We all fall in love. We can’t help it. It is just a part of who we are as human beings created by God. God built us to love. We can’t escape it . . . we fall in love. When we fall in love God must blur our vision. God must blur our vision because with time we learn the naivety of our love. We don’t quite see things as they are . . . we don’t see straight . . . and, we become disappointed, disillusioned, and hurt. And, we learn that love can make us cry. It happens to all of us, because all of us fall in love . . . and, we do it over and over again. We do it over and over again . . . expecting different results . . . and, we always end up in the same boat. Isn’t that the definition of insanity? But, it isn’t, it is the naivety of love.
This summer the wife and I will celebrate our 32nd anniversary of marriage . . . and, we are both amazed that we have made it this far without leaving each other or killing each other. In those 32 years of marriage we have fallen in and out of love countless times . . . we have had our vision blurred . . . been disappointed, disillusioned, and hurt. We have also had lots of joy, laughter, and reason to celebrate. In that time we have had four children . . . children that we have loved deeply, but children who have also blurred our vision, disappointed, disillusioned, and hurt us. We have had friends come and go, relatives who have graced our lives, and disgraced our lives. We have had it all when it comes to love. We have ridden the roller coaster up, down, and all around . . . laughing, screaming, hanging on for dear life, scared to death, and laughing some more . . . and, we keep on getting back on for another ride. Time after time . . . ah, the naivety of love.
Research shows that all marriages go through stages. There is the “honeymoon period” in which neither individual in the marriage can do no wrong . . . life is grand. Then comes the period when the honeymoon is over . . . little fights begin. One person squeezes the toothpaste tube from the middle, while the other squeezes it from the bottom (everyone knows it is supposed to be the bottom) . . . one forgets to put the toilet seat down . . . the little snort while laughing is not so cute any more . . . dirty clothes strewn across the bedroom is no longer acceptable . . . those little habits and quirks that were ignored—actually blurred by love—are no longer acceptable, and the fights begin. This typically happens around the second year. Most people survive and move on, but not all. They feel duped because they didn’t see this when their vision was blurred by love.
After this comes children . . . suddenly the vision is blurred by love once again. Raising children is tough work . . . children cannot be molded like clay into what we want them to be no matter how much we try. They are individuals created by God to be who God created them to be . . . they drive us crazy. Tensions mount, fights happen . . . the “seven year itch” (give or take a couple of years) happens. Again, the vision clears up . . . and, problems can occur. The itch has to be scratched . . . most survive, but some do not. Again, they feel duped by the blurred vision of love.
As the children grow, the couple rally around the children . . . for the children’s sake. Surprisingly, love appears again . . . the vision is blurred as the couple fall in love with what their children are doing and who they are becoming. But, children grow up, strike out on their own, and move on with their own lives. Suddenly the nest is empty, the vision clears up, and trouble can start. Vision clears up . . . vision gets blurry . . . later comes the good ol’ mid-life crisis. The roller coaster just keeps on rolling. Isn’t that what it feels like . . . all because of love?
Love is . . . remember those little sayings? “Love is like a warm puppy dog.” No, love is not like a warm puppy dog . . . love is hard. Love is not a feeling . . . it is hard work . . . it is a process . . . it is the way that life is to be lived. There is no magical picture of love because love is not something that can be captured frozen in an image . . . it is constantly changing and growing. That is probably why God blurs our vision when we fall in love . . . if God didn’t—and we saw the reality of love and how hard it is—none us would ever fall in love. So, we stumble on in the naivety of love . . . through the good times and the bad, through the joy and the sorrow, through the tears and the laughter, the ups and downs, the mountaintops and the valleys . . . through life and death.
The woman I married nearly 32 years ago is not the woman I fell in love with . . . she can’t be because too much of life has been lived since then . . . more life together than apart. There are still bits and pieces of the that woman that I feel in love with, but it is not the same woman I am married to today. Nor am I the same man that she fell in love with all those years ago . . . I have changed, grown, and evolved into the person that I am today . . . glimpses of who she loved then are still there, but I am different. The issue for us, and I think for all of us, is whether or not we were willing to allow ourselves to fall in love with the person who was walking through life with us as we change and grow. Or, do we thrown in the towel, call it quits, start over, or just go it alone. I think that God blurs our vision . . . love appears . . . and, the roller coaster begins all over again.
The wife will tell you that it has not been easy . . . as a spouse or a parent . . . that love has been difficult. I concur . . . but, we are still together. We are still together, blind as bats, loving each other though at times we wonder why . . . and, we work even harder to make this gift we have last.
Whenever I hear The Perfect Space by the Avett Brothers it makes me think about love and what we all strive for . . . to be loved and to love in return. It ain’t easy. That is why in the middle of the song the tempo and rhythm change . . . the frustration is expressed . . . and, then it drops back into its original pattern and softness. Love is a rocky adventure that none of can escape. It is hard work. It is what we are about in life. We can never give up . . . we can never quit . . . we can only hold hands until we get through the hard times and re-discover the good times . . . until God blurs our vision once again and we are back in that perfect space. Yeah, love is a royal pain in the rear and in the heart, but we can’t escape it . . . it is a journey . . . a process . . . and, God wants us to keep at it until we get it right. Isn’t that exactly what God does with us?