towards something or away from it. So that concept of falling out of love is not a sudden drop into an unexpected chasm. It is a backwards step off of the edge you had been inching towards for years. The jolt of the plunge might be a shock, but the perimeter of the precipice had always been there.
So the solution to falling out is simply to move further in.
Take steps towards each other, not away. Walk closer, go nearer, reach towards, draw together. The further in you go the less likely you’ll fall.
It’ll be messy. This moving in thing. With every step forward you will move deeper into the heart of another human. And these hearts of ours? They’re tricky things to navigate. Agony, disorder, and brokenness all jumbled up with exquisite beauty. We will face hard things, painful things. The more the souls of two individuals mingle the more complex and convoluted things become. The worst will be revealed. But also the best. It will be horrible and wonderful and disastrous and euphoric.
Simple solutions are not rarely easy ones.
Above all, the apostle Peter writes to the disciples of Christ, above all the lofty intentions of date nights and romantic evenings and roses and sweet notes, above all the advice on how to communicate, how to do in-laws, how to manage finances, how to have a healthy relationship, above all love one another deeply.
Deep love. That is the safeguard against falling out. Love that stretches into the furthest corners and darkest recesses of another. Love that sees the flaws, that accepts the idiosyncrasies, that understands the fears. Love that extends with the entire self into another’s life and doesn’t step backwards, no matter what they find. Love that wholeheartedly journeys alongside another. That offers grace every step of the way.
Above all, love one another deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.
There’s going to be sin. There will be irritating habits, hurtful tendencies. Everyone is a mess.
But deep love covers the mess.
Deep love makes slipping into apathy, falling out of love, nearly impossible.
Three years they said. Three years and you’ll no longer be able to live off romantic feelings and giddy infatuation.
Deep love, however, the kind of love that Christ has shown us and enables us to show others, deep love knows no limits.