WHEN YOU FALL IN LOVE
(Debunking The Myths That Are Driving You Crazy)
By: Bo Sanchez
This article isn’t for teenagers only.
Falling in love happens to the young and the not-so-young. (Did you see 42-year-old Tom Cruise jump up and down Oprah’s couch because of Katie?). It happens to everyone. Fat, thin, tall, short, intelligent, uneducated, holy, not so holy, dark, white, yellow, green… it doesn’t really matter. All of us fall in love. And we get stuck in myths that drive us absolutely crazy. My goal is to debunk these myths and convince you not to believe in them. Let’s begin…
MYTH 1: LOVE WILL CONQUER ALL.
Let me qualify. This is such a tricky myth. Because love, as defined by the Bible, will conquer all. But love, as defined by glazed-eyed lovers, will not. If you believe in this myth, you might do the following:You overlook major obstacles in your relationship. Everyone you know is wondering why you chose that creature from outer space as your boyfriend. Your bestfriends are telling you to get rid of him. Your family is telling you to throw him out of a running vehicle. Aling Rosa of the sari-sari store across the street is telling you to lace his drink with poison. But you won’t, because you’re in love. That’s why there are songs entitled, “You And Me Against The World.”
Your bestbuds comment, “but he’s been jobless for the past three years!” And you say, “He’s free-spirited. He feels boxed in when he’s in the office. (in other words, he’s undisciplined, lazy bum.)
Your officemates say, “He flirts with other women constantly!” and you say, “No, he’s just friendly.” (in other words, he’s a pervert).
Your cousins say, “He’s taking drugs, he’s got needle marks all over his arm.” And you say, “No, he’s into cross stitching.”
You overstay in toxic relationships, believing that your love will change him.
The wedding doesn’t transform anyone. Even if three Popes officiate the wedding. The person you’ll march with into the church will be the same person you’ll march with out of the church. He doesn’t change one bit. In fact, the marriage makes the hidden more obvious. If he was selfish before he got married, he will be even more selfish after the wedding. If he was hypercritical before he got married, he’ll even be more vile and prolific with his criticisms after the wedding. Here’s the truth: You need more than feelings of love to make a relationship work. You need mature character, total commitment and a minimum level of compatibility. Especially compatibility in the area of values and mission in life. I hear people say, “We’re compatible. Our names begin with the same letter J. My name is Julie and his name is Julio. We’re both born in July.” Wow. That’s so deep, I want to cry.
MYTH 2: WHEN IT’S TRUE LOVE, YOU WILL KNOW THE MOMENT YOU MEET THE OTHER PERSON.
I’m sure you’ve had this experience before. You are in a crowded room. You’re surrounded by boring, noisy chatter when, suddenly, this gorgeous guy enters the door. Your eyes meet. Instantly, time stands still. The universe grinds to a halt. Except for this attractive man in front of you, everything in your vision becomes a giant blur. The hubbub of the crowd becomes a soft muffle and, from out of nowhere, you hear gentle violin music from the background. One week later, he’s your boyfriend. A few weeks later, you discover that your boyfriend’s a pathological liar, buried in credit card debt, borrows money from all his girlfriends (you’re his eighth in six months). Your mind says, “Dump him!” Your heart says, “But it was love at first sight!” Here are the consequences…
You become so focused on the magical first moment, you become blind to the dark side of the relationship. Six out of seven days, you’re fighting with your boyfriend. But you can’t give him up because you met each other in such a magical moment. Your car keys fell and he picked it up, and then your eyes met, you smelled his deodorant, and you dropped your keys again… How can you not be meant for each other?
You become a love-at-first-sight junkie that you could miss out on the “real thing”. One intelligent woman told me, “Bo, there’s this guy who’s courting me. He’s okay. He’s kind, he’s responsible, he has a good job…” I could hear a ‘but’ coming ,” I said. “but there are no sparks!” she bit her lip. “No violin music playing in the background, huh! None. When I see him, the background music I hear is lululalu-lalulalulalei…” Listen. You don’t need a magical first moment to meet our potential husband. The important things are mature character, financial responsibility, ability for commitment, compatible mission and values. I actually met this girl again on her wedding, and before she marched down the aisle, she whispered to me, “Do you hear the violin music, Bo? It’s loud and clear.” It doesn’t have to be love at first sight. In fact, marriages with the least adjustments are those between friends who’ve known each other for years before they realize that they’re good marriage material. What is love at first sight? Many times, it’s lust at first sight. Or infatuation at first sight. Don’t give it too much weight. Here’s the truth: it takes a moment to experience infatuation but true love takes a lifetime.
MYTH 3: IF IT IS TRUE LOVE, YOU WILL FEEL THIS WAY FOR EACH OTHER FOREVER.
No, you won’t. Here are the consequences for believing this myth :
You panic when the feelings wane, and wonder whether the marriage is over and whether you really loved one another in the first place. Imagine the night of your honeymoon. Your new bride is sleeping. The cotton curtains are gently swaying in the cool breeze. You gaze at her lovely face. You study her soft cheeks. Her long eyelashes, her beautiful nose, her parted red lips. And all of a sudden, she snores.”Ngggggggooork!!” How do you react? Because it’s your honeymoon, you say, “How cute!” Six months down the road, the same scene transpires. Your wife is sleeping. And the same cotton curtains are gently swaying in the cool breeze. And you hear her snore.”Ngggggoork!” What do you say? “Ssssssheeeesh, Honey! You sound like a boat!” What has happened? The feelings have gone. Let me say this: That’s normal. It happens to everyone. But it doesn’t mean your love is gone so don’t panic! You can make a decision to love the snoring boat.
You start blaming your partner for the loss of love. This is nutty. But many people do it: when we don’t feel in love, we think it’s the faultof the other person. And so we fight him. Again, we fall out of love because we’re human beings. It’s nobody’s fault. The moment you fall out of love, the real work begins . Let me explain. This is the most important point I’m going to make. (I got this from Scott Peck in his bestseller book, The Road Less Traveled).
Falling in love isn’t love. Here’s why. When you fall in love…
- No decision is required. Falling in love just happens.
- No effort is required. Falling in love is like…. well, falling.
- No hard work is required. Falling in love is being bitten by the love bug.
On the other hand, true love requires all three : Decision, effort and lots of hard work. In the Bible, love is a command. You make it happen. Sure true love can only happen after you’ve fallen out of love. When you begin choosing to love, even if you don’t feel like doing it — that’s true love. And that’s the foundation of a lasting marriage.
MYTH 4: YOUR PARTNER WILL FULFILL YOU COMPLETELY.
Again because falling in love satisfied you completely, you want the same satisfaction to last. No it won’t. Consequence? You might fail to recognize a good relationship because your partner isn’t fulfilling the needs you should be fulfilling yourself. Here’s the truth: the right partner will fulfill many of your needs but not all of them. There are just some things your husband can’t give you: Your self-worth. Your spirituality. Your inner happiness. These are things you have to work on your own. I’ve met lots of people who think they’re dissatisfied with their marriage. In reality, they’re dissatisfied with themselves. I’ve met lots of people who think they’re bored with their marriages. And they complain to the high heavens how boring their husband or wife is, when in truth, they’re really bored with life. Meet your own needs. Find your happiness in God. Find your niche, your calling, your destiny. And then share your joy with your spouse.
MYTH 5: IF IT’S TRUE LOVE, YOU WON’T BE ATTRACTED TO ANYONE ELSE.
If you believe in this myth, you panic when you get attracted to someone else, questioning the authenticity of your love for your spouse. One man told me, “Bo, I love my wife. Or I thought I did. But then I met this woman at work. She has nice make-up. She smells nice. She wears a pencil-cut skirt. When I go home, my wife is wearing a drab rag. Her hair is undone. She smells of vinegar. Gosh I am attracted to this girl atwork.” Being attracted to someone is normal, even if you have a happy marriage. But being attracted doesn’t mean falling into adultery. Every time you think of the other woman, discipline your heart and say, “Home, boy… home!” and escort your heart back to your wife. Because if you feed your attraction with fantasies and constantly think about the other woman, it grows . But if you starve your attraction, it dies a natural death.