Stomach Flip-Flops and Other Marriage Myths
By Janel Breitenstein
A TV drama recently set off my baloney-meter.
See, a character was talking about knowing he was still in love with his wife because his stomach still did flip-flops when she walked in.
Call me a cynic, or maybe just deprived of that level of marriage. But stay with me.
First, the original flush of passion we feel for someone statistically lasts two to three years. Heart-pounding first love inevitably dissolves.
And even bodily chemical reactions in response to sex evolve. New, exciting sex delivers a chemical combo in your body with effects similar to that of crack cocaine (no lie!).
But normal, committed sex? That gives you restorative, bonding, “faithfulness” chemicals.
Sex and relationships change with time—chemically. Logically.
C.S. Lewis would seem to agree. In Mere Christianity, Lewis remarks,
People get from books the idea that if you have married the right person you may expect to go on “being in love” forever. As a result, when they find they are not, they think this proves they have made a mistake and are entitled to a change. …
The sort of thrill a boy has at the first idea of flying will not go on when he has joined the R.A.F. and is really learning to fly. The thrill you feel on first seeing some delightful place dies away when you really go to live there.
Haven’t we all experienced this with reaching a life goal, having children, starting a new job? After a time, they’re fraught with flatlined emotion. Burdened with dirty dishes and socks next to the hamper. Propogating another migraine.
Your lack of stomach flip-flops isn’t a sign you’ve got the wrong kind of marriage. Life on this side of heaven will inevitably leave us hungry. (Not even a relationship with God provides endless butterflies and happy-hormones.)
This world is a prescription for faithfulness and perseverance, preparing us for a world we can’t see.
So set aside some of the emotion—and buckle down for a far more rewarding level of devotion.
The Good Stuff: So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)
Action points: How have you experienced disappointment in your expectation of emotion or elation in marriage? How do your expectations influence your view of “normal,” happy marriage?
How do you think God redefines our culture’s view of being “in love”?
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