Yes, we’re happy. And no, we aren’t getting a divorce.
You see that picture up there? That picture is part of history. It was the day my then-boyfriend and I entered an exclusive relationship. December 7, 2006. I was barely an adult at the age of 18 and he was a typical college boy at 21. In the last seventeen years, a lot has happened. We’ve traveled. We’ve grown. We explored. We learned. We’ve fought. We gained trust. We nearly broke up. We made each other cry. We had kids. We made sacrifices. We reconciled and vowed to be each other’s support system. But in all the years I’ve spent with the man I’ve grown with, I’ve never fallen in love with him.
It’s not because I wasn’t fond of him and it’s not because I thought he wasn’t worthy. It’s because falling in love didn’t seem that appealing to me. Throughout my college years and early twenties, I’ve seen what falling in love has done to even the strongest of my friends. They’ve gotten into things they shouldn’t have. Some forgot who they were. Some let the connection with their friends and family fizzle. Some of them were stagnant, got comfortable, and never grew. And some have fallen so hard in love that they lost their voice. So much so, that when they spoke, it didn’t “sound” like them at all and they may not have realized it. I look back at it now, and can’t really say I can blame those friends who found themselves in a trap and fell in love.
There are so many catchy quotes about falling in love.
“Love can make you do some crazy things.”
“Crazy, stupid, love.”
or my favorite from Sex & The City: “She was a smart girl till she fell in love”
The list goes on and on.
I see it even more now as friends get married and have children. In some cases, they loved each other, got married, fell in love, and then got divorced.
Do any of those ring a bell for you? They were certainly in the corners of my mind for years making the idea of falling in love unappealing to me. But even knowing all of those things, I still can’t say I was above the mistake of occasionally letting love get the best of me.
I’ve certainly found myself in my fair share of unfortunate incidents due to the power and stupidity associated with love taking over. But who hasn’t? I remember very vividly the times I went to parties or wore things I shouldn’t have when love clouded my judgment. But despite all the pathetic, stupid, and downright absentminded things I did in the name of love, I didn’t allow myself to lose sight of who I was meant to be and I never ever fell off the pedestal I believed I belonged on. In fact, my husband did all he could to remind me of the reasons I belonged on that pedestal. Because of him, I never fell in love. With him, I’ve risen in love.Because of him, I never fell in love. With him, I've risen in love. Click To Tweet
It’s a small tidbit most people seem to miss. I blame the blockbuster movies, the fairytales we’re told as children and the bad advice from our well-meaning friends. The most popular love songs don’t do anything to help either. We spend countless amounts of time trying to find the right person to fall in love with when we should really be trying to find that special someone to rise in love with. Falling should never be the goal. Instead, the goal should be to rise together so you can experience new dreams, do good, and touch each other in the most meaningful of ways. Be inspired to rise and be a better person with the love you have chosen. You never want to be the one to say, “I’ve fallen in love and I can’t get up.”
All too often, we, especially women, are willing to change who we aspire to be for the sake of keeping a significant other. It’s not something that happens so abruptly or consciously, but rather something that seems to happen gradually over time. Suddenly, the decision to skip that gym session every once in a while, drink that glass of beer when you didn’t want to and refuse to enroll in that class you’ve been eyeing to please your other half becomes commonplace. It happens oh see easily until in a blink of an eye you don’t see yourself anymore. It’s only a matter of time until you feel lost, confused, unhappy or unable to recognize who you are. After all is done, you are likely left wondering, how, when, and why it happened. The answer is simple. You fell in love.
Now, I don’t want you to think this happened because the person you fell in love with is bad. It may be that the person is just bad for you. No matter how pure the love is, some just happen to bring out the worst in you instead of the best in you. If you are not sure, consider asking the following:
1. Do you feel inspired to be a better person when with your love?
2. Have you grown since entering the relationship?
3. Have you lost sight of the goals, aspirations, and desires you once had?
4. Do you find yourself engaging in new bad habits?
The answer isn’t always so easy. The grey areas surrounding love and whether or not you’ve fallen are infinite. But I can assure you there is no question when you’ve risen in love. Your heart will skip a beat and smile with pure joy.
Unfortunately, many people don’t even realize that type of joy exists when it comes to marriage. The examples made by parents, television shows, and other relationships throughout society depict marriage as doom and gloom. Popular phrases describing marriage such as “ball and chain” or “settling down” doesn’t help with the glorification of “falling” in love. Societal expectations make it seem as though the only way to experience a happy marriage beyond the honeymoon stage is via submitting to your spouse at every opportunity. It makes sense that people will relate the stagnation in marriage with “falling in love.”
However, it’s the opposite for me. We’ve risen in love together by reminding each other of our values, and endeavors and by never doing anything for each other. Simply by not sacrificing ourselves nor doing favors for the other, we’ve risen much farther than I’d imagined.
When you realize how far you’ve gone together, you can’t help but look around in awe. You’ll recognize all the positive that has happened since the person entered your life and you continue to strive to reach new heights. Most importantly, the love you have for yourself will grow even more.
Loving myself more meant loving my husband. I learned that there is no spousal love if there is no self-love. If self-love is a work in progress (it’s a journey for everyone), your spouse shouldn’t be the one to make self-love harder to experience.
I was fortunate enough to find a man who never made me fall in love but helped me rise in love. With him, I’ve become a better person, reached new heights and accomplished things I never knew were possible. Like an amazing closet mirror, my husband makes it even easier to see myself in my best light. He’s never made me feel less than perfect and yet still inspired me to be a better person. With him, I know I can do the impossible. And I have.
Suddenly, when you rise in love all things are possible and your heart can’t help but smile. So to all those people in search of a partner to spend their life with, I encourage you to resist the urge to fall in love and choose to rise in love. Should that person not make it possible to uplift you through your heart and rise in love, I encourage you to rise in love with yourself.
Have you ever fallen in love? How do you know when you rise in love?
TERRIfic Words: Why fall in love when you can rise in love?