Romance is great. I try to be romantic. Sometimes it works. And sometimes, well, not so much.
I have also been pondering the idea of falling in love as it relates to marriage. Falling seems like such a passive thing, like it is something that happens to us without our consent.
Is falling in love necessary for marriage?
Until recent history, it wasn’t that way. People used to get married for other reasons. Political reasons. Practical reasons. Parental arrangements and such. Heck, even today 55% of marriages around the globe are arranged, 90 % in India (um, and their divorce rate is only 1 %).
And romance, it’s what love is all about, right?
Or is it?
I recently saw the movie, Anna Kerenina. It was reviewed as one of the most romantic movies of the year. It was very romantic, but, man oh man, how did that work out for her? Not good. She self destructed on romance.
There must be more.
Marriage can not be based on romance alone, any more than a house can be built on frosting.
Romance and passion are important, but not as a foundation.
A vow is what begins a marriage for a good reason. It is a commitment to stay committed. In spite of how you feel, you are committed. Through the inevitable storms of life, you are committed. Regardless of whether you fall in or out or up or down, you are committed. That is the foundation.
True love is more than just a passionate emotional state. True love is also more than just a commitment.
Gladly, this is not an either or proposition. Both passion and commitment are needed in a great marriage.
How is romance overrated? Romance is overrated in that it is expected to be a good foundation for great marriage. Wrong. Commitment is the solid ground upon which married love can be built.
Romance is an important and necessary ingredient in a great marriage, but it is not a reliable foundation.
Romance is like the icing on the cake. Pile it on baby! But don’t build your house on it.
Committing to date your spouse on a regular basis does two powerful things at once:
- It feeds the fire of romance. By regularly dating you are building opportunities for romance into the fabric of your experience together. Even if not all your dates are raging with romance, some will be.
You can be sure that there will be more romance in a relationship with regular dating than without it.
- It shows and grows the strength of your commitment. Your marriage vow was a commitment to stay committed. It takes commitment to make dating happen on a regular basis. By making it a regular habit to date you are exercising your commitment to your marriage and your spouse.