As I discussed in an earlier blog, a couple who wants to marry must have a common definition of marriage. They also must have a common definition of love. If you don’t, your expectations will not be in sync and you may end up as another statistic.
People often confuse love and infatuation. Love is when you give without expecting anything in return. On the other hand, infatuation is a temporary moment of desire because someone has something that you want. It’s technically a chemical by-product in the brain that keeps you from making logical decisions. Many marriages occur because of infatuation, not love. People are infatuated with those they are attracted to, but they love those they invest in. Because when we give to someone, we are investing a bit of ourselves. Since we ultimately love ourselves, if we give something of ourselves to someone else, we will ultimately love them as well.
We see that with our children. We give to them and don’t expect anything back, except a relationship. One that’s based on respect and love, not dysfunction.
The definition of love is the emotion that you feel when you recognize another person’s virtues and you identify them with those virtues. To put it another way, everyone is crazy, so you better focus on what you love about them, rather than what makes you nuts!
Do your kids have faults and make you crazy? Most likely, yes, but no one falls out of love with their children. Even parents of serial killers still love their children (although they despise their actions)! You also made a commitment when you decided to have children that you would love them no matter what. Yet, you don’t get to pick your children, but you do choose your spouse. So the more so, you should make the same commitment to your spouse. If you don’t, your probably not serious about the prospect of being married to this person.
So what happens if you are in a poor relationship? What happened to that reason why you married them? You may be overlooking what attracted you to your spouse in the first place and concentrated on their faults instead. How do we maintain love over the long term? The answer is simple. If you focus on someone’s virtues and overlook their faults, you’ll have an awesome marriage.