8.19.2010

Love & Logic

A couple of months ago, a friend of mine made a comment that caught my attention. He said that he didn’t believe in being “in love” with someone. To him, the definition of being “in love” was little more than an emotional feeling that goes away with time. Real love, to him, was a decision a person makes every day, regardless of how one feels.

While I understand what he was getting at, I can’t help but disagree. Because I am in love with a man. Deeply in love with him. I may not get butterflies every time he walks into the room anymore, or blush when he says my name. The “emotional feelings” that accompanied our early years may only pop up from time to time versus whenever we are near each other. But there’s no doubt that I’m in love.

Photo by Karen Feder Photography

When I said this, another friend then asked me how I would define being “in love.” I told them both that to me, being in love meant that I don’t ever want to live a day of my life without this man. He’s everything to me, and if I ever had to face life without him, I would crumble to pieces.

My friend had concluded that when choosing a mate, one shouldn’t trust the feelings that you may be feeling for someone. Your decision should be made based on logical assessments of how and why this person is a good fit for you, etc. Again, I understood what he meant, but disagreed.

Because here is what I believe: love (between a man & woman) isn’t just about a feeling, nor is it simply a decision you make every morning when you wake up. It has to be both. And it does not have to be logical.

When I first met JP, he was anything but the “logical decision” for my future husband. People thought I was crazy for being interested in this pony-tailed, tattooed, pierced up, motorcycle-riding, non-virgin, loud, opinionated, former party boy from a divorced home and a history of drug and alcohol abuse (never mind the fact that he was a new creation now, right?). I had friends telling me why they felt he was disqualified and family sitting me down for heart-to-hearts. And after dating for about six months – even having made plans to get engaged when I finished school in the spring – I broke up with him because of these “failures” to line up with what I had always imagined in my husband. I had always been taught that I needed a “Word from God” to marry someone, but didn’t know how to hear that “word” for myself. I guess I usually just looked over the checklist I had assembled and then asked my dad what he thought.

This time, it wasn’t going to work out that way. I had every emotional feeling in the world for this man, but he failed the checklist. So did that mean God was saying, “No?”

You all know how the story ends. As I type this, I’m sitting on the couch 9 months pregnant with his third child! So what happened?

After about six months apart, I realized a few things.

1.) JP’s past did not determine who he was as a man of God now.

2.) Where in the Bible had I ever seen God saying, “Thus says the Lord, you shall marry so-and-so?” They all chose their mates for themselves, and as long as they chose from among God’s people, it was good.

3.) I realized I did not want to live without this man. I was in love with him.

So I tossed out my checklist, chose to see JP for who he was (and is now) instead of focusing on his past (“Man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” I Sam 16:7), and married the man I loved. And I’m still madly in love with him. Not the sweaty palms, giddy sort of love that goes away, but the kind of love that -- when I look over at him falling asleep on the couch next to his puppy as I type this – makes me tear up and pray to God that I will never have to face a day of my life without him.

Photo by Karen Feder Photography

Happy 5th anniversary to the checklist-failing man of my dreams. I can’t imagine life without you. You are a good, honest, hard-working, loving, loyal, funny, genuine, committed, patient, faithful, adoring, godly husband and father. You love me completely, and I’ll love you forever.

5 comments:

Stuart B said...

LOVE this. Double Rainbows. All the way. We gotta chill again sometime...and I still need to see the new place!

I think part of the problem is people abusing the "heart is desperately wicked, who can know it" Bible verse. If your own heart is so unknowable, then maybe someone else knows you better than you know yourself, so then you should listen to parents or authority figures for guidance and understanding in all things, even if your own heart screams something else entirely.

I don't know who you got those ideas about love from, but here are my thoughts. Yes, I believe love is a daily choice, even if the romantic feelings are gone. But I also believe in the "I can't live without this person" love. Some things you just gotta have. God doesn't despise this in us one bit, because godly "gotta have you" is rooted in Biblical hedonism, knowing that your own happiness will only be found in giving of yourself utterly to another person.

Love is not always logical, but can be structured around Biblical truths and guidelines; the 'boundaries' that make un-logical love possible.

So I agree. It HAS to be both.

And regarding all that nonsense about words of knowledge or "God's perfect choice" or whatever..."You know how I can tell my wife was the one? Because I'm married to her." - Matt Chandler. It's not about who can hear from God or can't; it's about Biblical principles and walking in the Spirit.

You married a sinner. Amen.

Oh, and I use "believe" instead of "know" for fairly obvious reasons, lol.

Great blog. Loved it. Preach it, sister.

Bron and Jenda said...

Beautiful testimony Audra! I didn't know you at the time you and JP were first dating (or at least very well). I believe "logical" marriages where "love" is not in the picture, can work, have worked, and do work. Arranged marriages have been around for thousands of years, and couples have stayed faithful to each other. Sometimes they even eventually fall "in love" with their spouse after many years (like Tevya and Golda in Fiddler on the Roof?).

But I think a marriage that includes love is so much more enriching! There is genuine concern for the welfare of your mate. There's enjoyment, laughter, tenderness, and intimacy that you can't find in a marriage of "logic." And I'm definitely a big fan of all those things :)

Happy Anniversary, guys, and may your love grow and grow as the decades pass :)

Andrea said...

Wow. Well said Audra. And so true.

The other day a friend and I were talking about this, and she had really been dealt the opposite hand this spring. A man had come into her life who was, in every logical sense, absolutely everything she needed in a husband. His priorities, his aspirations, his character, everything about him, was exactly what she wanted and needed. She honestly thought that he would become her husband. But as time went on, she began to realize that she had absolutely no feelings for him whatsoever. She said her attitude toward him was really "No, I don't want to hang out with you. I can think of a hundred other people I'd rather be with."

She had every logical reason to marry him. But without love--a deep, heart-connection to him--she would have been offering so much less than everything she is. I won't say that she isn't disappointed at the outcome, but I'm so glad she didn't decide to marry someone because he fulfilled all of her "checklist" requirements when he couldn't have filled the place in her heart.

bruce said...

Well said Sweetheart. I, for one, am very glad that you are happy, loved, and satisfied. In the end, Mom and I had to trust you and your instincts as to who was the one. We have come to know and love JP through your eyes and your experience. Nobody wants a marriage that is just a "good decision" There needs to be that spark. If your heart is given to the Lord you can be free to follow it. To "know", in the end, simply means that you are sure it is good with God. May God bless the next 5 years even more than the first.
Love, Dad

Sarah D said...

Beautiful! I am encouraged and hope to be half as blessed as you are some day.