I’ve been thinking about the phrase “falling in love” quite a bit in the last few days. Several of my Facebook friends are recently divorced or broken up and have been posting things about “falling in love” with the wrong person. But my feelings, and experiences, tell me this: never “fall in love.” I fell in love a number of times over the years, and it never worked out.
“But Richard, you and Abby have been married for almost twelve years. Aren’t you ‘in love’?”
The problem isn’t with love. It’s with “falling.” It implies passivity and chance. It implies reliance on magic. It implies that your love is apart from and outside of you.
That’s not how we run our love life. I know I can speak for Abby when I say you have to work at love every day, on both the good days and the bad days. You have to care for each other, and care for yourself without being selfish.
Your partner will change in ways that you won’t always like. That’s part of the bargain. You are changing too.
Finally, fidelity: Abby and I took our wedding vows seriously, including the phrase, “forsaking all others.” I have to admit to feeling a little pride in taking and keeping that vow, and a considerable amount of disdain for those who break it. No promise I have ever made in my life is more meaningful or more telling of my character than the promise I made to her in October 2004.